Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

Trade Economics

The economics of revoking NAFTA by Raphael Auer, Barthélémy Bonadio and Andrei A Levchenko (BIS Working Papers)

This quantitative effort seeks to identify the potential economic costs of a revoked NAFTA, with a range of estimates: as much as $99bn USD in combined tri-national real GDP losses being the worst case and $5bn should tariffs alone change. [Link]

Code Gone Wild

The Untold Story of NotPetya, The Most Devastating Cyberattack In History by Andy Greenberg (Wired)

A Russian effort to cripple the infrastructure of Ukraine jumped rapidly across networks to infect and devastate the tech infrastructure underpinning huge swathes of the global economy. [Link; soft paywall]

Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code by Andrew Smith (The Guardian)

The development of interlocked and opaque algorithms which have rapidly proliferated and now govern vast swathes of our lives has created a series of ethical conflicts which are nearly irreconcilable. [Link]

The World Isn’t as Bad as Your Wired Brain Tells You by Christopher Mims (WSJ)

What you see on your Twitter feed or Facebook timeline is not a function of random chance; rather, it’s shaped by algorithms that want you to keep reading or interact as opposed to presenting you a realistic or accurate portrayal of reality. [Link; paywall]


A Market Shakeup Is Pushing Alphabet and Facebook Out of the Tech Sector by Daren Fonda (Barron’s)

S&P and MSCI are in the process of re-aligning their approach to sectors, with the biggest result being a new sector (“Communications Services”) replacing “Telecoms”. [Link; paywall]

What Will Always Be True by Nick Maggiulli (Of Dollars And Data)

Tech companies may seem to be reinventing the rules of investing and even in a certain sense economics, but their growth in revenue is profoundly correlated to the growth in the number of employees they have. [Link]

Labor & Income

The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’ by Alana Semuels (The Atlantic)

An investigation of the economics and implications of online sites that allow for cheap access to services provided by freelancers around the world. [Link]

Social Wealth Fund for America by Matt Beuenig (Peoples’ Policy Project)

Bruenig proposes an “ownership society” that looks very different from the traditional Reaganite use of the term: government purchases of equity stakes in firms, with each citizen receiving an equal claim on the wealth and dividends. [Link]


The Atlantic Has Been Quiet—Too Quiet—This Hurricane Season by Brian K. Sullivan (Bloomberg)

A year of cool water and dry air from the Sahara have meant that hurricanes in the Atlantic basin are much, much less intense than they have been in recent seasons. [Link]


Supreme Court Survey by Robert Green and Adam Rosenblatt (C-SPAN/PSB)

In this survey of likely voters, the Supreme Court gets a surprisingly uniform approval rating from various party and ideological identifications; that’s becoming increasingly uncommon in our hyper-partisan era of politics. [Link; 33 page PDF]

The Doctor Is Out

As an Economic Forecaster, Copper Fails Miserably by Stephen Mihm (Bloomberg)

While market commentators often ascribe a mythical reliability forecasting economic cycles to copper, in reality the metal is not very effective as a judge of what happens next with output growth. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great Sunday!

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