This week’s highlights: Gamestop, Social Class, and Christian Pulisic
What Do We Do With Social Class?
The story of the week has no doubt been the price action in shares of Gamestop which has gone hyperbolic as a result of a group of Reddit (an online message board) users banding together to target companies that are highly shorted, thereby forcing large hedge funds to buy shares (at higher prices) to cover the shorts – one hedge fund booked a loss over $2bn as a result.
The subtext surrounding the story is that this is an action of the proletariat, the average Joe’s, against the bourgeois hedge funds – payback for the Wall Street bailouts of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Regardless of whether this narrative is actually true (hint – there’s a lot more going on here IMO), it has won popular opinion for the week.
As Americans, there is something anathematic about social class that runs contrary to our egalitarian ethos. Yet to Europeans, it is simply reality. How we wrestle with these dynamics is a front and center dynamic as we come to the late stages of this era of capitalism. You’ll find a handful of articles this week touching on this issue from a few different vantage points.
Original Content This Week –
- The Atrophy of Family Wealth – Demystifying the Shirtsleeves Proverb – Part 1 Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations, but is it all the third-generation’s fault? Or maybe does each generation contribute its own unique dysfunction to the toxic cocktail that ultimately brings down the family.
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Have a great weekend!
Food for Thought
- AD – The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class and Tablet – The New National American Elite
- New Yorker – Andrew Yang, Fran Lebowitz, and Who Gets to Be a “Real” New Yorker Interesting discussion and implications for any fast growing town ala Nashville
- BariWeiss – Natan Sharansky: Why Alexei Navalny Is Playing With His Life “One man who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny,” said Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Soviet dissident, who knew this to be true because he himself lived it. So did Nelson Mandela. So did Vaclav Havel.
- NYT – High School Grades Could Be Worth $100,000. Time to Tell Your Child? Most colleges and universities now use a “merit” aid strategy to solicit teenagers. Your eighth grader probably ought to know how it works.
- Fox13 – Chick-fil-A helps direct gridlocked traffic at S.C. drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine site
- WSJ – Keith Gill Drove the GameStop Reddit Mania. He Talked to the Journal also – NYMag – An Elegant Revolution Followed by Slaughter
- Foreign Policy – America Abandoned Its Economic Prophet. The World Embraced Him. John Kenneth Galbraith was an intellectual celebrity 50 years ago—and it would be a mistake to ignore him today.
- CrypotAnonymous – The Bit Short: Inside Crypto’s Doomsday Machine
- NewComer – The Unauthorized Story of Andreessen Horowitz Benedict Evans, Andreessen Horowitz’s former in-house analyst, has mused over the years that “A16Z is a media company that monetizes through VC.” That observation becomes truer by the day.
- NYT – What Jeffrey Epstein Did to Earn $158 Million From Leon Black Mr. Epstein specialized in aggressively pitching ways to minimize paying taxes. And not just to Mr. Black, the private equity chief executive who was his main benefactor in his later years.
Culture / Tech / Science
- MotherBoard – The People the Suburbs Were Built for Are Gone The “retrofitting” of obsolete suburban malls, box stores, office parks, parking lots, motels, and more.
- NYT – This Parenting Book Actually Made Me A Better Parent
- GQ – America Finally Has a Global Soccer Star Christian Pulisic isn’t just the best male soccer player the country has ever produced—he’s also one of the best in the world. With more homegrown talent following in his footsteps, is he ready to be the leading man that U.S. soccer has been waiting for?
- MH – Zach Johnson Is YouTube’s ‘Millennial Farmer’—and His Viral Videos Are Peak Relaxation He’s like Bob Ross or the Pioneer Woman, but with John Deere tractors.
- JPM – Three Retirement Spending Surprises A lifetime spending curve, a retirement spending surge and a high degree of retirement spending volatility
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