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Research Program

Wednesday Links

  1. Gregory Clark: For whom the Bell Curve tolls.
  2. New President, same old Forever War.
  3. Inside Xinjiang’s prison state.
  4. WandaVision and Nomadland‘s portrayals of grief.
  5. China’s focus on bubble risks is a warning sign for the stock market.
  6. The lights that failed.
  7. The opportunity-killing minimum wage.
  8. How Saudi Arabia gets away with murder.
  9. Blueprints to advance climate change mitigation and resilience.
  10. The care commitment.
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Research Program

The Future of Private Equity

William D. Cohan writes for The New York Times on the future of private equity:

The formula’s success has been stunning. Private equity firms, once quaint partnerships, are now publicly traded behemoths. Steve Schwarzman, a co-founder of the powerful Blackstone Group with more than $600 billion under management, is worth roughly $23 billion. Leon Black, a co-founder of Apollo Global Management, is worth about $10 billion.

But now the party could be ending. In a little-noticed December ruling in a case involving a failed 2014 leveraged buyout, Jed S. Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, threw some sand into the otherwise well-lubricated gears of what has been a 40-year financial bonanza. It’s about time we started asking tough questions about the ramifications of loading up companies with huge amounts of debt they will surely have difficulty repaying.

The Nine West legal ruling discussed in Cohan’s article may have some troubling implications for future deal flow. Read the full article.

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Tuesday Links

  1. Dexter Filkins: Last exit from Afghanistan.
  2. Thank you, Dr. Zizmor.
  3. The spectre of pandemic debts.
  4. Why Taiwan matters.
  5. “A crisis within a crisis within a crisis.”
  6. Five reasons to be wary of a new domestic terrorism law.
  7. What’s the significance of Biden’s first military strikes in Syria?
  8. Defence against the dark arts in space.
  9. The raging evolutionary war between humans and COVID-19.
  10. Mexico’s long war.
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Research Program

What I’m Reading

  1. Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders by James C. Oleson (University of California Press, 2021). Pulp writers like Abraham Merritt popularised the high-IQ criminal mastermind. Oleson’s book is the first empirical, systematic study of the actual reality of who are high-IQ criminals and why.
  2. How Spies Think: Ten Lessons in Intelligence by David Omand (Penguin, 2021). The former head of the United Kingdom’s GCHQ explains intelligence tradecraft to deal with contemporary fake news, misinformation, and disinformation narratives. An excellent primer on how to think with greater clarity.
  3. The Psychology of Social Influence: Modes and Modalities of Shifting Common Sense by Gordon Sammut and Martin W. Bauer (Cambridge University Press, 2021). This book synthesises the social influence literature in social psychology to propose and test a new ‘cyclone’ model. I’m reading this to extend the methodology of my PhD work on possible strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations.
  4. Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of Competence at Work by Jon-Arild Johannessen (Routledge, 2020). Automation may disrupt many workplaces and lead to greater labour alienation. This book is part of my background reading on this topic to be prepared for changes that are already unfolding over the next decade.
  5. Breaking Things At Work: The Luddites Are Right About Why You Hate Your Job by Gavin Mueller (Verso, 2021). The scope of historical and contemporary campaigns to change workplaces and to empower workers versus capital.

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Research Program

Friday Links

  1. The secret life of the White House.
  2. What is Salesforce really selling?
  3. Twitch’s DMCA takedown threaten to drive musicians away.
  4. The case for a permanent stimulus.
  5. Where are the iconic COVID-19 images?
  6. Scandal-plagued McKinsey ousts leader.
  7. On Amazon’s next CEO.
  8. Why public school teachers quit.
  9. We must change the way we measure economic health.
  10. Nomadland: the impact of gender-bias in wages.
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Research Program

Wednesday Links

  1. How restaurants survive the long pandemic winter.
  2. How screwed is the Trump Hotel D.C.?
  3. How to remember a disaster without being shattered by it.
  4. The ultimate symbols of America’s diminished soft power.
  5. Facebook just successfully bullied the sovereign nation of Australia.
  6. Reimagining U.S. strategy in the Middle East.
  7. Rethinking migration is a security perspective – not just how you might think.
  8. Myanmar’s protests: optimism and fear.
  9. Working with the Biden Administration: opportunities for the EU.
  10. Tax rate hikes and the economy.
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Research Program

Tuesday Links

  1. The prices on your Monopoly board hold a dark secret.
  2. Why the pandemic is hitting some countries harder.
  3. Democrats are waltzing toward an avoidable political disaster.
  4. COVID-19 may be here to stay.
  5. Why a cross-strait crisis will be averted in 2021.
  6. The 150-year prosecution of white supremacy.
  7. End of Myanmar’s rocky road to democracy?
  8. When data closes doors.
  9. Lessons learned from a cyberattack.
  10. What George Shultz taught us about making policy.
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Research Program

Russian Nuclear Strategy

The University of Oslo”s Dr. Kristin Ven Bruusgaard has a new article in the Journal of Strategic Studies:

Contemporary debates on Russian nuclear strategy focus on making sense of Russia’s nuclear capabilities, signalling and nuclear declarations. This paper argues that understanding how nuclear capabilities and strategy interact with conventional capabilities is fundamental to understanding nuclear strategy. It offers the Conventional Balance of Forces thesis for explaining change in Russia’s nuclear strategy after the Cold War. It shows how Russian nuclear debates and strategy decisions have been affected by perceived conventional vulnerabilities, and how the orthodox Western interpretation of Russian nuclear strategy today as one of ‘escalating to de-escalate’ comes short of explaining when Russia would go nuclear in conflict, and why.:

This looks to provide some interesting doctrinal background to understand Russia’s strategic culture, and the Russian doctrinal counterparts to the development of the first generation of strategic scholars in the United States (from approximately 1977 to 1989-90).

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Research Program

ANZSOC Workshops

Register now for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology‘s upcoming two workshops: Organised Crime and Networks Workshop (15th July 2021) and the Cybercrime and Digital Criminology Workshop (16th July 2021).

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Research Program

Monday Links

  1. David Lynch’s industrious pandemic.
  2. The moment Britain’s industry knew it was lost.
  3. Does it matter that Donald Trump may be a KGB asset?
  4. A trippy visualisation of the internet’s growth.
  5. Vaccinate the most active to protect the most vulnerable.
  6. The path forward.
  7. Texas Democrats and disaster relief.
  8. COVID and Paris as a city of fear.
  9. How Biden can succeed in infrastructure where Trump did not.
  10. Biden’s China policy keeps getting muddled.