Why Brexit is a lot like The Big Lebowski

(Bloomberg) -- On "What'd You Miss This Week", Scarlet Fu, Joe Weisenthal, Romaine Bostick and Caroline Hyde spoke with Tim Harford , senior columnist at the FT and the author of the "Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy". They discussed the political brinkmanship happening on both sides of the Atlantic with Brexit and the partial government shutdown in the United States.

"This idea of pushing and pushing and pushing to the limit in order to try to extract concessions from your opponent, we saw this several times during the Cold War, and now we're seeing it in peace times." The crux of both crises was politicians issuing empty threats and trying to make them seem credible, Harford said. That's where the risk comes in. "You never know when somebody might miscalculate," he said. "A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what haves you."

The partial government shutdown is at record length, and it's not just federal bureaucrats feeling the pain. The closure is weighing on big agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not release their WASDE report last Friday, which estimates supply and demand for crops. The private sector is trying to fill that gap with a substitute forecasts. Gro Intelligence, a data and analytics firm, founded by Sara Menker, released their own version of the USDA report.

Menker, who serves as CEO and is a also a former vice president for Morgan Stanley's commodities group, came on to discuss the shutdown impact on the industry. "A lot of databases were going down. Some numbers were not updating," she said. "When the government shutdown occurred, the first thing that we did was say you know what we should provide free access to data."

Huawei has long been viewed by authorities as a national security threat. Now the Chinese telecommunications giant is said to be the subject of a U.S. federal probe. Max Baucus, who formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to China during the Obama administration, joined as the news broke and discussed how the investigation could impact ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Ambassador Baucus, who was not surprised by the probe, said there was still a decent chance for successful negotiations. "China wants a deal. The Chinese economy is going south," he said. "The United States is frankly not doing great either." Ambassador Baucus, who still often travels back to China, cautioned there were still hurdles to negotiations. "They can't trust Trump," Baucus said. "It's hard for them to reach a deal with Trump because he keeps changing his mind."

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