Macall B. Polay / AP

"Ice and fire: what Game of Thrones can teach us about power politics — Panelists at Washington's Cato Institute discussed what real-world lessons could be drawn from the complexities and ambiguities of the show's political feuds," by The Guardian's Paul Owen. Possible reasons for stagnation in Westeros:

  • Long term political unity: Ilya Somin of the Cato Institute said, "Westeros does have several factors that economic theorists and historians point to as slowing down growth ... One is actually longstanding political unity. For hundreds or thousands of years the Targaryens dominated Westeros with a single unified state, and historically, competition between states, like in early modern Europe, for example, has been important to economic development."
  • Maesters: "Referring to the cadre of stuffy, aged scholars in the show, he added: 'The institution of the maesters probably is a problem. They monopolise intellectual development and scientific thought.'"
  • Focus on preserving food for winters: Matt Yglesias of Vox said, "Probably a huge amount of the savings and planning that exists is very narrowly focused on trying to preserve food for the winters ... It's hard to develop the kind of agricultural surpluses that would let you have cities and specialisation of labour when you not only need to grow enough food to feed people but you need to grow enough food to feed people through an unknown."

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Scoop: Lawmakers tee up hearing with academics ahead of antitrust report

Big Tech CEOs testify before the House Judiciary antitrust panel in June. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images.

Mostly academics will be testifying at Thursday's House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing which will reveal where its year-long investigation into big tech and competition is going, a source familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: The hearing is the next step following testimony from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Apple's Tim Cook before the committee in July. A showing of academics and think-tank types signals the lawmakers are still sorting out competition theories and possible legislative fixes to perceived antitrust abuses.

Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 33,454,037 — Total deaths: 1,003,571 — Total recoveries: 23,204,219Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 7,165,067 — Total deaths: 205,476 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.