March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday Reading: Will the bull market continue? And more.

Need some time away from the Easter Bunny? Here's your respite:

1. Iraq, Afghan war costs top $4-6 trillion
The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.

2. Have concerns over peak oil peaked?
 It wasn’t that long ago that peak oil was on everybody’s minds. The basic scenario: Global energy demand would soon outstrip the world’s oil supply. Some of the more feverish types believe this will lead to a civilizational breakdown and a post-apocalyptic Mad Max landscape.

3. How the ATM revolutionized the banking business
Most adults living in urban areas around the world have come in contact with an automated teller machine. For many, it represents their “bank” far more than rows of tellers standing behind tall counters.
The story of the ATM’s rapid rise to ubiquity is also one of a revolution in retail banking.

4. Bull market may have farther to go
FOR the last four years, market watchers have bemoaned the muted economic recovery, with its sluggish growth, tepid job creation and continuing investor fears. 

Yet the qualities that have kept the animal spirits from returning to Wall Street may explain why today’s bull market, which turned four years old this month, has outlasted the average rally. On Thursday, the end of a trading week truncated by the Good Friday holiday, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed at a new record high. 

“Like a marathoner who didn’t start out at a full sprint, will this bull have more stamina?” asks Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. “My belief is this rally could end up lasting longer.” 

Despite the massive destruction our species has wrought on the earth, we’ve also learned a tremendous amount about ecological systems in the process. As our old narrative of domination crumbles, an understanding of how to work with nature is emerging. Can we apply the ideas of permaculture to society when facing energy depletion, climate change and social breakdown? Will our future society be able to regenerate the planet? (Source: Extraenvironmentalist)