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I think it's impossible to talk about the markets' collective performance over the last fifteen years without getting into the Internet, which is sort of inherent to your productivity reference.  That's a benefit we still haven't fully enjoyed yet.  I've read in many places that Europe, for example, should see very strong productivity growth sometime in the next couple of years, as European businesses integrate it more into their business models.  That would seem to make sense, looking at the Internet's behavior in households.  (Americans originally were far more likely to be online than Britons, for example, but this is changing rapidly when we look to broadband.)

One major reason for why Wal-Mart has smashed companies like Sears and K-Mart into dust, aside from the utter incompetence of companies like K-Mart and the fact that the game has long passed Sears by, has been its strong integration of technologies to measure and control its inventory.  Wal-Mart has enjoyed, I believe, stunning productivity growth relative to its major competitors.  CostCo -- WallieWorld's big competitor in the Buy In Bulk market -- has, as well, if I'm not mistaken.

So there are very good reasons for the markets' solid gains.  Some of it was the result of too much hype, of course, back in the 1990s.  And, no doubt, that will happen again, because that's simply a fact of life in the stock market.  But, on the whole, I think the trend makes sense.  The primary role of Iraq has been to spook investors, who really and truly hate that sort of uncertainty, especially in a region as dangerous -- and, for now, as economically important -- as the Middle East.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 08:58:14 AM EST
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