Progress

“We produce more food with less land, agriculture produces less emissions than before, and we are working at reducing emissions across the board, motor vehicles and the like. I am sure that our generation will figure out a way pretty quickly to reduce not only emissions and by extension reduce the impact of climate change.”


 

To market to market to buy a fat pig Stocks closed lower across the globe Friday, again some worries about government bond yields rising. That is a concern, whilst they should rise in time to represent something closer to the longer term norms, we may be stuck in a world with lower rates and by extension lower bond yields. And what that means for people who rely heavily on higher yields is that their continued hunt for higher rates means less quality. Pension shortfalls are being tallied up, it doesn’t look pretty. Whether or not rates stay low as a result of continued efficiencies in the internet and robotic age (we are getting there), and by extension little inflation, remains to be seen.

A not so simple and multi faceted question that had made we wonder. In the future, your fridge would, based on your consumption habits, be able to let you know what it needs and when. These fridges would save wastage by as much as 50 percent (immediately) from current levels, see – Tech innovations that could reduce food waste. This would certainly increase efficiencies, saving end users collectively an enormous amount of money. That is good. What would it mean for the producers? Less demand would translate to them having to reduce supply, would that lead to lower prices? Farmers themselves will and would become more efficient, using the technologies available. The key is population growth, most of which is happening in the developing world. It still remains our obligation to humanity to feed each and every one, we are a long stretch from that.

The other part of the of the question, and the answer is invariably lost in a complex wall of states and politics. If it is our obligation to feed all of humanity, why do we continue with technologies that are not necessarily useful for empty stomaches? One in nine people globally are classified as starving, that is nearly 800 million people. If children attend school hungry, as many do in developing countries, what is their chance of breaking the poverty cycle? Yet, if we drop technologies to improve efficiencies, we steal technological advances from future generations. Unfortunately both need to happen in parallel. The advancements of all of society today are as a result of never-ending progress. As luck would have it, the fleshed out version of one of my favourite Twitter accounts has a fabulous blog, here from Human Progress is a blog that provides answers: Seven ways in which human ingenuity helps the planet.

We produce more food with less land, agriculture produces less emissions than before, and we are working at reducing emissions across the board, motor vehicles and the like. I am sure that our generation will figure out a way pretty quickly to reduce not only emissions and by extension reduce the impact of climate change. That frees up resources to be used elsewhere. i.e. the less rich people spend on food, the more they are likely to spend on other stuff, for instance building a connective home that makes them more energy efficient. Lastly, I think the advent of technology will free up markets globally, our old pal Mark J. Perry has this to say about the old US actor president, Ronald Reagan and a speech he made – Quotation of the day on international trade.

One line from there nails it: “Put simply, increased trade spells more jobs, higher earnings, better products, less inflation, and cooperation over confrontation.” Yet politicians try their damnest to protect jobs that shouldn’t compete in an open market (those people can be re-skilled to do something else), in return for seeing as protecting what is ours. What happens if you turned the equation on it’s head and said that by protecting 100 thousand jobs, you rob the rest of the population (55 million of us) of the choices of cheaper products. In which we would spend money elsewhere across the economy, not so? And create jobs in places that we never thought we had. Technology will continue to compete against humanity, we had better make sure that we all pay attention! Equally, it is your obligation as an investor to seek profitable ventures that will change humanity, the more profitable they are, the better for all of us. Lastly, see this on progress – With Litterless Lunches, Canadian Schools Try To Get Parents To Pack Zero-Waste Meals

Quick scoreboard check, in a week in which the Fed will attract all of the attention, locally stocks as a collective sank two-thirds of a percent. There were moves lower pretty much across the board, Aspen was noticeably weaker amongst the majors, down around four and two-thirds of a percent. Quite clearly someone did not like what they saw in the numbers after they had let it percolate for a couple of days. The Rand continues to firm slowly, following the slowing down of the less than impressive public domain spats between treasury, SARS and government. Sigh, and there you thought that all parties were pulling in the same direction.

Across the seas and far away in New York, New York, stocks sank, yet bounced off their worst levels. The broader market S&P 500 ended the day down 0.38 percent, whilst the blue chip index, the Dow Industrial Average sold off nearly half a percent. Energy and basic materials were the losers, although the oil price is up over the last part of the weekend as there was violence in Libya, and Venezuela announced some sort of output deal that would be embraced by all the producers. Except the free market ones of course, their job is to send as much to market at the best possible price. Read the frackers.

Technology stocks were the least worst of the bunch, as a collective the nerds of NASDAQ closed the session down 0.1 percent, Intel soared over three percent during the session. Better guidance for their third quarter is what I read. Better than anticipated demand that Intel were seeing in the personal computer market. That is a breath of fresh air and makes for a multiyear cycle change. I am cherry picking here, the Intel share price is still half of what it was on the First of September 2000. Those were the days my friends, earnings multiples of the hundreds is what was needed to take a company seriously.


 

Linkfest, lap it up

If this vaccine works should we give it to babies along with other shots taken when they are young? – Anti-Cocaine Vaccine Approved for Clinical Study in Humans

Old books are normally fragile, so reading them can be damaging to the books itself. Researchers have come up with a clever way of avoiding this problem – This MIT camera can read books. Even when they’re closed. I would imagine that you would be able to turn these old books into digital copies with this technology too.

Sometimes we make poor investment decisions because funds are already invested in a certain company and selling means locking in a loss – The Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Drone deliveries are going to be the future. The logistics are still being figured out by authorities and private companies, here is Alphabet trying to deliver food – There’s now footage of Google’s burrito-delivering drones in action.


 

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog. Markets across Asia are mostly higher, the Aussies had a trading glitch to contend with this morning. Our rugby has had a glitch for a while. As I said to some fellows on Friday evening at a kids birthday party, if only the players had a mobile phone in their pockets to check the advice from Twitter, that would be so much more useful for them. Be patient fans, your team cannot win all of the time. Much like in equity markets when there are ebbs and flows. Your stock portfolio will in time beat the index if you remain patient. We should start better, it is all about the Fed this week sports lovers.


 

Sent to you by Sasha, Byron and Michael on behalf of team Vestact.

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