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wild ride Ecuador

Ecuador
is a developing country. Travelers to the capital city of Quito may require some
time to adjust to the altitude (close to 10,000 feet), which can adversely
affect blood pressure, digestion and energy level. Tourist facilities are
adequate, but vary in quality. Introduction Epithet after epithet was found too
weak to convey to those who have not visited the intertropical regions, the
sensations of delight which the mind experiences.--- Charles Darwin If an
argumentative group of travelers sat down to design a shared destination, they
would be hard put to come up with a place that would best Ecuador. Packed like a
knee-cap between Peru and Colombia, Ecuador contains within its borders an
improbable variety of landscape and culture. For the mountaineer, it is bisected
by an epic stretch of the northern Andes. For the jungle explorer, there is a
biological mother lode within the Amazonian Oriente. The sea-minded are rewarded
with miles of Pacific coastline, to say nothing of the living wonders of the
Galapagos Islands. Not only are these regions highly defined, but excluding
Galapagos they are also wonderfully contiguous. The entire country is about the
size of Washington state, and it is home to some of the world's most
extraordinary national parks. In a matter of two hundred miles, the traveler can
penetrate all of the mainland's defining regions--the coastal lowlands in the
West, the volcanic central highlands, and the rainforests of the East, or
Oriente. Ecuador's climate is equally generous to the traveler. Embracing the
Pacific, Ecuador rests squarely on the equator (hence its name). Here, seasons
are defined more by rainfall than temperature. A warm rainy season lasts from
January to April, and May through December is characterized by a cooler, drier
period that is ideally timed for a summer trip. History & Culture Ecuador's
culture and history mirrors the diversity of its landscape. Like much of South
America, Ecuadorian culture blends the influences of Spanish colonialism with
the resilient traditions of pre-Columbian peoples. Archaeologists trace the
first inhabitants as far back as 10,000 BC, when hunters and gatherers
established settlements on the southern coast and in the central highlands. By
3,200 BC three distinct agricultural-based civilizations had emerged, producing
some of the hemisphere's oldest known pottery. They developed trade routes with
nearby Peru, Brazil, and Amazonian tribes. Culture continued to thrive and
diversify, and by 500 BC large cities had been established along the coast.
Their inhabitants had sophisticated metalworking and navigational skills and
they traded with Mexico's Maya. In 1460 AD, when the Inca ruler Tupac-Yupanqui
invaded from the south, three major tribes in Ecuador were powerful enough to
give him a fight: the Canari, the Quitu, and the Caras. The Inca were a dynamic,
rapidly advancing society. They originated in a pocket of Peru, but established
a vast empire within a century. It dominated Peru and extended as far as Bolivia
and central Chile. The Inca constructed massive, monumental cities. To
communicate across their empire they laid wide, stone-paved highways thousands
of kilometers long and sent chains of messengers along them. These mailmen
passed each other records of the empire's status, which were coded in system of
knots along a rope. A winded runner could even rest in the shade of trees
planted along both sides of the road. Remarkably, the Canari, Quitu, and Caras
were able to hold back Tupac-Yupanqui, though they proved less successful
against his son, Huayna Capac. After conquering Ecuador, Huayna Capac
indoctrinated the tribes to Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still
widely spoken in Ecuador. In celebration of his victory, Huayna Capac ordered a
great city to be built at Tomebamba, near Cuenca. Its size and influence rivaled
the capital of Cuzco in Peru--a rivalry that would mature with posterity. When
he died in 1526, Huayna Capac divided the empire between his two sons, Atahualpa
and Huascar. Atahualpa ruled the northern reaches from Tombebamba, while Huascar
held court over the south from Cuzco. The split inheritance was an
unconventional and fateful move, as the first Spaniards arrived in the same
year. On the eve of Pizarro's expedition into the empire, the brothers entered
into a civil war for complete control. Francisco Pizarro landed in Ecuador in
1532, accompanied by 180 fully armed men and an equally strong lust for gold.
Several years earlier, Pizarro had made a peaceful visit to the coast, where he
heard rumors of inland cities of incredible wealth. This time, he intended to
conquer the Incas just as Hernando Cortez had crushed Mexico's Aztecs--and he
couldn't have picked a better time. ... more

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Ecomomy In 2000

Evaluating the bull market today, it is almost impossible to pick up a financial journal without seeing news on the bull market that some consider to be overvalued. Overvalued or fairly valued, only the future will show the truth. Either way, this market is one that has shown greater run ups and returns, than any other market in history. (Reference Appendix #1a) Recently the Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached historical highs and then receded back to previous levels, leaving investors who are used to consistent and record setting gains month after month, baffled. Both the Dow Jones and the S & P 500 indices have seen modest and even flat performances over the past three months. (Reference #1b)
A recent article that was published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal emphasized that returns were flat due to the fact that investors were concerned of the possible on set of inflation. If these concerns are warranted and inflation is thus expected, the Bull market may very well be over. This after all makes sense, inflation has slowed and stopped many run-ups in the past, and the onset of inflation now could very well do the same. While the article introduced some possibilities, it said nothing of the likelihood, the causes of, the Fed.'s reactions to, and the probability of expected inflationary increases in the future. This paper is thus dedicated to expanding on these ideas by exploring the rationality of these concerns by examining the circumstances surrounding inflation. It is my speculation that the Bull market may eventually correct itself in the future, but not in the short term due to immediate inflation. That is, that the market was in fact flat due investors concerns, but actual imperative inflation does not look to be expected in the near future. In order to begin to understand the nature of market trends and forces, one must first consider the current state of the U.S. economy relative to its' business cycle. Certain aggregates can be measured that tell us a great deal about this. These aggregates have a strong history of leading, coinciding, or lagging the relative business cycle with a high amount of regular correlation. In fact the composite index of leading indicators shows that they have not experienced a significant downturn since the early 1980's, and have been increasing rather sharply over the past 3 years. The fact that all of these indicators are currently rising indicate that the economy is in a period of robust growth, or an expansionary phase. The fruits of this expansion have proven to be many, however it is often said that too much of a good thing can be bad. In this regard there are factors associated with the degree and nature of this economy, which could cause slowdown.
For example, how is inflation measured, and to what degree should we be concerned with the effects and attributes of cost- push and demand- pull sources of inflation in this robust economy? According the Baye and Jansen, inflation can be measured by considering the growth of the money supply, the growth of M velocity, and the growth of real output. Algebraically this is represented by the equation: inflation = (gm + gv) - gy. This equation thus considers the monetary, supply-push, and demand-pull factors. When the rate of inflation is measured in this way one can see, that over the last few years inflation has been relatively stable about its' trend. This is in part, a result of the steady growth of GDP over the same period, and is testimony to the success of the Federal Reserve Board's monetary and fiscal policies. The rates of inflation over the last 10 years are graphically illustrated in Appendix 3A. Cost-push inflation incurs when the prices of inputs for production increase and thus cause profit margins to diminish. If firms are unwilling or unable to accept the declination in operating income, they will pass these increases on to consumers in the form of increased prices. In a competitive market it would seem that firms would be unable to raise prices, unless there was uniform pressure affecting the aggregate whole of suppliers. (Examples include per unit ... more

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