Peter Thiel of global macro hedge fund Clarium Capital had an interesting comment in the weekend Barron's on the market's (until-recently) dampened volatility:
Thiel: Our view is that volatility has been suppressed across all global markets as a result of the flow of petrodollars into the world economy. Basically, there was a $1 trillion dollar tax increase on oil, and while that's bad for consumers, it's actually been very good for financial markets because the money has basically been this regressive tax that's been reinvested in financial markets: gold, real estate, tech stocks, emerging markets and equities.
As an aside, I love the random financial factoids on the front page of the Clarium site. Here's a thought-provoking one comparing U.S. R&D spending to U.S. home improvement expenditures: