The Long View

This month's quiz tests your knowledge of finance facts in history.


As one sign of the Times, consider that in the first seven years of this decade the phrase "The Great Depression" appeared in TheNew York Times at a very consistent average of 98 times a year. Last year that figure quadrupled, with the Great Crash becoming a ubiquitous point of comparison for the bad news emanating from Wall Street, Main Street, and, quite possibly, your street. As long as historical references are in vogue, see to what degree you can take the long view.

1) Before there was the Great Depression of 1929, there was the Long Depression of 1873, an event precipitated, in part, by:
A. The invention of Levi's blue jeans
B. The tripling of Manhattan real-estate prices
C. An outbreak of equine influenza
D. The attempted assassination of Ulysses S. Grant

2) A decade earlier, the Confederacy sought to raise funds in Europe by offering bonds that carried what novel twist?
A. They were backed by cotton as collateral
B. Pending victory, they could be exchanged for land in New England
C. The bond "certificates" were made of gold
D. The interest rate rose 0.5% for every month the war continued

3) A $10,000 investment in 1964 would, in real terms, have increased in value by a factor of 1.8, 3.4, and 10.3, respectively, if invested in T-bills, bonds, or stocks. Stashed under a mattress, the value of that $10,000 would have declined by:
A. 33%
B. 51%
C. 79%
D. 85%

4) In November 1954, the Dow Jones Industrial Average:
A. Recorded its first year without a single week-over-week decline
B. Added its first nonmanufacturing company
C. Surpassed its 1929 peak
D. Became a regular part of nightly network news coverage

5) In "Protection for Investors: The SEC Is Unequal to the Job," Time magazine lashed out at the SEC for being dominated by the very industry it was charged with policing, and for prosecuting small investment firms while turning a blind eye to the operations of large firms. When did this article appear?

A. 1939
B. 1956
C. 1977
D. 2002

6) Although it managed to lose more than $4 billion in a few months in 1998, prior to that, the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management achieved annual returns, after fees, of approximately:
A. 18%
B.  33%
C.  41%
D.  65%

7) In January 2000, 17 dot-com firms paid $2 million each to run 30-second commercials during Super Bowl XXXIV. How many dot-coms advertised during the Super Bowl the following year?
A. None
B. 3
C. 8
D. 22

Answers: 1-C; 2-A; 3-D; 4-C; 5-B; 6-C; 7-B


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