S&P Returns and the Remarkable Case of 2008

Ed. Note: Boing Boing's current guestblogger Clay Shirky is the author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. He teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, where he works on the overlap of social and technological networks.


This is a graphic of the Standard and Poor's stock index's annual returns, placing every year since 1825 in a column of returns from -50% to +60%. As you can see, it is a rough bell curve, with 45 of those 185 years falling in the +0-10% column. There are only 5 years each in the 40-50% and 50-60% return columns, and, through 2007, there were only one year each in the -31-40% and -41-50% columns. You can see where 2008 to date falls.

(UPDATED: From DailyKos, via Greg Mankiw.)