Wikinvest Wire

What happened between 1939 and 1945?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Time and again you hear people say things like, "This may be the worst economic downturn since the Second World War" or, in other cases, "The current economic slowdown may be the worst since the Great Depression".

Increasingly, you hear the former rather than the latter. Why?

What exactly happened between 1939 and the mid-1940s?

Not much apparently.

In a story($) in today's Wall Street Journal, E.S. Browning provides the graphic you see to the right (a version of which was going to be created here just for this purpose, but no longer has to) and it clearly shows just a modest recession, following the end of the nation's longest nightmare in 1939, the Great Depression.

So, the question remains, why to people say, "the worst since World War II", instead of "the worst since the Great Depression"?

Is it because they are in some way hoping that by not saying those awful, emotionally charged words - the Great Depression - that they are somehow improving our future?

3 comments:

ndd said...

One reason people like myself use the phrase "since the second world war" is because relevant data-sets didn't begin until, e.g., 1947. Just spend a little time over at the ST. Louis Fred site and that issue becomes obvious. So the phrase is an effort not to go beyond the data you have available.

Tim said...

That makes sense, but it is misleading.

Dan said...

Maybe it's along the same lines as when the Dow is down 200 points, it is reported as being "off of it's highs", but when the Dow is up 20 points, it is reported as, "soaring". [ ie. if gold is down $5 it is "pummeled" or up $20 it is, "whaaaa....?" ]

I don't know what this is called - but it's pretty lame.

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