Congratulations, world. It's been five years since the credit crunch began, and the global economy began to gradually -- and then all at once! -- implode. The good news is we avoided the abyss. The bad news is we didn't avoid a lost half decade.
It's been a particularly bad time for equity investors. Stocks will hopefully be better in the long run, but the medium run has been pretty miserable -- in the United States, China, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and especially in Greece. The chart below from James Mackintosh of The Financial Times shows us just how miserable, comparing the best and worst-performing assets since BNP Paribas unofficially inaugurated the credit crisis.
If you're looking for a good return on your money, you could have done a lot worse than piling into bonds and commodities. The former have risen in value as interest rates have dropped to historic lows, while the latter have surged due to emerging market growth and supply shocks. That's why we shouldn't read too much into corn's top performance -- our recent record-setting drought has sent their prices skyrocketing recently.
Hopefully we don't start seeing cash for corn shops springing up anytime soon.
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Matthew O'Brien is a former senior associate editor at The Atlantic.