Long-Term Advancement of Always Won Out

Dec 2011 //
History

As stressful as the current economic situation in Europe is [December 2011], the situation during World War II was many times worse.  Yet, if you didn’t know when World War II occurred, you couldn’t figure out the war years by looking at long-term S&P 500 prices.  Indeed, from the time the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 through V-E Day in 1945, the S&P 500 gained about 85%.  How can long-term stock prices not be negatively affected by something as momentous as World War II?  The answer is that the forces of long-term advancement in science, medicine and technology—aided and strengthened by entre­preneurial innovation and incentives—are extremely powerful.