October 2012

Global Economic Speed Check

Economies around the world speed up and they slow down. This not only impacts the overall well-being of people, it plays a prominent role in determining the outcome of elections. We wonder: By what percentage has the U.S. economy grown annually over the two decades since 1991?

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Peaceful Europe?

The European Union has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And indeed, Europe today seems like an island of peace and tranquility. Yet, such appearances can be deceiving — and fleeting. We wonder: Since 1600, what is the longest time that there has been peace between the major powers on the European continent?

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A Billion Here, a Billion There

There used to be a time when you had to say “Billions, with a B” because the number seemed so unimaginably huge. The world has changed considerably in recent decades — and the “billion” word is now routinely applied to business, wealth, populations and politics. We wonder: Which of the following items fit in the “about a billion” category?

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China’s Great Leap Forward

Over the last 30 years, China’s economy has grown annually at an average rate of 10%. That is a period of growth that no other country in history has ever matched. The poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income in 1952, China has now leaped over many other countries. Which country’s current income level is most similar to China’s?

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