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Bubble Vision

Three years after the subprime-mortgage market’s stupendous bursting, suspiciously explosive growth is everywhere again.

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Groupon's Worth: 1,400% Increase Since April 2010
The Chicago start-up made $760 million in 2010, but how much bigger is the market for daily-deal promotions? Talk is the company will go public at a price more than ten times its $1.35 billion valuation from last year.

Tim Pawlenty Hype: 339% Since December 2010
The Intrade futures-prediction site has already seen a number of bubbles pop in its 2012-Republican-presidential-nominee market. The former Minnesota governor is the latest to ride the wave.

College Costs: 30% Yearly Since 1980
Since 1980, the average cost of college tuition and fees has grown nearly tenfold, far outpacing inflation.

Web 2.0 Valuations: 450% Since Initial Valuations
LinkedIn’s hyped IPO was the first of many expected from social-media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and games-maker Zynga, all of whom have already seen their private valuations explode. (The number above represents the increase in estimated value of those four companies combined.)

Gold Prices: 45% Yearly Since 2001
When the economic outlook is uncertain, investors buy up precious metals, which they hope will retain their value in the event of fiscal calamity.

Calling Things "Bubbles": 20% Yearly Since 2004
According to Google Trends, search traffic for the word bubble (excluding searches for “bubble wrap”) is up almost 150 percent since Google began tracking search data.

Chinese Housing Prices: 35% Yearly Since 2007
Despite estimates that there are perhaps 64 million empty apartments in China, prices in urban centers continue to rise.

Prices of Rare-Earth Metals: 330% Yearly Since 2004
The need for these materials, used in high-tech products, has been growing for years. But fears that China will hoard its supply are pushing prices even higher.

Silver Prices: 74% Yearly Since 2001
See gold.

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