What is a bubble and are we in one?

Turner Ward of the Arizona Diamondbacks blows a large bubble in the dugout during a game between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on April 20, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

Recently, we've seen stock prices shoot up, with home prices following right along. As they've risen higher and higher, some market watchers have tossed around a word that connotes something very light, but in this context, carries heavy meaning: bubble.

"A bubble is one of these things like pornography, you know it when you see it," says Allan Sloan, Fortune's senior editor-at-large. "To me, a bubble is an Internet stock that comes out at $40, goes to $100, and two years later trades at $7. But these days, a bubble seems to be defined as something that will go down."

To hear more about whether we are in a housing, stock, or even a bond market bubble, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter and substitute host for Marketplace, based in New York.


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