With all the recent brouhaha over the subprime controversy and claims that mark-to-market accounting contributed to or even caused problems for investors in collateralized debt obligations, lots of people have been commenting on the relative usefulness of original cost and estimated market/fair value.One of the recurring themes raised by the chorus of critics (who shall remain nameless) is that original cost is preferable because it’s more reliable than estimated value.

That longstanding argument is nothing but a myth, and we’re going to play the role of MythBusters, borrowing from the popular Discovery Channel show.

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