The Pentagon is working on a futures market for people to step right up and place their bets on what’s going to happen in the Middle East.
The market would work this way. Investors would buy and sell futures contracts â€” essentially a series of predictions about what they believe might happen in the Mideast. Holder of a futures contract that came true would collect the proceeds of investors who put money into the market but predicted wrong.
A graphic on the market’s Web page showed hypothetical futures contracts in which investors could trade on the likelihood that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be assassinated or Jordanian King Abdullah II would be overthrown.
On its face it’s an exercise in callous absurdity. I can appreciate that they’re trying to tap the world’s braintrust by bribing them, then paying special attention to the predictions of people who make a lot of money in the market. But this isn’t a clean system of rules and governing bodies like the stock market, this is the Middle East.
What I think a lot of the people seeing this story are missing is the parallel with Jim Bell’s Assassination Politics (AP). Stated simply, AP says that it would be pretty easy to operate a freelance assassin business by posting rewards for a dead pool where the winner has to predict the time and date that a person will die, then paying them with digital cash. Bell is not a fan of the government and his book has gotten him in a lot of hot water. It’s ironic that the same government that wants to ban his ideas also wants to put them to use.
This futures market would likely be nothing more than an AP dead pool where people predict exactly when they are going to assassinate various leaders in the Middle East. I’m can’t imagine what would happen if the US Government tacitly approves of this, a power vacuum over the world’s largest supply of oil would create violence that would reverberate around the world.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can go to their website at http://www.policyanalysismarket.org/.