Until the project was hastily killed yesterday; Pentagon bureaucrats were busily building a new Web site where we could all invest in the future of terrorism. Their “Policy Analysis Market” (funded by the Bush White House and thought up by criminal John Pointdexter) would have encouraged betting on the likelihood of assassinations, mass murders and other unnatural disasters. The Pentagon called its latest idea a new way of predicting events and part of its search for the “broadest possible set of new ways to prevent terrorist attacks.”
The project was killed after practically everyone who heard about it reacted with shock and horror at the idea. The white house also hastily altered the website www.policyanalysismarket.org to downplay or conceal the project.
According to descriptions given to Congress, available at the Web site and provided by the two senators, traders would deposit money into an account similar to a stock account and win or lose money based on predicting events.
UPDATE: I read more about this recently in the book The Wisdom of Crowds, and although the premise is complicated, I think I now understand what they were trying to accomplish. The goal wasn’t to earn money from people’s misfortune, it was to chart what many indvidual goverment officials with bits and pieces of information about different aspects of terrorism might know about potential attacks, and to agreggate the information into a larger picture.