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by Tim Jones
02 August 2003 18:47 UTC
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You knew this was coming, right?

August 1, 2003

AmericanActionMarket.org will attempt to predict White House actions

    Contact: mailto:info@americanactionmarket.org

Inspired by the futures market in terror and war that the Pentagon released
earlier this week (and then immediately yanked; see
http://news.google.com/news?q=%22Policy+Analysis+Market%22), a consortium
of computer scientists, political scientists and others announced today an
online futures market in White House behavior.

"The Pentagon felt that a market in terrorism futures could predict
terrorism," said AAM spokesman Tad Hirsch, a researcher at MIT's Media Lab.
"If the market is indeed such a powerful tool, then it should be directed
at the most urgent question facing the world: what will the White House do
next? And the second most urgent: what is it doing right now?"

The site, http://www.AmericanActionMarket.org will offer various
categories of "futures" that users can bet on and trade. Some of these have
easily verifiable outcomes:

* Who will be the next foreign leader to move from the CIA payroll to
  the White House "most wanted" list?

* What will be the next major White House lie to break, and how will
  the White House attempt to control it? Will the attempt be

* Which corporation will be next to see its close relationship to the
  White House erupt in scandal?

(See http://www.AmericanActionMarket.org/concept.htm for more examples.)

In addition, AAM will also allow users to place and trade longer-term
wagers on current or past scenarios that are in the short term unverifiable
because of White House secrecy, and which will only be proved or disproved
via impeachment hearings, journalistic sleuth-work, etc. For example:

* Was Rumsfeld the first to suggest using the attacks as pretext to
  overthrow Saddam Hussein, as reported in the press, or did the idea
  first come from others?

* Was the invasion of Afghanistan planned from the start as a
  stepping-stone to an attack on Iraq?

* Was the President fully conscious of the lies in his pre-war
  speeches, or were the decisions to lie taken by others? By whom?

* How important a long-term factor in the 2003 Iraq was Iraq's
  expulsion of U.S. and British oil companies from Iraq between
  1972 and 1975?

(See http://www.AmericanActionMarket.org/concept.htm for more examples and

As evidence is accumulated to prove or disprove a particular future, its
market value will change; this change may serve analysts as an indicator of
a scenario's likelihood, even if a final resolution of the bet is never

Just as a gambler buys chips at a casino, users of the AAM system will use
a secure webpage to buy "Smart Dollars," which they will then use for
trading. Users will be able to "cash out" at any time by trading in their
"Smart Dollars" for real ones, with 10% going to charity.

Hirsch acknowledges that the value of markets as predictors is not certain,
but he insists it's worth trying. "If there's even a small chance this will
help predict what the White House will do, it's well worth the effort,
given the stakes."

AmericanActionMarket.org will be fully functional and ready for bets on
October 1, the day the Pentagon's now-defunct futures market was scheduled
to open.


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