Markets are everywhere

So DARPA had to trash their innovative terrorism markets program because Congress got their collective panties in a proverbial twist. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if just the opposite is true. When congressmen all start thumping on the national bible, it’s time to buy whatever they hate. At any rate, the predictive power of markets is well-established, and if you’re clever you can spin that into gold by mitigating risk in the venture of your choice.

Here’s a good NY Times article about innovative futures markets: Predict the Future of Technology and Win a Plasma TV. Give away a few baubles and trinkets, and you can get your hands on priceless information. What’s the Next Big Thing in the tech toy market? How’s that can’t-miss film with Ben Affleck and What’s-Her-Name going to do at the box office? There are lots of funky futures markets out there. Yale Econ professor Robert Shilller’s New Financial Order website has a good list. Here is an amusing quote from from the site:

Tradesports.com is an Irish firm that allows betting on world events, such as election or ouster of world leaders. Even after the DARPA terrorism futures scandal, Tradesports continued to trade terrorism events like the U. S. terrorism alert levels and the capture of Saddam Hussein. When the terrorism futures scandal broke in the U. S., Tradesports created a contract on the ouster of John Poindexter as head of DARPA.

Is anything sacred? Well, what’s it worth to ya?