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07/29/2003 Archived Entry: "PAM & DARPA"

Altho' it is being reported through every major news channel...I gotta hope against hope that this one is an elaborate hoax!....

One of the most bizarre ideas to come out of the hysteria, power-grabbing and profit-making that surrounds the panic over terrorism has to be the Policy Analysis Market (PAM) -- a/k/a the Terror Market. This is stock-market style system set up by the Pentagon in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. A sort of terrorism futures market...raising questions such as....will you will be able to sell short, buy on margin, etc? Fortunately, the idea is drawing fire: "The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and it's grotesque," Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said. "This is an appalling waste of taxpayers' money," said Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. Dorgan added, "Can you imagine if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in ... and bet on the assassination of an American political figure, or the overthrow of this institution or that institution?" Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle called on the Bush administration the plan and to apologize to the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

What exactly would be traded on the terrorism futures market? The PAM contracts are described as follows:
"* Quarterly contracts based on data indices that track economic health, civil stability, military disposition, and U.S. economic & military involvement in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey
* Quarterly contracts that track global economic and conflict indicators
* Specific possible events (e.g., U.S. recognition of Palestine in the first quarter of 2005)
When trading starts on October 1, 2003, there will be contracts of the first two types that mature at the end of the 4th quarter 2003, 1st 2004, 2nd 2004, and 3rd 2004. On January 1, 2004, contracts that mature at the end of the 4th quarter 2004 will be issued. In this way, the forward view of PAM will be maintained at one year. Contracts of the third type will be issued into PAM as specific potential events of interest are identified."

According to its Web site, the Policy Analysis Market would be a joint program of the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, and two private companies: Net Exchange, a market technologies company, and The Economist Intelligence Unit, the information arm of The Economist magazine. For a surreal experience click on DARPA's Future Map, which is described as follows: "The DARPA FutureMAP (Futures Markets Applied to Prediction) program is a follow-up to a current DARPA SBIR, Electronic Market-Based Decision Support (SB012-012). FutureMAP will concentrate on market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events. Strategic decisions depend upon the accurate assessment of the likelihood of future events. This analysis often requires independent contributions by experts in a wide variety of fields, with the resulting difficulty of combining the various opinions into one assessment. Market-based techniques provide a tool for producing these assessments."

Click on the PAM site while it still exists. A graphic showing North Korea using nuclear weapons -- (a bit far afield from the Middle East, eh what?) -- has already been deleted in the face of protest.

Best to all,

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