Wednesday, July 30, 2003

DSL comes, I go

Well, my DSL is installed and working, which is great, but I'm leaving for Miami, SLC, Maine, and New York. This has been a very light blogging summer :(.

This Slate piece predictably gets its analysis of the Pentagon's (now defunct) plan to create an exchange for terrorism predictions wrong but highlights man's inherent distrust of markets. I think the best line is
It's far easier to get inside the head of Sandy Weill (he wants to acquire more banks) than it is to plumb the Machiavellian depths of Yasser Arafat's mind. How can we expect rational people to make sound bets on minds that may be unsound?
The thing is we're doing that already except we're using experts sifting through files, not people placing bets. Suroweiki had a great piece on this in the New Yorker a while back (which I can no longer find) pointing out that making predictions through these sorts of markets is far more accurate than centralizing the process. Jane Galt worries about incentives, but assuming only a few hundred (thousand?) people trade on the system, and they are registered, it seems a risky way to cash in.

The plan's been shelved, btw, but I know private markets for bets exist, and I would guess that you can bet on terrorist events there. The Pentagon will probably partner with one of them.

Update Winterspeak readers EK and DR wrote in pointing to the old Sureweiki piece on decision markets. Thank you so much!

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