July 31, 2003 | WISC.comA project to create a financial market in geopolitical turmoil has already been scrapped only days after details were unveiled to the public. A division of the Pentagon, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had plans to create a futures trading market for speculative trading on events in the Middle East. The plan was disclosed Monday by outraged Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and was scrapped by Tuesday. Why all the fuss? The futures contracts that were envisioned would have allowed traders to buy financial instruments predicting the likelihood of certain events. For example, a trader could purchase a contract based on the probability of Yasser Arafat being assassinated in the 3rd quarter of 2003. The unfortunate side effect is that you could purchase such a contract, assassinate Mr. Arafat and then get paid by the financial markets for your criminal actions. The model was a futures trading program developed by the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA to predict presidential election results. The television station is based in Madison, Wis.
Contact: Robert Forsythe