Dan Weijers
University of Waikato
Predicting terrorist attacks with prediction markets has been accused of being immoral. While some of these concerns are about the likely effectiveness of prediction markets on terrorism (PMsoT), this paper discusses the three main reasons why even effective prediction markets on terrorism might be considered immoral. We argue that these three reasons establish only that PMsoT cause offense and/or fleeting mild harm, and that, even taken together, they do not constitute serious harm. The moral issues considered are that PMsoT: 1) create character-affecting perverse incentives, 2) desensitise society to tragic events, and 3) disrespect important ideals. In addition to arguing against the force of these three potential moral problems, it is also argued that societies and governments already endorse intelligence-gathering methods that are clearly more immoral than PMsoT in the relevant respects. We also argue that some circumstances require governments to cause non-serious harm to some people in order to protect and promote the rights and welfare of its citizens. We conclude that a government’s obligation to protect and promote the rights and welfare of its citizens outweighs the non-serious harm that could be caused by effective PMsoT. As a result, we recommend that the likelihood of PMsoT being effective is investigated more closely.
Keywords prediction markets  terrorism  ethics  prediction markets on terrorism  Policy Analysis Market
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