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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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14

Preemption, Premediation, Prediction

The Politics of Betting on the Future

Greg Elmer and Andy Opel

ABSTRACT

In this chapter, Greg Elmer and Andy Opel discuss the preoccupation with the future, and the aim to forecast and control it in advance, through an analysis of the predictive, preemptive logic of “futures markets.” While futures markets are typically associated with speculation about future economic value, their predictive logic has also been applied in attempts to determine particular kinds of social and political outcomes, most famously in the attempt to create “terrorism futures markets” in the United States. The authors examine the forms of subjectivation that animate futures markets – the means by which certain individuals are accredited to participate in and thereby legitimize futures market metrics. In light of the global financial meltdown of 2008, they consider whether futures markets and their accompanying forms of subjectivation are systematically undermining democratic institutions, systems, and processes worldwide. Elmer and Opel's chapter offers an innovative and compelling approach to understanding media temporality, the financial logic permeating politics, and the reorientation of subjective action around futures and speculation.

Bets are essentially predictions.

(Abramowicz, 2007b)

If this is such a good idea, why haven't the markets created it on their own?

(Stiglitz, 2003)

Media are awash with stories about the future, temporal loops, and time-bending ...

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