The great thing about opinion polls in a democracy is that they tell you both who should become, for example, President of the United States, and who likely will become President. "Is" and "ought" are conveniently aligned when the majority rules. The IMF is not a democracy, and the majority of the world's population has historically had no real say in choosing the Managing Director; since 1946 all ten IMF chiefs have hailed from Europe.
Since we don't get to vote, how can we predict who will replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn? Prediction markets offer one solution. Markets in general are notoriously amoral. Prediction markets (really just betting markets) are no different: they aggregate all our best guesses about what will actually happen, no matter how unfair it may be. In theory, money motivates people to bet their heads and not their hearts.
The market below uses only play money, but the principle is the same. Simply click below to make your best predictions, courtesy of Inkling Markets. And if you're eager to put some real money on the line, check out these markets at Intrade.com.
Finally, for the idealists out there…. My CGD colleagues will soon launch a survey about the nicer, friendlier question of who should replace DSK. I encourage you to participate in both the betting and the survey. The purpose of this market is cold-blooded realpolitik. So for now set your idealism aside and offer your best prediction of what you think WILL happen. In the coming days we'll update this blog with a comparison of the results between the amoral market and a more democratic poll.
(Click on any picture to place your bet. You can bet on as many candidates as you wish.)