Saturday, April 09, 2005

where's bozzo when you need him?

In reading all these various obituarial assessments of the contributions of the Pope, I have been waiting for somebody with an economic turn of mind to step forward and say that what we really need to be doing is evaluating the Pope's legacy by reference to whomever out there would be the second-best candidate that the selecting conclave could have hired to be pope way back when. (For terminological convenience, we might have referred to the counterfactual pope as JPII-prime to distinguish him from the actual JPII.) I'm surprised Bozzo hasn't raised the issue given that he's advocated this kind of analysis before in a seemingly highly similar context*, not to mention his being Italian.

For fans of markets, Tradesports has indeed a futures market for wagering on the next Pope. You can bet both on particular candidates (current favorite: Tettamanzi at 22.5) and country (current favorite: Italy at 43.7), which if there was more volume would probably open up weird arbitrage opportunities given the number of countries with only one possible pope. Given the online lists of the composition of the conclave, I'm still bullish in my hopes for a pope from somewhere in the developing world (Arinze [Nigeria] is trading at 15, Maradiaga [Honduras] at 11.5, and Hummes [Brazil] at 11). I thought about betting against an Italian successor given that it seems overpriced to me, but I can't figure out if the majority of people who would be betting in a Papal Futures Market are (1) people who are hardcore Vatican watchers, in which case I don't want to presume the info necessary to bet against them, or (2) the sort of people who will bet on anything, in which case why not.

* I will leave it to readers to judge which person has had more worldwide influence and worshipful reverence over the past two decades, Alan Greenspan or Pope John Paul II.


Ann Althouse said...

I can't help you with the economics, Jeremy, but I will make a grammar contribution. Never misuse "whomever." You can misuse "whoever" all you want, because it just seems casual, but misusing "whomever" is going to have all sorts of bad repercussions.

jeremy said...

Oops, you're right. Interestingly, I just had a conversation with a grad student about whoever vs. whomever. I wonder what it says about me that I err by sometimes using whomever when I should be using whoever. Nothing flattering, I'm sure.

Ken Houghton said...

Worldwide influence: J2P2's policies have resulted in rampant AIDS in Africa, disowning of "liberation theology" than condemns millions of South Americans to a life of poverty for the foreseeable future, failure to take up the mantle of Parkinson's sufferers to make the disease better understood, and a closing slap in the face of Americans (Law) that will probably increase the tendency to cut donations.

Contrast with Karl Wojtyla, whose work undermining the Communist leadership in Poland and personal history cannot be underestimated.

Alan Greenspan talks a better game than he pitches, and has his adultation fairly limited to Americans. (Think David Wells and Larry Kudlow in one person.)

I'm voting for the late Pope, who really was all things to all people, instead of just playing the role on C-SPAN.