What's the Market Test for Ufology?
Hypothetical Inernet-Type Speculation:
Since July 23, 2008 crude oil prices have declined roughly 20%. Also on July 23, former Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell told (more emphatically than I’ve heard him tell before) a UK radio program interviewer that UFOs and aliens are without a doubt real. Clearly, the powers that be have decided that Dr. Mitchell’s statements represent too great a risk to worldwide acceptance and are liquidating and/or hedging their energy positions, concerned that a disclosure event may be imminent. Knowing the effects that a disclosure type event would have on global oil markets they’ve decided to minimize their personal financial risks by reducing their exposure to the oil economy. It is no coincidence that Australian psychic Blossom Goodchild is currently predicting that disclosure event will occur on October 14? The severity of the recent financial market turmoil is really no surprise when considering the short time until this event comes to pass.
Obviously (hopefully), I don’t believe that Dr. Mitchell’s statements on Kerrang radio brought about a sea-change of opinion among the world’s financiers that has brought down oil prices. Lots of other things have happened over the last several months that would be bearish for energy prices, not the least of which is a decline in U.S. petroleum demand, strength in the U.S. Dollar, and an improving supply outlook. I do believe, however, the idea that there would be economic effects in reaction to a disclosure event. An organization that knew about the event (UFOs landing on the White House lawn or replacing a crappy Super Bowl halftime show) could position itself to benefit financially from the effects the event would be perceived to have. In the situation presented above, the evil money men sold their energy holdings in order to take advantage of the crash in oil prices once aliens made themselves known. This is the most common economic ramification I hear about in relation to some sort of alien disclosure.
But is such a scenario so far fetched? You’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t think that the confirmation of intelligently controlled craft from outside of earth (or from within the Earth or its oceans, or another dimension) would be one of the most significant events in human history. Most significant events in human history have had economic effects. You can debate what the events and their related effects are, but you can bet they are there, and someone has profited from them, even if only inadvertently. Much of the argument that UFOs pose a national security threat and governments can therefore withhold official information on the phenomenon is that the threat is an economic threat, and could very well upend of the established economic order. Whether the actual effects turn out to be for better or for worse is hard to say for sure, but those that align themselves with the current order probably want to maintain the status quo.
Thankfully, in a world with markets, especially reasonably liquid markets, there is always someone willing to take a position against the status quo, if not with a product then with a financial instrument. It is those people that would benefit from an upending of the status quo. In the hypothetical situation above, the black-hatted, evil powers that be were afraid of oil prices falling, so they reduced their oil exposure to minimize the adverse personal financial impact. If someone wanted to profit from the event if it played out like above, they would only have to pick an instrument that appreciates when oil falls. Among the choices for this are selling futures, buying puts, shorting and oil-company’s stock or an exchange traded energy fund. Then just make sure the event happens. That’s the tricky part, or at least half the tricky part. If your willing to believe that the government, the military, or some group of Cheney-ists are hiding the truth, then you must believe that there is a truth that can be hidden. And if the truth can be hidden, it can be found. It must be available somehow if the ‘bad’ guys know it. The other half of the trickyness isn’t in finding the information, but rather financing the method of finding the information, because it may not be cheap.
Far too often Ufology seems to focus on the ‘manipulators’ who they believe are covering up the truth because they are the ones with the most to lose in a post-disclosure world. There seems to be this intense desire to want to fight some vague, oppressive enemy. Perhaps it would be more productive to figure out which parties would stand to benefit from a post-disclosure scenario, and focus attention on them. I know I would rather spend time trying to engage someone in a cordial dialog than to just swing blindly at the oppressor-piñata. Its just takes less energy. And if you’ve spent any time looking at ufology, you know that this is a marathon, and in a marathon conserving energy is important.
Going with the oil-market scenario above, maybe it goes something like this. You’re talking to your wealthy commodity-trader friend named Rich. You point out to Rich that if these UFOs are actually physical craft, powered by some exotic technology, proving that they exist could have significant implications on the demand for gasoline. If not because we might be able to use the alien hyper-drive technology, then because everyone sits on their ass in front of a tv (not driving or buying anything other than food) for the next week watching the media free-for-all that would occur if there was a disclosure event.
So, maybe you’ve put a seed in Rich’s head and it grows over the next several years. Because there is a chance for profit, Rich starts paying attention. Rich pays enough attention to see that the media’s treatment of the phenomenon (and a lot of other stuff) is incompetent. He sees that the military does sometimes seem to be stonewalling. He sees that there are some completely reasonable people involved in the field. Eventually someone is looking for funding for a research project called “Project Breakthrough” that will lead to the breakthrough that everyone’s looking for. Rich decides to throw a bunch of bucks toward Project Breakthrough, in exchange for knowing the results before they are made public. When he gets the results, he shorts the hell out of crude futures and makes a mint, buys an island in the south Pacific, and spends his days sipping margaritas with publishing magnate Stuart Miller and movie mogul Paul Kimball.
Ufology can and should debate the potential specific effects of a disclosure event, and then figure out the segment of the population that can benefit from those effects. Its should be a lot easier to get people to pay attention if they believe it can help them in the wallet. The oil-market scenario may be reasonable or not; there are a load of assumptions that must turn out to be true for there to be a long-term effect on the commodity markets. For most people, however, its just not apparent how common knowledge of the existence of UFOs would make a difference in their day-to-day lives. For a few people it could make a big, positive difference. Maybe ufology should focus its efforts on the latter group of people, and stop focusing on the groups of people who don’t care or have only fought against study into the phenomenon (government, skeptics, mainstream media). In the end it should require a lot less energy and may lead to better results.