“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” That rhetorical gem, credited to various scientists and political leaders, shows up on mouse pads and posters and wherever else suitable inspiration is found wanting. It is also a remarkably accurate mission statement for two professions: financial investors and spies. In both occupations, a person is rewarded for either (1) collecting and processing enough available information to predict future events or (2) creating a set of preconditions that will make future events all but certain.
Any financial analyst who foresaw the likelihood of a global pandemic before the outbreak of COVID-19 could have made a fortune investing in the right pharmaceutical companies. Likewise, regardless of Pfizer’s motivations for doing so, its funding of numerous nonprofit organizations that actively pushed for COVID-19 vaccine mandates also benefited its bottom line. You could say that both market mavens and intelligence operatives invest heavily in creating a desired reality that will yield dividends. By successfully creating the future, prophets can turn profits.
It should be no surprise, then, that intelligence gathering and information warfare are just as prevalent in the corporate sphere as in the covert one. Nothing benefits investors more lucratively than the acquisition and use of market knowledge before anyone else, as can reportedly be seen from the investments of the family of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, as well as others in government (here, here and here).
In the worlds of financing and espionage, the game is the same: stay ahead of competitors. What this means in practice is netting as much information about adversaries and allies as possible. In order to decide whether to double-down on an investment or run for cover, an analyst is interested in the likelihood of a company’s technological success, the risk of other investors swooping in and staking a claim, the potential for competing companies to introduce similar products, and the probability that regulatory authorities might act in ways that affect the company’s future profitability. You have to keep an eye on your company, its competitors, your rivals, and any number of government agencies. The complexity of such an arrangement is why private intelligence services are regularly used to monitor all these variables, collect information, analyze risks, and propose solutions.