The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates
Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss--it's time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates' notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & Bones? Why did they create a "pirate code"? Were pirates really ferocious madmen? And what made them so successful? The Invisible Hook uses economics to examine these and other infamous aspects of piracy. Leeson argues that the pirate customs we know and love resulted from pirates responding rationally to prevailing economic conditions in the pursuit of profits.
The Invisible Hook looks at legendary pirate captains like Blackbeard, Black Bart Roberts, and Calico Jack Rackam, and shows how pirates' search for plunder led them to pioneer remarkable and forward-thinking practices. Pirates understood the advantages of constitutional democracy--a model they adopted more than fifty years before the United States did so. Pirates also initiated an early system of workers' compensation, regulated drinking and smoking, and in some cases practiced racial tolerance and equality. Leeson contends that pirates exemplified the virtues of vice--their self-seeking interests generated socially desirable effects and their greedy criminality secured social order. Pirates proved that anarchy could be organized.
Revealing the democratic and economic forces propelling history's most colorful criminals, The Invisible Hook establishes pirates' trailblazing relevance to the contemporary world.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - thcson - LibraryThing
The author makes much of the fact that pirates ran quasi-democratic organizations on their ships a hundred years before the Federalist Papers were written. This is not nearly as remarkable as he makes ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - rivkat - LibraryThing
If this book were half as good as the title, it would be awesome. Sadly, it’s extremely repetitive and uses really crude rational actor economics. There’s still some fun stuff about how pirates ... Read full review
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5 Walk the Plank The Economics of Pirate Torture
6 Pressing Pegleg The Economics of Pirate Conscription
7 Equal Pay for Equal Prey The Economics of Pirate Tolerance
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