Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Invisible Hook

Peter Leeson, author of The Invisible Hook, blogging over at The Austrian Economists lets us in on his article for the the Princeton University Press discussing the effect of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" in the actions of Pirates.

An important part of 18th-century sea dogs’ “pirate code,” for instance, was to show mercy to compliant prisoners. As an 18th-century pirate explained to one of his crew’s prisoners, they “observe strictly that Maxim established amongst them not to permit any ill usage to their Prisoners after Quarter given.”

Some Somali pirates have also taken to enshrining this profit-preserving policy in writing. For example, French authorities found a “pirate manual” amidst the crew they captured earlier this year, which the pirates used to regulate prisoner treatment. Like their forefathers, Somali pirates also recognize that it’s in their self-interest to respect their captives’ lives. They can make more money by restraining violence toward victims than unleashing it on them.

It's a good read, and Leeson's work in general, while an abstract approach to the analysis of free market economics, is nonetheless a realistic study.

Plus it's about pirates. And pirates rule.


No comments:

Post a Comment