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The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates

ISBN: 9780691150093 | 0691150095
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 7/5/2011

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Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss--it's time to go a-pirating!The Invisible Hooktakes 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 Hookuses 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 Hooklooks 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 Hookestablishes pirates' trailblazing relevance to the contemporary world.

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