there’s no evidence, [Leeson] says, that the forefathers of British and American democracy took any of their cues from pirate ships. “The Federalists never refer back to pirates,” he says. “I’ve looked.” [link]
he’s done enough research to write a book about it; The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.
- crews elected a captain before each voyage, everyone could vote, and a quartermaster was also elected to make sure the captain didn’t have too much power (checks and balances)
- pirate ships may have been more democratic than merchant ships, which were run like mini-tyrannies
- pirate ships had some forms of social insurance (disability insurance, specifically)
- a written charter outlined ship rules
- notably: pirates usually set limits on drinking. “A drunken pirate crew,” he points out, “would be less effective than a sober crew.”
Dread Pirate St4rbux would insist on at least as much for his crew. Yarrgh!
[tip to marginal revolution]
[update: ms. st4rbux read the title of the post and thought I was ready to become a Bookaneer. seriously, I see Sesame Street twice in the past month, and both times it’s this bit by Tina Fey (brought to you by the letter F and the number 8):]