Tag Archives: free market

yo ho ho, a pirate’s life for me

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.

crib notes:

  • 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):]

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what do you think?

“There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed. Fairness doesn’t just happen. It requires the right government policies.”

Anyone? [Virtual] Bueller? Bueller?

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