Adam Smith meet Invisible Hook

This is from Princeton University Press. It is Dr. Peter Leeson, who I had for Austrian Economics and will have for graduate school, talking about the current situation of pirating. His new book “The Invisible Hook” comes out soon and many, like myself, have pre-ordered it:

“Lately it seems that barely a week passes without headlines of Somali pirates’ latest depredations and yet another, bigger, and more daring pirate attack. In November one crew captured a Saudi supertanker, the Sirius Star, along with the 25 crewmembers and $100 million in crude it was carrying—a prize big enough to make Blackbeard blush. Last week the pirates ransomed their prize for $3 million, releasing the ship and crew.

Between January and October 2008, 63 pirate attacks were reported in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. Somali pirates hijacked 26 ships; fired on 21; and took nearly 540 sailors hostage. By contemporary standards, at least, these “pirate statistics” are remarkable.

But an equally impressive “pirate statistic” has gone virtually unnoticed: the number of seamen who survived their harrowing captivities by Somali sea dogs and lived to tell the tale. For example, all of the Sirius Star’s sailors were “in good health” when their pirate captors released them. And they’re not alone. According to data from the International Maritime Bureau, in stark contrast to the impressive number of assaults, only one sailor has lost his life at Somali pirate hands. This represents less than two-tenths of one percent of crewmembers taken hostage by Somali pirates between January and October and an even smaller percentage of the total number of sailors these pirates have attempted to capture.”

This shows that economics can be both fun and intellectually stimulating. Dr. Leeson takes something that most kids are in love with and applies economics to it. Every man is always using economic calculation to better themselves. In this case it is the Somalian pirates, so enjoy.

His book, as I understand, will actually focus on the golden age of pirating most people think about before recent events. He is going to take about the structure of how pirates organized themselves without government to ensure that they are not abused and still be able to have the Captain give orders, somewhat like a Constitution.

The rest is here.


Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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