Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss--it's time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes 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 Hook uses 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 Hook looks 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 Hook establishes pirates' trailblazing relevance to the contemporary world.
When we think of pirates, we imagine rum, eye-patches, walking the plank, and the Jolly Roger, not workers compensation, democracy, supply and demand, and marketing. But in economist Peter T. Leeson's brilliant book, THE INVISIBLE HOOK, he uses economic principles to understand the frequently pioneering tactics and inventions of the 17th and 18th-century scourge of the seven seas. Driven by pure greed, pirates like Black Bart Roberts and Calico Jack Rackham inadvertently helped develop social systems of surprising equality, tolerance, and democratic ethics. THE INVISIBLE HOOK is a treasure trove of information about the surprising history of pirating, the secret powers of economics, and about how the legacy of the buccaneers lives on in the modern world.
- Business + Money Management, History
- Economic History, Modern / 18th Century
- July 25, 2011
- July 5, 2011
- Peter T. Leeson