Peter T. Leeson
Published online: 23 June 2010
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010
Abstract In my recent book, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates
(Princeton University Press, 2009), I use basic economic theory to analyze late
seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century pirates. Bylund, Carden, North, and Storr
raise important questions about, and offer important challenges to, some of the
particular ways in which I do so. I offer a few reactions to each of their papers.
JEL codes K42
I am very grateful to Per Bylund, Art Carden, Charles North, and Virgil Storr for
their thought-provoking papers discussing my recent book, The Invisible Hook: The
Hidden Economics of Pirates (Princeton University Press, 2009). I am especially
grateful to Carden who arranged for this symposium and the papers that comprise it
to be presented in a session at the Southern Economic Association.
My goal in The Invisible Hook was to apply rational choice theory to pirates and,
in doing so, to shed light on their unusual, entertaining, and sometimes shocking
practices. I would like to interpret the fact that all the papers in this symposium
discuss pirates as rational decision makers as a sign of success. None of the
contributors object to my basic, overarching argument: pirates were economic actors.
Of course, all of them are economists. So this may not be saying much.
My goal in this article is to offer a few reactions to each of the contributors'
papers on my book. These papers accept that we can and should analyze pirates
using economic theory. But they raise important questions about, and offer important
Rev Austrian Econ (2010) 23:315–319
P. T. Leeson (*)
Department of Economics, George Mason University, MSN 3G4, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA