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The Invisible Hook

Peter T. Leeson
Wydawca: Princeton University Press
Rok wydania: 2011
Stron: 288
ISBN: 9780691150093


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. A brisk, clever new book, The Invisible Hook, by Peter T. Leeson, an economist who claims to have owned a pirate skull ring as a child and to have had supply-and-demand curves tattooed on his right biceps when he was seventeen, offers a different approach. Rather than directly challenging pirates` leftist credentials, Leeson says that their apparent espousal of liberty, equality, and fraternity derived not from idealism but from a desire for profit. -- Caleb Crain New Yorker [S]urprising and engaging ... [Leeson`s] seminars must be wildly popular. -- Stephen Sedley London Review of Books Economist Leeson leads readers though a surprisingly entertaining crash course in economics in this study of high seas piracy at the turn of the 18th century... Illustrated with salty tales of pirates both famous and infamous, the book rarely bogs down even when explaining intricate economic concepts, making it a great introduction to both pirate history and economic theory. Publishers Weekly Mr. Leeson`s book represents a serious attempt to use the tools of economics to make sense of the institutions of piracy. The book is another example of economic imperialism, the use of economics to make sense of real world phenomena that are outside the standard realm of economic science. It addresses an important force that did, and does, impact world trade. But as the skull and crossbones on its spine suggests, the book is also just fun... [T]he book manages to be entertaining and informative. It is a fun read and provides parents with something to teach their children while looking for pirate treasure left long ago at the beach. -- Edward Glaeser Economix blog The Invisible Hook is an excellent book by one of the most creative young economists around. -- Steven D. Levitt Freakonomics blog Peter T. Leeson has done his part to dispel the pirate myths by using economic theory to explain pirate behavior and organization in his exemplary new book... Mr. Leeson has produced a fresh perspective on an old topic... The Invisible Hook is quick-paced but thought-provoking. Based on this work, the reader should look forward to more books by the author. -- Claude Berube Washington Times Piracy has not been Leeson`s only obsession. The other has been economics. When he was 17 years old he had supply and demand curves tattooed on his right bicep ... now the professor has brought his two enthusiasms together in a wonderful (and wonderfully titled) new book. The Invisible Hook is his study of the hidden economics of piracy. -- Daniel Finkelstein Times Jauntily characterising the typical pirate ship as akin to `a Fortune 500 company`, [Leeson] reorients pirates as precursors of Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics. -- Ludovic Hunter-Tilney Financial Times One of the finest introductory courses in economics since Henry Hazlitt`s Economics in One Lesson... The Invisible Hook is a good addition to the genre of popular economics: a fun and enlightening read, and rock solid in its scholarly bona fides. -- Michael Shermer Nature From countless films and books we all know that, historically, pirates were criminally insane, traitorous thieves, torturers and terrorists. Anarchy was the rule, and the rule of law was nonexistent. Not so, dissents George Mason University economist Peter Leeson in his myth-busting book, The Invisible Hook, which shows how the unseen hand of economic exchange produces social cohesion even among pirates. -- Michael Shermer Scientific American Given the flurry of piracy off the Somali coast in 2009, this relatively short narrative could not be timelier. The Invisible Hook, a play on Adam Smith`s famous `invisible hand,` is an engaging, informative look at the economics of piracy and pirates. Choice Peter Leeson, an economics professor at George Mason University, offers a fascinating perspective into the world of Blackbeard, `Black Bart` Roberts and `Calico Jack` Rackham in his highly readable book The Invisible Hook. -- J. Peter Pham San Francisco Chronicle An engaging and thorough portrait of high seas banditry that goes beyond the pop-culture stereotypes to argue that though often brutal and always mercenary, pirates were ahead of their time when it came to matters of economic fairness and progressive labor practices. -- Kevin Canfield Mother Jones [I]n The Invisible Hook, Peter Leeson deftly explodes piratical myths ... [The Invisible Hook] offers many colourful, meticulously researched insights into the behaviour of some of history`s most colourful anti-heroes, and it will appeal to anyone with even passing interests in history, politics, sociology and/or economics. -- Michelle Baddeley Times Higher Education Leeson says history cannot explain all piratical paradoxes. Only economics can disentangle the different strands. -- Leon Gettler The Age Leeson hangs the meat of his pirate tale on a sturdy skeleton of economics... The Invisible Hook is a delightful read, thanks to Leeson`s engaging writing. He reduces a veritable mountain of facts and history into an entertainingly educational experience. -- Lewis Perdue Barron`s This engaging account is fun to read and full of humor, qualities not often associated with an explanation of economic theory... This reviewer speculates that if more economic texts were written like this one, there would be a glut of economics majors to compensate for the shortage of pirates roaming the Atlantic. -- Karl Helicher Foreword Magazine Peter T. Leeson digs into the dollars and cents of piracy. He urges us to see pirates as economic actors, their behavior shaped by incentives, just like the rest of us. Once you`re in an economic state of mind, you can begin to understand actions such as lighting one`s beard on fire, voting, being decent to black people, and torturing captives `for fun`--all equally nutty behaviors to the average 18th--century observer. When Leeson is done guiding you through the pirate world, life on a rogue ship starts to look less like a Carnival cruise with cutlasses and cannons and more like an ongoing condo association meeting at sea. -- Katherine Mangu-Ward Reason Cleverly written and witty... [Casts] a penetrating glance at the social and political motives of these odd outlaw communities. -- Daniele Archibugi Open Democracy Delightful... Examines

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