James Surowiecki's latest article in The New Yorker, "The Pirate's Code," draws heavily on the work of co-blogger Pete Leeson. From the article:
Leeson is fascinated by pirates because they flourished outside the state—and, therefore, outside the law. They could not count on higher authorities to insure that people would live up to promises or obey rules. Unlike the Mafia, pirates were not bound by ethnic or family ties; crews were as remarkably diverse as in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Nor were they held together primarily by violence; while pirates did conscript some crew members, many volunteered. More strikingly, pirate ships were governed by what amounted to simple constitutions that, in greater or lesser detail, laid out the rights and duties of crewmen, rules for the handling of disputes, and incentive and insurance payments to insure that crewmen would act bravely in battle...The Pirates’ Code mentioned in the “Caribbean” series was not, in that sense, a myth, although in effect each ship had its own code.
Congratulations to our very own salty sea dog, Captain Leeson.