Book Review: The Invisible Hook

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


In The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates, Peter Leeson provides an economic; interpretation of early eighteenth—and, to a lesser extent, late seventeenth—century piracy. He explores the governance of pirate societies and how pirates functioned under such governance towards their primary end: booty!…net of costs (of course). Relying on primary and secondary historical sources, Leeson distills the facts of pirate life from legend and popular perception, both ours and those of pirates’ contemporaries. Pirate ships (and fleets of ships) emerge as profit-maximizing, floating firms. These firms were governed by remarkable constitutions entered into unanimously by pirate crews. From the Jolly Roger to the when’s, how’s, and to whom’s of ‘‘keelhauling,’’ The Invisible Hook takes the an-arrgh-chy (Leeson’s term) of ‘‘shiver my timbers’’ piracy and renders it an intelligible, purposeful order.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSouthern Economic Journal
StatePublished - Jan 2010


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