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Are Pirates the Key to Understanding the World?

We can learn a lot about the evolution of democracy by studying pirates in history, says George Mason University economist Peter T. Leeson.

As early as the 1670’s, pirates were experimenting with elected leadership, worker’s compensation and checks on executive power, the Boston Globe reports in this preview of Leeson’s forthcoming book The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.

On the other hand, high-seas piracy can also be the key to understanding 21st century terrorism, according to Douglas R. Burgess Jr.

Leeson previously wrote about the profit-maximizing strategies of pirates in his paper “Pirational Choice: The Economics of Infamous Pirate Practices.”

Dubner blogged about the economics of piracy here.

Pirates: Is there anything they can’t teach us?