Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Piracy and Anarchy

For deep thinkers, the blog Cato Unbound has some thoughts on anarchy with some unexpected points. Self-government sometimes produces better results than a formal government. Piracy is given as an example.
One of the most striking examples of this comes from 17th and 18th-century pirates.[9] In many ways pirate ships were like floating societies.[10] And, like other societies, pirate ships confronted problems of theft of cheating. Since they were outlaws, pirates did not enjoy state protection. Government did not enforce employment agreements between pirates or other piratical “contracts,” nor did it prevent or punish theft between pirates, etc.
Read the whole thing.

It's all well and good to point out how pirates fashioned an ordered existence out of a lawless life, but... well, they were pirates. I don't remember seeing any first-hand accounts where the people being robbed were willing to excuse the pirates because of how much better their society worked.

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