The upcoming book “The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates” by George Mason economist Peter Leeson is either a superb example of economic history or an open invitation to propagate pirate jokes about economics and political philosophy across the internets. I choose the latter.
For erudite discussion of the social contracts of pirates compared to those described by Locke, Hobbes, etc., check out this excellent post on the Freakanomics blog. A taste:
Rogue societies’ criminality puts social harmony at a premium. Since any disgruntled member of a criminal society could turn on his comrades and inform authorities of their skullduggery, leading to their capture and punishment, it’s critical to make sure everyone is happy. This means ensuring everyone is pleased to live under society’s rules and is satisfied with the people who administer those rules. A social contract, which secures citizens’ unanimous agreement to political rules at the outset and enshrines this agreement in writing, helps to secure such harmony.
For pirate jokes, stay here and post in the comments.