In the end, what is the core driver of each pirate? The argument could be made that it is economics. While much of the discussion about piracy has been in the fields of lawfare, tactics, diplomacy, and a bit of the, whatchacallit, The Global War on Overseas Contingency Operations Infinitely Enduring Freedom’s Justice – or sump’n. Perhaps the Dismal Science has something to add to our knowledge base on piracy. Let’s go to the bookshelf. This sounds like an interesting – and timely book, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates

.

Economist Leeson leads readers though a surprisingly entertaining crash course in economics in this study of high seas piracy at the turn of the 18th century. Far from being the bloodthirsty fiends portrayed in popular culture, pirates created a harmonious social order; through the application of rational choice theory, the author explains how a common pursuit of individual self-interest led pirates to create self-regulating, democratic societies aboard their ships, complete with checks and balances, more than half a century before the American and French revolutions brought such models to state-level governance. Understanding the profit motive that guided pirates’ actions reveals why pirates so cruelly tortured the crews of ships that resisted boarding, yet treated those who surrendered readily with the utmost respect. Both practices worked to minimize costs to the pirate crew by discouraging resistance that could lead to loss of life and limb for pirates and damage to either the pirates’ ship or the cargo aboard. Illustrated with salty tales of pirates both famous and infamous, the book rarely bogs down even when explaining intricate economic concepts, making it a great introduction to both pirate history and economic theory.

History, economics, pirates – tell me Eagle1, what is there not to like? For those trying to understand piracy today, this may be a good book to add to your list. Any ship in the 5th Flt AOR should have this in the Wardroom; awww heck, make that any AOR. If you want, via NRO’s “Between the Covers” you can hear John J. Miller interview the author here. Crossposted (and of course, anyone who is looking for a new book should browse USNIBooks collection first).




Posted by CDRSalamander in Books
Tags:

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Ray Kilmer

    The author obviously does not understand the terms economic, rational nor how a rational person thinks and acts. Aristotle stated almost 2,400 years ago that reason is man’s greatest tool. Aristotle also stated that reason’s greatest tool is logic. And logic is defined as the integration of knowledge without contradiction. The pirates, like so many other people today, are not rational nor logical, instead they are compartemenatlizing pragmitist. The pirates do not take actions driven by rational self-interest, but instead take actions that show no rational, logical, self-interested long-term thought.

    The pirates, along with others, fail to recognize that they do not have the right to the productive work of other people as this enslaves those people. The pirates also do not recognize that the enemy they are creating will most likely retaliate against them and possibly arrest or kill them, prison and death is not in an individual’s self-interest.

    Once again, someone has misunderstood what self-interest is and what type of rational, logical and long-term thought it demands. Along with that, the author does not undestand economics as it is producers that create and drive the economoy and thieves that destroy that which was created and also destroy an economy.

  • sid

    The pirates do not take actions driven by rational self-interest, but instead take actions that show no rational, logical, self-interested long-term thought.

    You are being laughably contradictory Ray. The Somali pirates epitomize your ideal of “rational self-interest.”

    Lets run through a little checklist of what you -Ray- say is the “proper” reality of man…

    “There are only two choices in life, selfish or selfless.”

    Check. A generation of young men borne into a feral society where everyone is self-interested, has made the logical choice of preying on thos other self-interested entities that that conv3ey wealth off their shores.

    Let us consider that it is only one’s own life that can be controlled through one’s own choices in the pursuit of one’s own happiness.

    Check. Go out and snag a ship. The owners airdrop the ransom. Divi it up. Build the big house on the beach. Cruise around in the new Toyota 4x$. Score on the chicks.

    Pursuit Of Happiness Personified.

    Indeed Ray, the egalitarian, “whats in it for me”, mentality of a Pirate society vividly represents your rationally self interested ideal.

  • Ray KIlmer

    Sid,

    First off you do not even know what rational self-interest means let alone whether or not a person is the embodiment of it.

    An ethical system is a part of a larger philosophical system. And before one can properly answer does man need an ethical system that person has to know the nature of existence and man’s tie to it.

    For more than 2,ooo years philosophers have been in a dispute over whether existence comes first or whether consciousness comes first. Plato said consciousness came first and hence man creates reality in his mind. Aristotle disagreed with his teacher and stated existence exist and man’s consciousness identifies existence/reality. So, a rational philosophy starts with metaphysics/existence and man’s consciousness/epistemology comes after as it identifies reality, that which exist.

    Once a person recognizes that existence exist and that it is his consciousness that identifies reality, without contradictions hence Aritotle’s Law of non-contradiction, then he does not delude himself with fantasies or lies.

    So, first, a man is either rational or irrational not selfish or selfless. If a person acts in an irrational manner then he is not acing in a selfish manner as he is deluding or lying to himself which is never in one’s self-interest. To act in a selfish manner means that one first be tied to existence and not delude themselves with contradictory ideas about reality. A rational person does not lie and tell themselve that material objects are just floating around in reality and that they can have them without effort. A rational person does not tell themselves that they have a right to their life, but that everyone they steal from does not.

    Also, in a rational philosophy politics (the last major part of a philosophy) stems from the preceding ethical system. One cannot have capitalism (the freedom to choose what actions one takes in a society) with an ethical system of selflessness which makes man a slave to all his neighbors. But, capitalism can rationally stem from an ethical system of rational selfishness as man must be free to make his own choices in the enhancement of his own life. Whether on an island by himself or in a society, man must be left free to make his own choices.

    So, maybe you should first learn what self-interest means, what it stems from and what stems from it before you make irrational and illogical statements about that which it seems you know nothing about.

    Finally, It is simple to prove your point incorrect, by pointing out that I attempt to always exemplify what rational self-interest is as I live it everyday. I live it without harming anyone, without stealing from anyone, without raping anyone, without backing out of my contracts, without cheating on my wife, and so much more. I challenge you to come to my office and ask anyone of my clients if I do not live up to the standards that I hold. I will be waiting.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    I feel like I should apologize to everyone here for posting this simply because of the comments it generated.

    To complete the pain, everyone can click here and here.

    I’m going to go get a drink.

  • sid

    An ethical system is a part of a larger philosophical system. And before one can properly answer does man need an ethical system that person has to know the nature of existence and man’s tie to it.

    Hmm. Theres that word “proper” again… Guess there is a sliding scale to reality after all. “Proper” is defined by just exactly whom Rick?

    Also Ray, this contradicts what you have already said:

    The term implicit means capable of being understood though unexpressed. The term ethos is defined as the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding principles of a person, group or institution.

    Now, you are saying that those Somalis should be able to somehow tap into the same ethical system you are plugged into? If its a matter of individual perception, how can that happen Ray?

    So, first, a man is either rational or irrational not selfish or selfless.

    Well now. Seems the Somali pirates are well on their way to achieving your “Proper Reality”

    First of all, that undermines the claim that pirates were simply crazy, because when it was in their interest, they seemed to be able to behave perfectly rationally.[my emphasis] And the rational-choice framework can really allow us to resolve that piratical paradox, in that you can take one basic core assumption about human behavior and explain two things that seemingly are at odds with each other, as opposed to positing ad hoc pirate motives as we go from practice to practice.

    Yeah Ray. Your self-interested, “proper” world is a mighty bleak one.

  • Ray KIlmer

    CDRSalamander,

    I find that this video is more fitting to the type of character traits needed to win in the end not feel pain.

  • Ray KIlmer

    Sid,

    You have once again shown your inability to understand the subjects (philosophy, ethics and politics) under discussion and the simplest of terms. You seem to constantly take what is stated by another person and turn it into what you want it to be.

    Reality is the final arbiter as no one can lie to reality. “Contradictions do not exist in reality, except in man’s mind.” Aristotle

    I am living according to my stated ethical code and prospering while pursuing my own happiness in accordance to the nature of existence and man’s tie to existence. So, I challenge you once again to come and prove that the ideas do not work, by witnessing how it works in reality, not with irrational pirates, but with a rationally integrated man. Let me know when you are willing to face reality.

  • sid

    I am living according to my stated ethical code and prospering while pursuing my own happiness in accordance to the nature of existence and man’s tie to existence.

    Ray, this discussion has never been about you

    But I will say those pirates think exactly the same way you do. Young men, who have never known anything other than deprivation, are living according to their “stated ethical code”, while pursuing their own “happiness”.

    All the theory you have made us endure suggests that you are completely in agreement with how they are living their lives.

    Anyway, here is an great view of the issue (see the videos), primarily because of the access that no western news outlet can get.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    I only use the example of myself to prove that you are wrong when you state that living according to rational self-interest does not work. You fail to recognize that the facts of reality contradict your own statements, as I exist, I a not depraved nor do I define myself as selfless.

    So, now you are omniscient and know exactly what the pirates are thinking along with what I am thinking!? Although it seems that even in your state of omniscience you some how forgot the defintion of happiness, let me remind you oh powerful one. Happiness is that state of consciousness that comes from the achievement of one’s non-contradictory goals or values. Well, it does not seem that the pirartes really are achieving happiness as their goals are contradictory which means they are irrational and not rationally self-interested.

    On a slightly different thought I am amazed by the hatred of someone for simply stating that each individual human is here for his own happiness and should be left alone/free to pursue that which makes them happy as long as they do not harm anyone else.

    There is an adage that states, “Before someone can say I love you they must first know the I.” On that same train of thought, before someone can defend anyone else’s life they must first learn why their own is worthy of defending. It leaves me saddened to imagine a world where it seems no one has the courage to defend themselves as being worthy of the achievement of their own happiness, but it is okay for them to be a slave to everyone else’s whimsical desires of happiness.

  • sid

    I only use the example of myself to prove that you are wrong when you state that living according to rational self-interest does not work.

    Never said or intimated that your beliefs don’t work for you.

    Again, this is not about you. We are discussing Somali pirates that also exist, and from what you have voluminously provided, live right close to the precepts you ascribe to.

    I am amazed by the hatred of someone for simply stating that each individual human is here for his own happiness and should be left alone/free to pursue that which makes them happy as long as they do not harm anyone else.

    Again, according to Leeson’s work published in Scientific American and linked above, the pirates are naturally following your theory of rational self interest:

    First of all, that undermines the claim that pirates were simply crazy, because when it was in their interest, they seemed to be able to behave perfectly rationally….

    As for “not harming anybody”, well, according to one resident:

    “I don’t call them pirates – they are our marines. They are protecting our resources from those looting them… they are not criminals”

    If you felt victimized by the illegal fishing off your coast, then I would suspect you would feel the same way about “your Marines”.

    They are simply making choices according to the reality of their existence…And thats a good thing according to you Ray.

    What is happening in Somalia is as close to Randian as a society can get, and it has made it a bleak, hopeless place.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Once again, you are wrong as I have never stated that stealing is in one’s rational self-interest. Please point out where you have read me state that living by one’s self-interest calls for stealing, killing, raping or anything closely relating to that. It cannot be done because I have not stated it nor do I live that way.

    And seeing how you brought in Ayn Rand, please link to an Ayn Rand quote where she states that living a rationally self-interested life means killing and stealing from other people. Once again it cannot be done as she never stated anything closely related to what you mention. You once again have shown a total lack of understanding of the nature of man, and rational self-interest.

    But, it does seem that you think man’s nature is evil. It also seems that you have a hatred for the man that lives according to his own rationally defined ethical system and harms no one. Well, if man’s nature was evil as you seem to think, nothing could save him, not fear, not a god’s commandments, nothing. As a matter of fact, if man was evil by his nature that means that you, as you are a man, are just as evil as everyone that you condemn.

    Well, I on the other hand think that man is generally good and if left free he can do great things. He can build planes, define the universe, build skyscrapers, define genetic codes, and so much more. Evil men could do none of those things. Yes, there are evil men in the world, but man has volition and can choose his own path, he is not born evil. There is nothing in man’s genetic coding that sets him toward a predetermined evil status.

    So, who is the depraved one? The man that hates himself and thinks that by his very nature he cannot do good without the fear of condemnation from above. In other words, the man that only acts morally out of fear.

    Who is the good man? The man that thinks highly of his fellow man and that he and others are good and can do wonderful things. The man that pursues his happiness and just wants to live and enjoy life while recognizing that every other man has the same rights to do so.

  • sid

    Please point out where you have read me state that living by one’s self-interest calls for stealing, killing, raping or anything closely relating to that.

    What you have stated, over, and over, and over, again, is that a man’s morality is up to his own choice. And you explicitly said that as long as a man never deviates from his chosen morality, then he can even be “perfect”.

    That you’ve not chosen that course is immaterial, according to your logic.

    The man that thinks highly of his fellow man and that he and others are good and can do wonderful things.

    The problem is that the only philosophical view you will accept is your own. That fact is abundantly obvious in your comments. Each and every time, you hijack the conversation to a litany of ARI talking points.

    Indeed, this appears to be a deliberate strategy

    If Yaron Brook and ARI don’t exhaust themselves with speeches and appearances, in time Objectivism will come to dominate the political thinking. All the other groups are capable of compromise, whereas Objectivism is not. This stops the rationalizers and compromisers cold, and they have nothing to say, nothing to add, nothing to refute. You’ve heard especially Yaron on TV and on the radio expound the philosophy of individual rights and handily discard or rebut objections and reservations about the necessity of a consistent policy of individual rights, that is, a moral philosophy based on the nature of man, and not on religion or utilitarianism (capitalism and freedom promote the greatest good for the greatest number, etc.). He doesn’t give an inch. He doesn’t concede the fallacies of any of his opponents.

    I agree with you that many Americans are now emerging tentatively from what Jack Frake and Hugh Kenrick might have called their “Plato’s caves.” Some are blinking, others are shutting their eyes or sidling back into the caves. They don’t matter. And some are bravely moving ahead. But it is we, the new Sons of Liberty, who never inhabited those caves, who are the point men in this conflict. Objectivists are now running and contributing to dozens of “committees of correspondence” today.

    The intolerance above echoes that of Lenin and Hitler, and exposes your flowery proclamation of “no harm” as a lie. And I will oppose it wherever I see it Ray

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    at what point in time did the USNI blog become Sid’s Forum against Objectivism and Ayn Rand.

    Let’s get back on topic. Incidentally, the author of the book is
    Peter T. Leeson the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason. Sid, do you know who John Alison is and what his connection to BB&T and Objectivism is?

    I agree with Ray. Pirates are criminals and it is an error to equate them with businessman. Pirates steal the unearned from those individuals or groups who own the products. I also believe, having not read the book, but based on the reviews and this thread that the author commits and error by equating economics with politics. Sure, pirates have some form of order or as the author says ‘democracy’ but that is a form of government not an economy and it is most definetly not a form of government based on individual rights and the protection of those rights.

  • sid

    at what point in time did the USNI blog become Sid’s Forum against Objectivism and Ayn Rand.

    Since you, Ray,and your other brother Rick, decided to hijack the forum for your ARI rants…

    John Allison is an Objectivist…He also states:

    Obviously to the degree that objectivism has influenced my own philosophy and my own thinking, it will be embedded in the material that I introduce.

    But I am a very strong believer that students need to hear all different perspectives and make their own judgments.

    I think that for two reasons. I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to indoctrinate students on any sets of belief. And second, I don’t think it works. If people don’t arrive at their own conclusions based on their own thinking process, then they don’t have any commitment to whatever it is they think they are committed to.

    However, that has no bearing on Leeson’s work…Unless you, “A” are implying it is Objectivist stealth doctrine(?)

    But none of that really matters. He has published a work stating that Pirates act with a rational self interest, which directly refutes Ray’s contention otherwise, and contradicts your assertion that they are not in fact businessmen.

    Bottom line is this “A”. Your ideal economic and societal Randian state exists in Somalia. It is based on capitalism almost completely unfettered from any external influences, and the population is one that, for the most part, acts in a state of individual self interest.

    And that its not a pretty sight is a fact.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Ray;

    Just don’t bore us. So far, just the same old one note. Read Dale Carnagie or something. It will be in your rational self interest. I’m not convinced you’re winning friends and influencing people. At all.

    I mean you’re ernest and sincere and all that, but you’re just not closing the deal. Doesn’t ARI do sales meetings or something?

  • A. Johns

    Here is a paper written by the author in question. He also appears to believe that pirates are criminals.

    http://www.peterleeson.com/An-arrgh-chy.pdf

    “Pirates were clearly organized criminals and yet were not primarily in the business of providing services to anyone other than their members.”

    It is a mistake to equate pirates to businessman? In order to understand this mistake, how wealth is created must be properly understood. Pirates do not create wealth they take it away. The current state of Somalia is the result of altruistic tribalism not capitalism. The fact that a few courageous men are attempting to make a go at it is truly remarkable and should be applauded. In time and with enough support, those businessmen may indeed create a system in which individual rights are properly protected. At this time, those few businesses in Somalia are like our colonies trying to make a living in a country dominated by altruistic tribalism. I hope they succeed and if our country collapses from the legalized piracy that our government is engaged in, than I may join them.

  • sid

    I hope they succeed and if our country collapses from the legalized piracy that our government is engaged in, than I may join them.

    Go on ahead there “A”.

    BTW, your characteristic typo, “than” for “then”, betrays you, “other brother”…

    Sure, they are criminals. They a rational self interested criminals in the same vein as any others in organized crime.

    And, they preside over the most lucrative industry in Puntland.

    FACT.

    The current state of Somalia is the result of altruistic tribalism not capitalism.

    A completely unfounded claim. That Maas article is eight years old, and Mr. Maas actually conveyed some cautious optimism then. It has only turned more barren since. Capitalism allowed to run entirely unregulated -and devoid of a moral framework other than greed- quickly turns into a kleptocracy.

    Again, the evidence is appallingly clear to all who choose not to ignore it.

  • sid

    The current state of Somalia is the result of altruistic tribalism not capitalism

    While “clanism” is a factor isn Somalia this piece by Leeson clearly shows that “altruism” was far from being a problem

    As a matter of fact, it was a governement -consumed by self interest- that sank Somalia into a new Dark Age.

    If state predation goes unchecked government may not only fail to add to social welfare, but can actually reduce welfare below its
    level under statelessness.

  • sid

    And, as Somali piracy is based on economics more than ideology, then these are the folks that are needed to help fight it

    Wall Street pros are trained to analyze markets, identify investment opportunities and make deals — all for one purpose: to make money. Now the CIA is asking them, through radio ads, to consider putting that same experience to use for national security.

    Derail the money train….

  • A. Johns

    Two questions Sid,

    1) Why do you think businessmen are the same as pirates?

    2) Why is it the CIA’s business to know what businessmen are doing with their wealth?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Grampa Bluewater,

    My “note” is the same because human nature has not changed, man is a volitional animal. The laws that govern the universe do not change, although man strives to have a further understanding of them. In other words man is born with the capacity for volition. Each man chooses his own path through his perception of reality by using his own concsiousness/rational faculty as his guide. It seems some on this thread think that all men are bad, and as I have explained I do not consider myself evil, but I do consider the pirates evil.

    If you, or anyone for that matter, search history you will notice that people that put forth new ideas are generally disliked or hated. Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin and Ayn Rand are just a few examples of people that were hated by most when they first put forth their ideas. John Adams was disliked by almost all of his contemporaries, but Thomas Jefferson thought that Adams’ shoulders are who they stood on during the intellectual battle for freedom. So, my primary goal is not to be liked, although I would enjoy and do enjoy friendships with like minded people.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    I have defined what self-interest is and it seems you either lack the knowledge to understand it or you are just evading the definition. Why do you not reply to my request for proof of your claim? The answer is you have none. Your attempts at disproving rational self-interest are weak and unsubstansiated and are no longer worthy of an intellectual debate/duel.

  • sid

    Why do you not reply to my request for proof of your claim? The answer is you have none.

    Ray…(and A and/or Rick or whatever you call yourself today) as long as you folks consider yourselves superior to all who do not share your “reality”, then there is little to discuss.

    All the other groups are capable of compromise, whereas Objectivism is not.

    Sounds a whole lot like rhetoric from another intolerant chap…

    He knows the old parties. They are easily satisfied. Only endow them with a few seats as ministers or with similar posts and they are ready to go along with you. And in especial he knows one thing: they are so innocently stupid. In their case the truth of the old saying is proved afresh every day: ‘Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first strike with blindness.’

  • A. Johns

    Sid, once again your reading comprehension skills and understanding of the material are truly lacking. Below is the essence of the latest paper brought into the discussion.

    “This paper challenges the wisdom that Somalia has deteriorated without government. On the contrary, I argue that statelessness has actually enhanced Somali welfare. Although a properly constrained government may be superior to statelessness, it is not true that any government is superior to no government all.”

    In otherwords, it was an oppressive government that caused Somalia’s collapse not capitalism. Somalia is ruled by a bunch of clans or tribes which means the group is more important than the individual. By its very nature, tribalism or clanism is altruistic.

    I am reminded of the following quote,

    “If capitalism is to be understood, it is this tribal premise that has to checked—and challenged.

    Mankind is not an entity, an organism, or a coral bush. The entity involved in production and trade is man. It is with the study of man-not of the loose aggregate known as a “community”–that any science of the humanities has to begin.”

    Taken from “What is Capitalism?”–Ayn Rand

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    A is A.
    2 + 2 = 4.

    Do want want to argue those facts or seek a compromise. My life and liberty are mine and I will not compromise when it comes to someone attempting to take that away from me.

    Now the fundamental issue that is under discussion is whether or not a pirate is the same as a businessman. They are not and as long as individuals like you try to equate the two than you should be stopped in your tracks, cold, and told no you are wrong. A pirate is a thief that steals the unearned from the individuals or groups that own the products from their productive work.

    Sid, the concept is called property and pirates have no right to anyone’s property by simply taking it on a whim or a desire. Whether that is a bunch of thugs like the Somali pirates(illegal plunder) or the U.S. Government(legalized plunder)taking control of the banking institutions.

  • sid

    Dont know why I bother…

    Those Somali pirates are businessmen in the same vein Al Capone was. Illegal businessmen>

    Like Capone, the most effective way to take them down is through their money.

  • A. Johns

    Well Sid,

    now that you throw in the qualifier, illegal, there is not much for us to disagree with is there? Of course, illegal businessmen should be prosecuted, they are doing something illegal.

    Most businessmen, if not all, are moral individuals living their lives and making decisions based on their own rational self-interest. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is the most moral and proper action a man or woman will do with their lives.

    Do yourself a favor Sid, and stop bothering those of us who understand this principle.

  • sid

    …making decisions based on their own rational self-interest. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Per Leeson, the pirates act the same way.

    Rick -or A- Somalia is your randian dream in reality. You should move there.

    it is the most moral and proper action a man or woman will do with their lives.

    You guys sure love being “proper”….

    And you make my point yet again. Barre acted in self interest (to his clan) and drove Somalia down the tubes but thats ok, he was true to his morals. The pirates act in self interest as well per Leeson, so they are acting quite morally.

    Thanks Rick. I’m getting the hang of it!

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Ray:

    Come on, you can do better that that. Of course if you associated with folks with a different take on life it would be easier to pick a few new riffs.

    Soft peddle the “I know and you don’t bit”. It just jacks up the sales resistance. Be funny and charming and self deprecating. I know, I know, it’s a real stretch, but you can do it.

    Try to see the mark’s, err, other fellow’s, point of view. I mean, how would you like going to a poetry reading and literary tea and the dame at the next table starts pitching hair coloring and home permanents like the late Billy Mays selling cheap garden tools. It’s just not a fascinating presentation, if terribly sincere and LOUD.

    Tell you what. Go read C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity”; not for content (well OK, if you really want to), but for style and technique. Then come back and give a book report on what you learned. I’m sure you’ll find it very helpful.

    I know the rest of us will find it very restful (especially poor Sid).

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    if productive work is not moral and proper than what is?

    I have clearly stated that their is a difference between the producers(the legal businessmen) and the nonproducers(pirates, the U.S. Government).

    If producing wealth and pursuing one’s right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is not moral and proper, than what is?

  • sid

    If producing wealth and pursuing one’s right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is not moral and proper, than what is?

    Rick, here we are again at the ARI talking points again. Been there. Done that. Not interested in your version of “moral and proper”.

  • A. Johns

    Those talking points were also what our Founding Fathers also discussed. They understood the difference between the separation of church and state. It is now our turn to understand the separation of state and economics. That is the fundamental issue at hand, and it had better be discovered soon.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    FWIW,
    I am letting Sid do my fighting for me as my opinion of the interchangeable Ray, A.Johns, and Rick remain the same as my comment above where I apologize.

    I am not admin here, but on my home blog you would all be banned by now as one-note thread hijackers. Why the objectivists decided to use USNI to ride their hobby horse, I have no idea.

    Everyone is entitled to their own religion, philosophy, ideas, etc – but when you start to act like this – you turn everyone off.

    Sid, you take the objectivists, I’ll stay by in strategic reserve for when the Hare Krishnas show up.

    You know, one good thing about the Hare Krishnas is that in Gainesville at least, they put together a great free meal open to the public. I have a feeling objectivists meals are a bit stodgy.

  • sid

    It is now our turn to understand the separation of state and economics. That is the fundamental issue at hand, and it had better be discovered soon.

    Move to Somalia Rick…Its your dream world.

    And don’t lecture us on what the Founding Fathers discussed.

    Again, I DO NOT CARE about your vision of “reality”.

    This thread is supposed to be about the economics of Somali Piracy. So far, all you have establsied is that selfish people are moral people.

    Fine.

    Pirates are noble.

    I get it.

    Now, move on with the discussion at hand.

    And stow your “proper” in a small dark place.

  • sid

    I have a feeling objectivists meals are a bit stodgy.

    Given their declared focus on “self-interest”, they are not a crowd I would want to spend time in a liferaft with!!

  • C-dore 14

    Gee—I came over here hoping to get in on a discussion about pirates. Guess I was wrong. Don’t knock the Hare Krishnas ‘though…they were the only ones to give me a friendly “welcome home” (and a flower) when I came back from Vietnam.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    “This thread is supposed to be about the economics of Somali Piracy.”

    EXACTLY

    Please don’t hijack the thread for your own self-interest. Though everything under the sun is inherently philosphical, this is not a philosophy blog.

    USNI exists in part as an honest broker to host respectful debate on issues of importance to the nation’s defense. That has been the primary role of Proceedings since 1874. It is always conducted without USNI advocating policy. It would be neglectful to ignore the naval blogosphere as a natural extension of that mission, so with the valuable work of guest bloggers the USNI audience now engages in debate here –again without advocating policy, or in the case of the USNI Blog, setting the agenda.

    Stay on topic or we will (a) require pre-approval of your comments and (b) ban you from our site.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Huh. Pirates may be noble, but if they are hijacking vessels on the high seas and holding AMCITs as hostages, we should be killing them.

    They may see themselves as being in the right, particularly with so much potential financial gain, and a long list of grievances. But so did nineteen Muslim hijackers who flew airplanes full of Americans to their deaths.

  • sid

    Pirates may be noble, but if they are hijacking vessels on the high seas and holding AMCITs as hostages, we should be killing them.

    Sorry. Meant to say “moral”….

    And yes: Take a Hostage. Take a Chance

    In the meantime. Steal the money from the frontmen.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Grampa Bluewater,

    So, it seems by your standard people should go and hang-out with their enemies. I did not say that we had to be exact, I said similar. Come on you can understand the difference between two different concepts can you not?

    And I will not be self-deprecating which is just stupid. How could someone that thinks they are right also think of themselves in a disapproving way. Finally, I have read C. S. Lewis and found his work to be terrible, boring and reminded me of my CCD classes.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid, (by the way I am not Rick)

    When people of different ideas come together for a discussion they must first agree or at least define their concepts. You have done neither nor does it seem you care to. I, on the other hand, have defined what I mean when I use a word and always attempt to limit it’s meaning. Remember that to define a word is to limit it’s meansing, and not the other way around. So, how can you claim that the pirates are living according to my standard when I am almost certain that the pirates have not defined their standard and even if they have it is not in the same manner as I have? So, your idiotic claim that they are a living example of my ethical system has been blown out of the water as you have no understanding of my ethical code nor the pirates. As a matter of fact you have attempted to discard every definition given with no rebuttal of what those words should mean.

    You have also made claims with no evidence that I am just as evil as the pirates under discussion. One agian, you show you irrationalism as you should provide evidence to back your claims. In a court, you and your ideas would be thrown out for lacking in proper evidence.

    Finally, you keep claiming that Objectivism is intolerant, when it is you that have a hatred for other’s ideas. And instead of discussing ideas you attempt to attack the character of people you know almost nothing about.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    Last I remember the ARI is not the entity that originally put forth the idea of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So, why do you not answer the question? Maybe, because you do not believe that each individual is here for his own “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Correct me if I am wrong, Sid.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Cdr Salamander,

    You are the one that tried to bring attention to the pirates while trying to demonstrate that they were acting in a certain manner. The few of us that have disagreed with you have brought evidence and definitions of what being rationlly self-interested is and what economics demands. If you want to prove your point bring some evidence beyond one man’s article of some pirates that he has never spent anytime with nor does it seem he has an understanding of economics.

    Again, you are the people that complain of someone being intolerant, but want people banned when they do not agree with you. Amazing attempt at the reversal of roles, but it did not get by.

  • sid

    Ray, I know you are not Rick. “A John” is… But I will assume you already know that.

    You have also made claims with no evidence that I am just as evil as the pirates under discussion.

    Nope. Not Once. Reflected the fallacies of your views back at yah. But never said you were evil.

    But listen Ray, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU

    Its about Somali piracy. Now, other than some lofty verbiage in the first comment on the thread in which you framed the problem as you see it, you have yet to offer anything concrete about how to fix the problem.

    I DON’T WANT TO HEAR how you live your life.

    Please share any notional solutions you may have.

    If you can’t, then simply do not reply to this.

  • Ray Kilmer

    URR,

    The pirates are not noble, that is what I have been trying to state this whole time. To be noble means to be of a superior quality. Robbers and killers do not even come close to being noble.

    And, the pirates have no concern for what is right nor wrong as they evade the facts of reality. For someone to be right the must first understand the nature of reality and then live according to it, they have totally discarded reality and lie or rationalize away the negative consequences of what they do.

    Finally, as I have mentioned before, the pirates are not acting in their rational self-interest as they are not acting rational. They are not acting rational because they are lying to themselves if they think they have a right to other people’s property. They are acting irrational if they think there will be no acitons taken against them. They are acting irrational if they evade the fact that their actions today might possibly get them put in prison or even put to death. So, you see (although I do not think you will see) that when any person acts irrational they cannot be acting in a self-interested manner.

  • sid

    Finally, as I have mentioned before, the pirates are not acting in their rational self-interest as they are not acting rational.

    Leeson directly refutes this Ray. Do I need to provide the quote again?

    But, this is defining the problem.

    What is your solution Ray?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    I Have offered many times what could be done philosophical about the problem which is multifaceted. But, if you want a response to what should be done militarily then my response is that they should be killed. But, remember you do not believe in killing people, you only think that diplomacy works with our enemies that want to kill us. You think that our enemies can be bribed into submission or into liking us, well that just is not part of reality. You cannot compromise with a person who’s ideology is totally different, just like you cannot bribe the killer that wants you life.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    Mr. Lesson, is not me and he has not refuted anything. He has made some statements during an article with no mention of what self-interested action demands. He also has shown his lack of understanding of the science of economics and you have shown yours by agreeing with him on both fronts.

    Did you take your intelligence reports like it seems you take articles by people you do not even know?

  • sid

    But, remember you do not believe in killing people,

    Huh? Did you miss my “Take a Hostage. Take a Chance” quip above?

    You are crafting your own reality here Ray

    You cannot compromise with a person who’s ideology is totally different

    So, there is no chance you can allow my views to stand by yours?

  • sid

    Mr. Lesson, is not me and he has not refuted anything. He has made some statements during an article with no mention of what self-interested action demands. He also has shown his lack of understanding of the science of economics and you have shown yours by agreeing with him on both fronts.

    Here we are. Back at you again. That didn’t take long.

    And, was that last declaration of yours about Leeson not understanding economics a joke?

    Please tell me it was Ray.

    And just think. He is being funded by that BB&T guy….

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    You are the one in another thread, and here, that has called me barbaric (although your attempts were underhanded as you stated I am the same or no better than barbarians, killers, rapist and so many other disgusting men and women) for stating that we should annihilate our enemies which you disagreed with.

    Let me be exact as possible, so that you might possibly understand what I am saying.

    I do not care what other people think or do as long as they do not harm (or in some situations attempt to harm) other people. You are the one that has the hatred of other’s ideas and are the one that keeps attempting to attack other people’s character instead of discussing their ideas. I do not agree with Nazism, but that would not keep me from defending the person’s life and their rights to free speech. So, I am the one that is willing to let people live by their own standards without harming them in any way, until they come and try and apply their ideas on me. Do you get it!?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    You attack me, but expect me to not defend myself. Who is the the corrupted?

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    BB&T gives the money to the schools, last I remember the schools still get to choose who they put in the classroom. But, as omniscient as you claim to be, I would have thought you should have known that.

  • Ray Kilmer

    C-dore,

    I have not stated anything of the such. A rational person would recognize that they do not have the right to other people’s property, so they would not initiate force against someone else. The pirates do not recognize the right’s of other people so they are acting irrational by stealing from them. Our government, and others, are acting irrational when we do not hunt them down and annihilate them.

  • C-dore 14

    Ray,

    Are you saying that taking a calculated risk in pursuit of one’s objectives is irrational? Seems to me that the odds are in the pirates’ favor that little or nothing will happen to them as long as they stay away from French and American ships, don’t harm their hostages and if the ransom is lower than the cost of delay/loss of cargo to the shipper.

  • sid

    You are the one in another thread, and here, that has called me barbaric

    You have a real issue with this all about you thing…

    But thats ok, because that makes you an imperfect human like the rest of us.

    And you totally misconstrued what I said. What I sad was: that a military force composed of a band of individuals, motivated purely by self interest, would quickly devolve into a murderous rabble.

    This rabble would be particularly dangerous if they consider themselves superior to those around them.

    And that rabble -in a rational way- would find no problem whatsoever in engaging in the various forms of genocide.

    History has provided examples of such rabbles cloaked in military garb in action…1937 Nanking. 1939 Krakow. 1945 Berlin.

    Thats what I said. Never was about you.

    Finally, getting back to this discussion, I also say that the socio/economic picture in Somalia is a magnificent portrait of a capitalist society with the fewest regulatory impediments on the planet peopled by a population that is motivated by self-interest.

    Magnificently horrific portrait it is.

    Again. I am not talking about you.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    C-14 speaks with big medicine.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Ray:

    You have a real gift for dead pan humor.

    I can almost see one eyebrow go up, like Raymond Massey used to do, as he asks archly “So you think ‘people should go and hang-out with their enemies?’.”

    That was a real kneeslapper. Anybody would think you never heard of market research, or that you thought everyone who held a different opinion was an enemy, rather than someone who hasn’t seen the wisdom of your cause, you know, someone you want to convince.

    “I will not be self-deprecating which is just stupid.” Subtle, and ironic. And I thought you couldn’t kid a kidder.

    With talent like that, have you considered running for office in someplace like, say, Missouri?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Just looked at my 401k. I might post a blog called “the piracy of economics”.

    I know, I know. Henny Youngman I ain’t.

  • A. Johns

    UltimaRatioReg:

    You should write a blog concerning that topic because it is directly related to this topic. It should highlight the legalized plunder of the wealth producers by the government that is supposed to protect them.

    Have Sid find John Alison’s speech concerning this issue for you it will add value to your post.

    Alison and BB&T did not want or need a government bailout for their bank it was forced on them. BB&T recently announced to its shareholders that it was lowering its dividends, for the short term, so that it can pay back the government’s forced bailout.

    The rationally self-interested reason for doing this is to get the government out of the business of running banks.

    Keeping watching that 401k because as long as the government has its fingers in it, it will take everything of value from it. Unless, of course, some of your 401k is BB&T stock :)

  • sid

    You should write a blog concerning that topic because it is directly related to this topic

    Echoing the advice the good CDR gave you I see, “other brother.”

    None of this a thing to with the economics of Somali Piracy.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Sid,

    Loving of one’s life and becoming angry when someone attempts to discredit my good character through the mis-stating my thoughts and ideas does not prove that I am “imperfect,” it only means that I am human. And being human is what you seem to fail to understand as man is not evil nor disgusting nor does man making incorrect decissions make him imperfect, as I have stated before making epistemological/knowledge mistatkes does not make one imperfect. Knowing that one makes mistakes and ethically choosing to do nothing to correct them is an example of being imperfect or evil.

    If a group of men did not consider themselves to be superior to those that are trying to enslave them, then they deserve the enslavement they get from those other men. Some men, like some governments are superior to others, that is reality. The government and men that recognize individual rights are superior and worthy of praise or defending while the one’s that do not deserve the opposite.

    Your examples from history (…1937 Nanking. 1939 Krakow. 1945 Berlin.) only demonstrate what happens when religious or irrational people act without long-term thought. Which has been defined many times and you still evade those definitions.

    Once again, I am on subject, the subject that you keep stating your hatred of man and that he is evil by his nature and cannot live without someone or some supposed super natural entity regulating and scaring him into doing what is right. I have totally disagreed with you and demonstrated that man can live a moral live without any of the items that you mention, the problem is you irrationally keep evading those facts.

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    accepting the premise that Somali Piracy has a viable economy is like talking about a flat earth, or that flat earth being the center of the universe.

    Anyone making such an attempt gets hopelessly lost in contradictions that are nearly impossible to resolve.

    UltimaRatioReg’s comment was a spark of rationality that should be looked at, that is all.

  • Ray Kilmer

    Grampa Bluewater,

    The next time you decide to quote me how about keeping the full context of the quote. Someone that thought of themselves or their ideas in a disapproving way would not have the self-esteem nor the courage to stand up and speak.

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    do you agree with Peter Leeson’s answer to the question below.

    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/pirate-economics-101-a-qa-with-invisible-hook-author-peter-leeson/

    The Invisible Hook is more than just a clever title. How is it different from Adam Smith’s invisible hand?

    In Adam Smith, the idea is that each individual pursuing his own self-interest is led, as if by an invisible hand, to promote the interest of society. The idea of the invisible hook is that pirates, though they’re criminals, are still driven by their self-interest. So they were driven to build systems of government and social structures that allowed them to better pursue their criminal ends. They’re connected, but the big difference is that, for Adam Smith, self-interest results in cooperation that generates wealth and makes other people better off. For pirates, self-interest results in cooperation that destroys wealth by allowing pirates to plunder more effectively.

  • A. Johns

    Sid, do you agree with the following answer to the question below.

    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/pirate-economics-101-a-qa-with-invisible-hook-author-peter-leeson/

    The Invisible Hook is more than just a clever title. How is it different from Adam Smith’s invisible hand?

    In Adam Smith, the idea is that each individual pursuing his own self-interest is led, as if by an invisible hand, to promote the interest of society. The idea of the invisible hook is that pirates, though they’re criminals, are still driven by their self-interest. So they were driven to build systems of government and social structures that allowed them to better pursue their criminal ends. They’re connected, but the big difference is that, for Adam Smith, self-interest results in cooperation that generates wealth and makes other people better off. For pirates, self-interest results in cooperation that destroys wealth by allowing pirates to plunder more effectively.

  • sid

    accepting the premise that Somali Piracy has a viable economy

    So, why are you bothering with this discussion Rick?

  • Ray Kilmer

    For those that care to think or rethink their premise,

    Let us attempt a this problem from a different angle.

    Rationality and ethics are for the individual and to demonstrate that let me use a hypothetical situation. If a person is stranded on an island by themselves they would be responsible for their own survival and happiness. If that person decided to evade the fact that there is no one else on the island then it would not be long before they started to starve or feel the negative effects of different types of weather. When no one else is around to carry the irrational person they cannot evade the facts of reality and get what they deserve. In other words, when no one else is around to carry or provide for the irrational person their irrational choices are not rewarded.

    Each man would have to recognize the nature of reality, the nature of his situation and the nature of man if he is going to survive and possibly achieve happiness. The man stranded on the island would have to think of ways to get food, provide for protection from the weather and possibly provide for his defense, whether against animals or at sometime in the future other men. If man fails to use his most essential attribute, reason, he will not survive long on this island alone. In othe words man must choose to apply reason, act in his rational self-interest, in accordance to the nature of reality or he will die. On a stranded island man does not need to ask to take the rational actions needed to maintain his life or enhance his life as he just does what is needed.

    This does not change when man chooses to live in society as man must be left free to apply reason in accordance to the nature of reality and his own nature. Choosing to live in a society does not give anyone rights over another person’s choices or property. Living in a society does have benefits if the society is rational and hence moral. It is only in an irrational and immoral society that being irrational and immoral brings rewards. Only in a society that rewards people who do not use their most essential attribute, reason, does it seem that people are acting in a self-interested way. When people in society choose that they have the right to others property, to other people’s efforts, and are rewarded by their non-actions with the effort of other people will it seem like they are acting in a self-interested way. And only when the men that are allowing others to rule them, take advantage of them, agree to be enslaved by other men, or do not stand up and defend their right to their own life, will it mistakenly seem like those that are getting the reward from other people’s efforts seem like they are acting in a self-interested way. But, as Aristotle stated more than 2,400 years ago, “there are no contradictions in reality, only in man’s mind.” So, when one comes to contradiction they should recognize that they have made a mistake in their thoughts and they need to check their premise and start searching for the correct ansswer.

    Good day, good premises.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sorry, Sid. Much as I might agree with A John’s economic assertions vis a vis governmental intrusion, my attempt at humor had nothing to do with the blog post. (Grampa made me do it.)

    Somali pirates will find the potential rewards to be worth the risk to a far greater extent than we will anticipate. Beware those with nothing to lose. But that isn’t the problem.

    If the piracy effort off Somalia presents a way to threaten western security or make (literally) boatloads of cash for the loss of a few teenage/twenty-something men with no real future, then the bad guys (pirates) will be joined by BAD guys. Which, of course, they already have been. Then, the piracy problem moves from an annoyance, to an inconvenience, to a threat, to a serious threat. That is precisely where it has the potential to move when people with bad motives and big capabilities subsume such activities.

    The idea that we can go in and “fix” Somalia is preposterously naive. But fight the pirates we must. And fighting means killing.

  • sid

    Let us attempt a this problem from a different angle.

    Ray, I’m so happy you have it all figured out.

    URR, I don’t disagree with you. The Somalis will have to “fix” themselves. Although I will say that the HoA, back into Chad, is a festering boil that deserves more effective international focus than what exists now.

  • sid

    Sid, do you agree with the following answer to the question below.

    Rick, save your lectures for the ARI group hugs.

    In the meantime, stow it in a tight dark space.

  • A. Johns

    Looks like someone lost their mind, their temper, and who knows what else.

    You are a class act, Sid.

  • C-dore 14

    Ray,

    Have to say that I agree with you that the rational choice for us would be to hunt down the pirates. I’ve taken that position for some time much to the shock of my liberal neighbors. Being a “glass half full guy” I’ll be satisfied in the near term that many Somali pirates are probably doing some OJT on how to recognize the U.S. flag so they can stay away from the ships that fly it.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    URR:

    Don’t blame me because you were having too much fun pulling the wings off Ray.

    And stay stay away from the legs, you claim jumper.

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest