Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Law in Pirate Society

This is cool:

Private pirate law and order is alive and well in allegedly “lawless” Somalia, and highlights two important lessons. First, even outlaws require social order and private governance institutions emerge to create this order when government does not. Second, when they emerge endogenously, as in do pirate societies, these governance institutions develop to reflect the particular needs of the individuals they govern. The resulting effectiveness of such institutions is certainly part of the reason for 18th-century pirates’ success. I suspect the private governance institutions that support the Somali pirates’ criminal economy deserve considerable credit for these sea dogs’ success so far too.

Via Volokh. Economist Peter Leeson has been arguing for quite some time that the people of Somolia are far better off living under their anarchist reality than at the mercy of a traditional, controlled state similar to the systems embraced by their neighbors.