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Cutthroat Capitalism
July 28, 2009 11:35 AM   Subscribe

WIRED contributing editor Scott Carney interviewed an ocean-going hijacker for his story on the economics of Somali piracy.

Cutthroat Capitalism: The Game
posted by gman (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Protip: the negotiation slider goes up all the way to some ludicrous number, but if you can talk them up to 5-7 million it's time to cash in. If you negotiate for too long your crew bails on you.
posted by juv3nal at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2009


Carney: What was your job before you start this one or what forced you to become a pirate?

Pirate Protector: Every government in the world is off our coasts. What is left for us? Nine years ago everyone in this town was stable and earn[ed] enough income from fishing. Now there is nothing. We have no way to make a living. We had to defend ourselves. We became watchmen of our coasts and took up our duty to protect the country. Don’t call us pirates. We are protectors.

Carney: How do you pirates decide on what ransom to ask for?
...

I think Wired relied on the Swashbuckler image too much in the proper article, even after the interviewee stated that they don't see themselves as pirates. The graphics were fun and all, but it does nothing to cast the story in a serious light. At least the infographic for the number of attacks and accompanying text (In 2008, only 0.2 percent of ships sailing Somali waters were successfully hijacked) added some clarification to the discussion.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2009


Related: NPR's excellent Planet Money has had a number of interesting podcasts and articles on the economics of Somalian piracy — far less anarchic than one might assume — including interviews with negotiators on both sides.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:10 PM on July 28, 2009


Pirate Protector

Buh? The lighthearted graphics and equations did seem inappropriate to me considering the topic of the article, but I don't see how buying into the interviewee's propaganda helps rectify things. These pirates are violent organized criminals who are in it for money, that much should be clear.
posted by napkin at 12:17 PM on July 28, 2009


I'm really confused as to what any of this has to do with Capitalism.
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2009


Actually, there has been some interest academically in the social structures that pirates create. There are books, and Pete Leeson has papers and a book.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:27 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just gotta point out, among meat robot's links is an article titled: An-arrgh-chy: the Law and Economics of Pirate Organization.

Q: Where does a pirate go to research his family tree?
A: The Arrrr-chives.

posted by marxchivist at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


These pirates are violent organized criminals who are in it for money, that much should be clear.

Kind of like any national government, only these are teeny-weeny little governments in boats. They differ from countries in that they stop and board you to get their swag. In countries, the victims are already on the boat and can't get away.
posted by Faze at 1:01 PM on July 28, 2009


I'm really confused as to what any of this has to do with Capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of capital. I think you can see how the typo happened.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:04 PM on July 28, 2009


Modern day pirates must have something to do with some sort of political ideology. I mean, Ayn Rand made it a point to put pirates in her Atlas Shrugged book as some sort of prototypical hero.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2009


I'm really confused as to what any of this has to do with Capitalism.
Arrrr, it's driving me nuts.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Why hasn't some company hired a Blackwater-type firm to float a few Q-ships? Seriously, kill these turds. They're enemies of civilization.
posted by codswallop at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2009


Seriously, kill these turds. They're enemies of civilization.

Any American city is replete with drug gangs and independent criminals whose activities have been far more damaging to our civil life than these poor, scrawny devils, 3,000 miles away. Your local Martin Luther King Boulevard is not deserted after dark because people are afraid of being attacked by Somali pirates. The enemies of civiliation are everywhere.
posted by Faze at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


and then there's this
posted by w.fugawe at 2:20 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why hasn't some company hired a Blackwater-type firm to float a few Q-ships?

Probably because the Somali coastline is over 3000 km, and that it's scandalously illegal, and would no doubt invite nasty reprisals. Not to mention that it's cheaper to deal with the occasional ransom than pay top dollar for commando death squads that probably would be next to impossible to organize.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2009


But, as far as the killing the "turds" thing goes, you can be sure that Navy SEALs are hard at work training more snipers to be effective from helicopters and wave-bobbing rafts.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2009


Great link w.fugawe, thank you.

I noticed the same neglect of the "protector" claim, and this article really shed some more light on that.

It's never quite as simple as you think.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2009


Your local Martin Luther King Boulevard is not deserted after dark because people are afraid of being attacked by Somali pirates. The enemies of civiliation are everywhere.
posted by Faze at 2:05 PM on July 28


Can you please talk a little bit about what you mean by this, or is this just another drive-by troll you slip past the mods?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:13 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can you please talk a little bit about what you mean by this

It's pretty hard to not read that as "dark people with guns engaging in crime that accounts for a nominal fraction of white collar crime is the real reason we have trouble in paradise, and not any systemic corruption".
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2009


I would say of the Somali pirates as Muhammad Ali once said of another so-called enemy of civilization, "I ain't got nothing against no Somali pirates." In fact, I rather admire them. I would prefer that we concentrate our law enforcement efforts against violent gangs in America.
posted by Faze at 4:23 PM on July 28, 2009


I thought that read "an ocean going hipster"

I was trying to work out how that related to Somali piracy...

Anyway, this was genuinely interesting, as were the accompanying articles.

For those interested, I often assist a photographer called Mike Goldwater, who (I believe) was previously one of the only people in the world to photograph pirates in the South China Sea. He's told me that his time with the pirates was very fraught, but won't say much more than that.
posted by Magnakai at 5:54 PM on July 28, 2009


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