giovedì 1 dicembre 2016

4 SKULL & BONES THE ECONOMICS OF THE JOLLY ROGER The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter T. Leeson

The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter T. Leeson
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Last annotated on December 1, 2016
4   SKULL & BONES THE ECONOMICS OF THE JOLLY ROGERRead more at location 1224
Note: 4@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
From a distance it looks harmless.Read more at location 1226
likely a merchantman,Read more at location 1226
British ensign it flies, a red flag with the Union JackRead more at location 1227
She’s indeed a merchantman, but a highly modifiedRead more at location 1229
All ornament and superfluity is stripped away.Read more at location 1231
Only cannons remain.Read more at location 1231
its formidable crew comes into sight.Read more at location 1232
One hundred fifty motley pairs of eyes bear down on you.Read more at location 1232
You look up and stare, quite literally, at death’s head.Read more at location 1233
skull and bones,Read more at location 1234
You panic, and rightfully so. What do you do?Read more at location 1236
You might try and run. But your ship is slow and lumbering, while theirs has been refitted for speedRead more at location 1236
You could try and defeatRead more at location 1237
But she has 150 men and you have 15.Read more at location 1237
when you lose you know you can expect no mercy.Read more at location 1239
It communicates your fate should you be so saucy as to defy those who sail under it.Read more at location 1239
The only option left is to submit to your well-armed predators, precisely what they’re hoping for.Read more at location 1240
Note: c Edit
impossible to imagine a pirate ship without a black and skull-stippled flagRead more at location 1242
played a central role in facilitating their profit-maximizing purpose.Read more at location 1245
Note: J R Edit
Successful piracy was no easy task.Read more at location 1246
Captain JohnsonRead more at location 1248
“going about like roaring Lions, seeking whom they might devour,”Read more at location 1248
you’d need an idea about how to sail a hundred-plus-ton vessel.Read more at location 1251
not even the marine chronometer, which might allow you to precisely determine longitude, had been invented yet.Read more at location 1252
“dead reckoning.”Read more at location 1253
To “dead reckon” you needed to first determine your latitude. Lest your hopes be totally dashed, you had an instrument to aid you in this process. This instrument was the “backstaff,” or “Davis quadrant,” so-named for its inventor Captain John Davis. The backstaff amounted to a few wooden sticks, which when held to the navigator’s face allowed him to simultaneously observe the position of the sun at noon determined by the location of its shadow cast along one of the sticks and the horizon. This permitted the viewer to measure the sun’s altitude over the horizon, which could then be looked up in a series of printed tables that charted the sun’s declination at the equator for each day of the year, describing the ship’s latitude. After you measured your latitude at one spot, you could guess your longitude by measuring your speed and direction since your last latitude measurement. This was accomplished by throwing a wooden board, called a “chip log,” over the side of the ship attached to rope, and with a “pegboard” upon which you charted any changes in speed or direction.Read more at location 1254
Note: x DEAD RECKON Edit
also required intimate knowledge of the currentsRead more at location 1263
direction of winds,Read more at location 1263
understanding of leeway.Read more at location 1263
more art than science.Read more at location 1264
You’d need to combine your navigational skills and oceanic agility with keen judgment and an ability to chase, run, and of course, wage battle with your vessel.Read more at location 1265
predicting your target’s movementsRead more at location 1267
boxing it in and preparing for a fight.Read more at location 1268
Overwhelming a target was more like hunting a fox than lunging at a piñata.Read more at location 1270
the windward vessel had an advantage of speed and agility over the leewardRead more at location 1271
made an effort to get themselves on the windward side of their targets. This wasn’t a simpleRead more at location 1272
Pirates had to do so without appearing threatening—Read more at location 1273
tide conditionsRead more at location 1274
wrong moves could raise the target’s suspicion.Read more at location 1275
Moving too quickly or nimbly is one example of this.Read more at location 1275
pirates modified their shipsRead more at location 1276
Ideally, a pirate wanted to close in slowly on its targetRead more at location 1278
A less obvious approachRead more at location 1279
Note: .... BLUFFARE Edit
were easier to achieve of a leeward target.Read more at location 1280
pirates used several ruses. The first was the flags of legitimate vessels.Read more at location 1281
Pirates obtained these the same way they obtained their ships—by stealingRead more at location 1282
fly the appropriate “colors” depending on where they were sailingRead more at location 1283
constructing canvas covers, colored to blend in with the ship’s hull,Read more at location 1287
hid the pirate’s gun ports.Read more at location 1287
This made the pirate ship appear less well armedRead more at location 1288
merchant ships played their own games, painting gun portsRead more at location 1289
putting wooden “dummy” guns on their shipsRead more at location 1289
Edward Barlow, a late-seventeenth-century merchantRead more at location 1291
its “twenty-four guns, with two wooden ones to make a show, as though we had more.”Read more at location 1291
to put chicken coops and cargo on deck to look more like the merchant shipsRead more at location 1293
To disguise their ship’s speed, pirates sometimes tied barrels together,Read more at location 1293
Once within reach pirates would cut the barrels, producing a turbo boostRead more at location 1295
Angus KonstamRead more at location 1298
“this wasn’t always practical or expedient. Owners would have little time for merchant captains who greatly prolonged their voyages by running from every strange sail.”Read more at location 1298
it wasn’t uncommon for friendly ships to hail one another,Read more at location 1300
assistance or informationRead more at location 1300
throw makeshift grenades, called “grenadoes,” consisting of gunpowder, bits of metal, and fuse stuffed into a glass bottle, or “stinkpots,” an early form of teargas similar to grenades but packed with rancid meat, fish, and other putrid items found on a ship.Read more at location 1302
Captain Sturmey’s Magazine, or the Whole Art of Gunnery for Seamen 1669,Read more at location 1305
“Take of Powder 102, of Ship Pitch 60, of Tar 201, Saltpeter 81, Sulpher 81. Melt all together by a gentle Heat and being well melted, put in 21 of Cole dust, of the Filings of a Horse’s Hoofs 61, of Assafoetida 31, of Sagapanam 11, and of Spatula Fetid half a pound.” The only thing missing is “eye of newt.”Read more at location 1306
Pirates could then board the merchantman, which they achieved with grappling hooks.Read more at location 1309
The cannons a pirate ship carried could be as varied as its crew.Read more at location 1310
four- or six-pounders, called “minions” and “sakers”Read more at location 1311
A saker could reach a target nearly a mile away.Read more at location 1312
a warning shot sufficient to give a good scare could be launched from a considerable distance.Read more at location 1313
ammunition,Read more at location 1315
There were traditional canon balls,Read more at location 1316
also “grapeshot,” a mixture of musket balls and other metallic odds and ends shot out of cannon creating a shotgun-blast type effect, and “chainshot,” in which two canon balls were shot simultaneously out of a ship’s gun connected by rod or chain.Read more at location 1316
Note: x Edit
our image of them as blood-lusting, battle-loving, and downright fiendish curs,Read more at location 1320
would seem to suggest they were happy to engageRead more at location 1320
But just the opposite was true.Read more at location 1321
Pirates were loath to engage in a fight, even with a target they easily dominated.Read more at location 1322
key to piercing this one lies in understanding pirates’ profit-seeking purpose.Read more at location 1323
Peace-Loving Pirates?Read more at location 1324
Note: T Edit
keeping their costs down.Read more at location 1325
minimizing violent conflict.Read more at location 1327
conflict with a target meant the possibility of crew casualties.Read more at location 1328
other kinds of maimingRead more at location 1329
For instance, to keep pirate insurance claims, discussed in chapter 3, from becoming overbearing, pirates needed to minimize battle-related injuries.Read more at location 1329
potential for damage to the pirate ship.Read more at location 1331
it reduced pirates’ effectiveness in chasingRead more at location 1331
additional time spent in repair reduced the time spent plunderingRead more at location 1335
increased the probability of capture by authorities.Read more at location 1336
in this state, pirates were easy targets for navy ships or other pirate hunters.Read more at location 1340
Walter Moore, for instance, captain of the Eagle, captured George Lowther’s pirate crew while it careened on an island off Venezuela.Read more at location 1341
Note: UN CASO Edit
Finally, battle between a pirate and its prey could damage the prize.Read more at location 1343
Stolen ships had value to piratesRead more at location 1344
if pirates inadvertently sunk their target, the entire prize would be lost.Read more at location 1345
pirates sought to overwhelm victims without violence.Read more at location 1347
harder than it sounds, however.Read more at location 1348
merchant ships weren’t defenseless.Read more at location 1349
To minimize merchant ship resistance and thus the costs discussed above, pirates developed their infamous flag, the “Jolly Roger.”Read more at location 1350
The origin of the Jolly Roger’s name is debated, but probably came from an antiquated and impolite nickname for the devil, “Old Roger.” Another possibility is that the name derives from the original French buccaneers’ red flag, the jolie rouge, or “pretty red.” Ironically, rather than an emblem of blood-thirsty pirates, the Jolly Roger reflects pirates’ strong desire to avoid violent conflict with their prey.Read more at location 1351
Pirate flags originated with the buccaneersRead more at location 1355
buccaneers flew red flags,Read more at location 1355
communicated to targets they would take “no quarter”Read more at location 1355
Eighteenth-century pirates substituted black flags,Read more at location 1357
The first recorded account of the Jolly Roger is on the French pirate Emanuel Wynne’s ship in 1700. A witness described it as “A Sable Flag with a White Death’s Head and Crossed Bones in the Fly.”Read more at location 1358
Note: x IL PRIMO Edit
Captain Samuel Bellamy’s crew, for instance, flew the classic pirate ensign, a “large black Flag, with a Death’s Head and Bones a-cross.” An eyewitness described the flags in Blackbeard’s fleet similarly, these being “Black Flags and Deaths Heads in them.” Some pirates never retired the red flag. Several ships in Blackbeard’s consort, for instance, flew “Bloody Flags.”Read more at location 1360
Note: ESEMPI Edit
Richard Hawkins, who was taken prisoner by pirates in 1724, explained it: “When they fight under Jolly Roger, they give Quarter, which they do not when they fight under the Red or Bloody Flag.”Read more at location 1363
Note: c Edit
They also depicted hourglasses, full skeletons, flexing arms, swords, bleeding hearts, and related symbols of strength, death, and destruction. One pirate ship Captain Johnson discussed, for example, “let fly her Jack, Ensign and Pendant, in which was the Figure of a Man, with a Sword in his Hand, and an Hour-Glass before him, with a Death’s Head and Bones.” Another “had the Figure of a Skeleton in it, and a Man pourtray’d with a flaming Sword in his Hand, intimating a Defiance of Death itself.” Pirate captain Francis Spriggs’s crew favored a “Jolly Roger, (for so they call their black Ensign, in the middle of which is a large white Skeleton, with a dart in one hand, striking a bleeding Heart, and in the other an Hour Glass).”Read more at location 1366
Note: x VARIETÀ Edit
photonegative of the traditional pirate flag,Read more at location 1372
Several pirates coupled the Jolly Roger with the official flag of EnglandRead more at location 1373
Bartholomew Roberts’sRead more at location 1374
Roberts customized his ship’s flag to send a pointed message to the governors of Barbados and Martinique who dared to send warships after the notorious pirate captain to bring him to justice.Read more at location 1377
crew had “a black Silk Flag flying at their Mizen-Peek, and a Jack and Pendant of the same: The Flag had a Death’s Head on it, with an Hour-Glass in one Hand, and cross Bones in the other, a Dart by it, and underneath a Heart dropping three Drops of Blood—The Jack had a Man pourtray’d in it, with a flaming Sword in his Hand, and standing on two Skulls, subscribed A.B.H. and A.M.H. i.e. a Barbadian’s and a Martincan’s Head.”Read more at location 1380
Note: c Edit
pirate flags varied, the purpose was the sameRead more at location 1386
“to terrify Merchant-Men.”Read more at location 1387
hourglass communicated time was running out,Read more at location 1387
swords, fierce battle,Read more at location 1388
skulls and skeletons, deathRead more at location 1388
traditional explanationRead more at location 1389
Note: .... Edit
leaves something to be desired.Read more at location 1390
how flying a skull-emblazoned flag would addRead more at location 1391
Pirates’ superior strength alone would seem to be enoughRead more at location 1392
The Pirate and the PeacockRead more at location 1394
Individuals engage in certain behaviors, such as wearing a tie, or getting an education,Read more at location 1397
kind of person they want others to think they “really are.”Read more at location 1397
send flowersRead more at location 1398
The key to a successful signal is that it must be more costly for someRead more at location 1401
“cheap talk” doesn’t work as an effective signal is because the signal is equally inexpensive for bothRead more at location 1404
successful signaling in the animal kingdom.Read more at location 1414
Ever wonder why peacocks have such large plumes?Read more at location 1414
It seems like this would be an evolutionary disadvantageRead more at location 1414
Biologist Amotz Zahavi suggested a solution to this puzzle in the 1970s, which is rooted in the idea of signaling. Imagine a world of peacocks, some of which have large plumage and others of which don’t. Precisely because those with plumage are more susceptible to predators, Zahavi reasoned, they signal they’ve passed the test of nature, avoiding or fending off predators. Peacocks with plumage are therefore more attractive mates, leading them to reproduce, while those without lavish tails die out.Read more at location 1415
1716 to 1726,Read more at location 1424
Note: T Edit
maritime powers of Europe were officially at peaceRead more at location 1425
Both France and Spain had “coast guards,”Read more at location 1426
protecting their respective coasts from illicit foreign traders called “interlopers.”Read more at location 1427
Officially, the Spanish coast guard was restricted to taking interlopers near the coasts it protected.Read more at location 1428
But in practice these ships often cruised the watersRead more at location 1429
British colonial officials in the West Indies and North America complained of the overzealous Spanish coast guard, which was capturing and condemning British tradingRead more at location 1431
against the peace created by the Treaty of Utrecht.Read more at location 1432
Virginia governor Alexander Spotswood,Read more at location 1433
the Spaniards” had recently taken a “man and his vessell on the high seas without being near any of their Dominions, and without any hostility offered on his part.”Read more at location 1434
officials repeatedly complained of unscrupulous coast guards plunderingRead more at location 1437
there were other potential attackers in many of the areas pirates frequented.Read more at location 1440
rise to another class of potential attackers,Read more at location 1444
a clue why pirates went through the trouble of using the Jolly RogerRead more at location 1446
Pirates wanted to distinguishRead more at location 1446
the viciousness coast guard vessels could show toward merchant crews they assaulted was limitedRead more at location 1448
They weren’t permitted to wantonly slaughter merchantRead more at location 1449
pirates weren’t even theoretically constrained in how they treated those they overcame.Read more at location 1450
Pirates were outlaws and would be hanged if authorities captured themRead more at location 1451
massacring resistors was essentially costless.Read more at location 1452
A piratical threat to kill all those who didn’t immediately surrender to them peacefully was consequently a very credible one.Read more at location 1452
Note: x MINACCIA Edit
“No Quarter should be given to any Captain that offered to defend his Ship.”Read more at location 1453
Note: x TESTIMON Edit
“Asking them if they would stand by him and defend the ship, they answered, if they were Spaniards they would stand by him as they had Life, but if they were Pirates they would not Fight.” When Wyer’s men determined it was Captain Blackbeard’s crew bearing down on them, they “all declared they would not Fight and quitted the Ship believing they would be Murthered by the Sloops Company.”Read more at location 1457
Note: x TEST Edit
taking prizes without a costly fight,Read more at location 1461
important for pirates to distinguish themselvesRead more at location 1461
“black Flag with a Death’s Head in it … is their Signal to intimate, that they will neither give nor take Quarter.”Read more at location 1463
Note: x TEST Edit
If you resist us, we’ll slaughter you. If you submit to us peacefully, we’ll let you live.Read more at location 1465
Pirate captain EdwardRead more at location 1468
“had [a victim’s] Ears cut off close to his Head, for only proposing to resist … [his] black Flag.”Read more at location 1468
Note: x TORTURE Edit
Bartholomew Roberts’sRead more at location 1471
assaulted a Dutch interloper, which, after “mentaining an obstinate defence for four hours … killed a great many of the pirates.” Ultimately, however, the interloper “being overpower’d was forced to submit and what men the pirates found alive on board they put to death after several cruel methods.”Read more at location 1471
Edward England’s pirate crew, which sought to capture Captain James Macrae’s East Indiaman,Read more at location 1473
England’s crew ultimately overcame the East Indiaman, but only “after a desperate resistance.” Captain England, it seems, grew soft on Macrae and didn’t want to murder him as pirate policy—per the Jolly Roger—dictated. However, his crew’s response to this ill-founded mercy that violated piratical protocol points to the seriousness with which pirates took their policy.Read more at location 1475
pirates also stuck to the sunny side of the Jolly Roger’s promise: mercy for those who peacefully surrendered.Read more at location 1484
The Jolly Roger worked marvelously in limiting violent conflict.Read more at location 1488
Pirates “deliberately publicized [the] policy” behind their flags, “which was so effective that they hardly ever needed to kill.”Read more at location 1490
surrender was the knowledge that,Read more at location 1496
“Fearing the Consequence of too obstinate a Resistance against those lawless Fellows,”Read more at location 1498
Note: x TEST Edit
Ned Low simultaneously attacked several vesselsRead more at location 1499
Jolly Roger’s success explains the surprising confidence one tiny pirate crew exhibited.Read more at location 1501
would be as good as fifty Men more,Read more at location 1503
Jolly Roger operated to save merchant sailor lives, not take them.Read more at location 1506
Pirates used the Jolly Roger to enhance their profitRead more at location 1506
it was the profit motive that led them to overtake victims in the least violent manner possible.Read more at location 1507
Pirates, Pretenders, and Pooling EquilibriumRead more at location 1510
Note: T Edit
how was the Jolly Roger cheap for pirates but expensive for legitimate ships?Read more at location 1514
accused had acted “under a Black Flag,Read more at location 1516
Ships attacking under the death head’s toothy grin were therefore considered criminal and could be captured and prosecuted as pirates.Read more at location 1517
Since pirates were criminals anyway, for them, flying the Jolly Roger was costless.Read more at location 1518
the penalty was the sameRead more at location 1519
privateers and Spanish coast guard ships couldn’t sail under pirate colors. If they did, they could be hunted and hanged as pirates.Read more at location 1520
while the Jolly Roger signal was “free” for pirates to send, it was expensive for legitimate ships to send.Read more at location 1523
On seeing the Jolly Roger hoisted, merchant ships could therefore reasonably conclude they were under pirate, as opposed to coast guard or privateer, attack.Read more at location 1524
in some cases legitimate belligerent ships couldn’t resist the benefits of hoisting the Jolly RogerRead more at location 1526
“When he finds any vessel he can overpower, [he] hoists a black flag, and acts like a pirate. But if he meets any ship of war, or others that are too strong for him, he then produces a Commission from the Governor of Porto Rico, as a Guarda de la Costa.”Read more at location 1529
Jolly Roger, then, wasn’t able to establish a perfect separating equilibrium.Read more at location 1535
When merchantmen believed their attackers were nonpirates they might resist.Read more at location 1543
Spanish coast guard ships illicitly appropriated the pirate flag, this confirms the Jolly Roger signal was effective.Read more at location 1544
Weaker pirate crews had an incentive to free ride on the skull-and-bones imagery.Read more at location 1549
Not all pirate crews were large and powerful.Read more at location 1549
If a weak crew hoisted the Jolly Roger to overtake its prey without a fight, but its prey took its chances in battling the crew nonetheless, the prey might defeat the pirate crew indicating to other merchant ships that the Jolly Roger wasn’t so fearsome after all. If this happened, even strong pirate crews might find their prey resisting them, destroying the signaling power of the black flag and eroding pirates’ precious profit.Read more at location 1550
Note: X IL CASO Edit
many pirate crews customized their flags.Read more at location 1553
a more specific identity—Read more at location 1554
Bart Roberts’s crew, recall, sailed under a flag that featured its captain standing atop “a Barbadian’s and a Martincan’s Head.”Read more at location 1555