Dr Peter Hayes is Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Sunderland. In his latest paper ‘Pirates, Privateers and the contract theories of Hobbes and Locke’ Dr Hayes argues that the roots of modern democracy were not in Britain or the USA, but were the ‘corporations’ which were created on pirate ships during the golden age of buccaneering.
Dr Hayes says: “Pirates elected their captain, voted on major decisions and distributed their booty in roughly equal shares, and there is something in the idea that a pirate ship is the equivalent of a modern corporation.
“In the 17th and 18th century privateers were backed by financiers, much like modern multi-national PLCs. The way that privateering was operating back in the golden age of buccaneering, is that a group of individuals come together, and agree to kit out a ship to sail the seven seas to see if they can pull in some gold. It was a global gamble for enormous rewards. These predatory voyages are the roots of modern venture capitalism, with these modern multi-national corporations out to get all they can get. That’s the sort privateering that led to the Credit Crunch.”
Dr Hayes argues that this raises troubling questions about whether rights in modern democratic states can truly be said to be human rights, as opposed to the rights held only by a select few corporations.
Dr Hayes says: “Pirates had a democratic structure, and relative equality, but they were doing all of this to violate the rights of other people. The idea of a social contract is that it protects human rights. But what if you create a social contact to say that we’ll observe rights towards each other, but we won’t observe rights for outsiders?”
Privateering was encouraged by governments including England where it was considered perfectly acceptable to capture a Spanish ship as long the Crown got a cut of the booty. Pirates even set up their own states in places like Madagascar, where they could hide their wealth from governments, and also share information – rather similar to offshore bank accounts for modern businesses.
Dr Hayes says: “Eventually the state stepped in to reward successful pirates, by calling them ‘privateers’ giving them knighthoods, and making them part of society, so it is more than likely that direct descendents of pirates like Henry Morgan are wandering around the ‘deck’ of modern companies today.”
"Pirates, Privateers and the Contract Theories of Hobbes and Locke," appeared in the History of Political Thought (Volume 29, Issue 3, autumn 2008).
Tony Kerr | alfa
Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy