Called The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Piracy, the book by Peter Leeson examines the supply and demand side of pieces of eight. The book focuses on the pre-AK47 days of piracy, primarily the mid-1600s to mid-1700s when the pirates life was a good one.
Unfortunately, there isn't in the way of insight in Mr. Leeson's book. A few highlights:
- Most pirates were young men. Wow! Some deep insights from Mr. Leeson here. In other news, pirates enjoyed the occasional drink of rum
- A pirate could make 100 pounds a month (about $24k in today's money), which was about 4x the amount merchant seamen made
- Pirates elected their leaders. I suppose the NYT would call that an "aaaarg-ocracy"
- Pirates took PR seriously so would occasionally torture resisters and have them walk the plank so that the word got out that the pirates would brook no opposition