As the world’s money markets do their best to combat the Credit Crunch, a University of Sunderland politics lecturer has discovered that the root of modern democracy’s money woes may lay with the first corporations – pirates.
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. – sd
Some knew this.