The 'Hidden Catch' in the Invisible Hook

6 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2010

See all articles by Virgil Henry Storr

Virgil Henry Storr

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center; University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom

Date Written: April 28, 2010


In The Invisible Hook, Leeson argues that by devising a complex system of rules (called the “pirate code”) and procedures for electing their leaders, pirate societies created governance structures where the leaders were strong enough to “control the governed” but were not strong enough to break the constraints that bound them. There is, however, a “hidden catch” within The Invisible Hook. There are important differences between pirate crews and societies, between pirate captains and political leaders, and between the pirate code and constitutions. Moreover, understanding these differences is critical for understanding how criminal bands were able to accomplish a feat that still proves problematic for many societies.

Keywords: Leeson, Pirates, Spontaneous Orders, Self-Governance

JEL Classification: D23, D02

Suggested Citation

Storr, Virgil Henry and Storr, Virgil Henry, The 'Hidden Catch' in the Invisible Hook (April 28, 2010). Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 293-298, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Virgil Henry Storr (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States


George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States


University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics