It’s not just that economics can be applied to pirates. Rational choice is the only way to truly understand flamboyant, bizarre, and downright shocking pirate practices. Why, for example, did pirates fly flags with skulls and crossbones? Why did they brutally torture some captives? How were pirates successful? And why did they create “pirate codes”? The answers to these questions lie in the hidden economics of pirates, which only the rational choice framework can reveal. History supplies the “raw material” that poses these questions.
– Peter T. Leeson, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates