How Somali Pirates Will Save Us From a Depression
by Tim Swanson
by Tim Swanson
If there is one thing swashbuckling pirates are good at, it is stimulating economic activity.
Pirates as far back as Captain Hook were not only dashingly dapper in their sans-culottes, but also astute economic planners.
Instead of being loathed, Hook's modern-day counterparts should be embraced because their business model is a godsend in these dire times.
As they plunder, countries assemble naval task forces. The pursuing destroyers and cruisers must be cleaned and refueled. They must be manned from bow to stern by men who must be trained. These seamen must also be well-fed by cooks which creates a demand for culinary art schools. Bon appétit, pass the rum por favor.
The bounty the guile Somalis continue to incarcerate must be replaced. In doing so, companies must spend money purchasing the raw materials, transporting servos and manufacturing widgets. That creates jobs.
The hostages of captured vessels must be fed and sheltered. More jobs.
Media outlets covering the story spend money recruiting, hiring and training journalists. J-O-B-S.
Governments and politically-connected conglomerates must tap their treasuries and spend your booty to pay ransoms. In doing so, accountants and lawyers must be assembled and unleashed upon the marketplace. I'll give you a hint what this means: it rhymes with robs.
More janitors will be needed to clean the offices, hallways and bathrooms of these weighty establishments. Elevator doormen and bellhops will be needed to operate hotels being visited by statesmen and relatives of the hostages. Cable repairmen will be needed on-call. And Chinese take-out services will need to hire extra staff to fill the insatiable orders from all of the above. Mucho trabajo!
Better yet, Plan B for bon voyage. Since pirate attacks are random and inconsistent, cargo ships should routinely dump containers overboard and scuttle vessels. Bulk carriers should emulate Blackbeard and send it all down to Davy Jones once a month.
Either way, while the multi-national naval flotillas scour the high seas for the Black Pearl, we should all thank Jack Sparrow and his tricorn-wearing mateys because they create jobs and get us spending.
So this holiday season, be sure to tell your local pirate(s) Feliz Navidad — for without their enterprising minds, we would all be much poorer.
December 22, 2008
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