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Leave it to pirates to run honest bourse

rocket propelled grenade RPG-22With investment bankers trying to weasel another broker’s percentage from a carbon-credit trading system, comes a living example of rudimentary venture capitalism. In Haradheere, Somalia, there’s a stock market for pirates, by comparison, something benefiting all participants.

The pirate’s market is no middleman’s monopoly. It works just like the collectives of investors who floated Britain’s privateers and the Dutch East Indies Trading Companies, just two examples of crown-sanctioned adventure-mercenary conquerors. Had you wondered why the definition of “float” includes the economies participant to navigational buoyancy?

Got a boat, a weapon, a tip on an incoming treasure galleon? Invest the pirates with your contribution and reap a stake in the rewards. Every successive stock market since the formative times, from commodities, to insurance, to futures, etc, have well surpassed the illegitimacy and immorality of the seafaring pirate variety.

Sang the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance: Away to the cheating world go you, Where pirates all are well-to-do.

While the corporate media decries the savagery of the lawless Somali coastal enterprises, sophisticated traders descend upon COP15 to extort a cap-and-trade protection racket from a world desperate to arrest climate change.

The pirate bourse is a reminder of what purpose the stock markets used to play. If you had a money-making idea, and needed investors, that’s where you went. But to describe a business proposal as germinating from an idea, is to peddle platitudes defining entrepreneurship as being about intellectual innovation. In practice, business opportunities chiefly present themselves from licenses obtained from the state, to operate lucrative monopolies. It usually takes the combination of disproportionate profits and manageable risk to interest wealthy investors.

I think I enjoy this Somalia juxtaposition particularly because Wall Street can’t get a piece of the pirate action. Only those with real pirate commodities need apply. And of course, only those financiers brave enough to circulate in a “pirate’s lair” like Haradheere. So the suddenly infamous Dalsan Bank of Haradheere is basically for scrappers and warlords only, and certainly no whites need apply, unless it’s to be ransomed.

Here’s a snippet from yesterday’s Reuters article:

Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.

“I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,” she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.

“I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the ‘company’.”

If it sounds like a personal testament for a get-rich-quick scheme, it is! But unlike the television infomercials, this bourse is grounded in providing a legitimate function in Somalia.

Note that the ransom from which Ms. Ibrahim expects to profit was paid for the release of a “tuna fishing vessel.” For those who want to judge the pirates like terrorists, the inconvenient characteristic about the Somali pirates is the role they play as coast guard for a national government not up to the task. Somalia’s inability to police its waters means that international boats visit to plunder the fisheries and dump toxic waste. Illegally, obviously. The fishing villages of Somalia suffer the most, and it’s from their workforces that the pirates recruit their expeditions. The pirates arrest the wrongdoers and assess large penalties and criminal fines before the lawbreaking crews are released.

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