June 2, 2009

The Calculus of Piratical Consent

The Myth of the Myth of Social Contract
  • Peter Leeson

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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Is a genuine social contract mythical? This paper argues that pirates created genuine social contracts that established a system of constitutional democracy based on the same decision-making calculus and with the same effects that Buchanan and Tullock's contractarian theory of government describes in The Calculus of Consent. Pirates' constitutional democracy is the "holy grail" of social contract theory. It demonstrates that the contractarian basis of constitutional democracy is more than a mere analytic device or hypothetical explanation of how such a government could emerge. In pirates' case, Buchanan and Tullock's social contract theory describes how constitutional democracy actually did emerge.

Read the article at SpringerLink.

Citation (Chicago Style)
Leeson, Peter. "The Calculus of Piratical Consent: The Myth of the Myth of Social Contract." Public Choice 139, nos. 3-4 (2009): 443-459.