The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Privateers
By Alexander T. Tabarrok
This article appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of The Independent Review.
Privateersprivate ships licensed to carry out warfarehelped win the American Revolution and the War of 1812 but fell into disuse after the federal government made it hard to monitor their performance. Like the governments use of private military companies in todays hotspots, privateering was an instance of the contracting out of security services, not the full privatization of security, and thus operated in the context of incentives and constraints established by the government.
Alexander T. Tabarrok is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Assistant Editor of The Independent Review, and Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
Defense and Foreign PolicyEconomic History and DevelopmentEconomyFree Market EconomicsGovernment and PoliticsPolitical HistoryPrivatizationPublic ChoiceRegulation
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