The Golden Age of Piracy: Essay Prompt


The Golden age of piracy prompt: Part 1: Share your thoughts and ideas that will answer the following question:Given what we have learned so far, give your opinion on the similarities and differences between hacking and piracy during the Golden Age. Do you think the similarities or differences are more salient? Is hacking ever justified? […]


The Golden Age of Piracy

Part 1: Pirate’s Gold Age prompt

Piracy during the Golden Age and hacking have various similarities and differences. Based on similarities, just like Golden Age pirates, hackers can be considered heroic social bandits when there is a breakdown in the legitimacy of the political economy due to the system’s contradictory excess (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). Similarly, both perpetrators share legal ambiguity and provide clear moral justification for their actions.

Conversely, hacking differs from the Golden Age piracy since, unlike the high seas, the Internet is a less confined space, generating a new form of the “nationless” pirate. In the Golden Age piracy, bio-pirate organizations, such as Sea Dogs, acted with at least one legal state sanction and promoted a form of colonialism (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). However, in the case of hacking, while retail sales enable the protection and regulation of hard copies through conventional commercial means, the Internet presents a new opportunity and marketplace for exchange and distribution.

The stated similarities and differences are more salient because they help understand pirate heterotopia. In essence, this is where an information network, a haven, or a ship mirrors the notions diverse people have concerning political economies and encourages piratic behavior simultaneously, be it revelry, sharing, or pillaging (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). Media piracy is justified because the role of the law is seen more and more to safeguard specific organizations against competition and less and less to support creativity.

Part 2


Piracy adversely impacted trade and productivity in a way not often documented. Pirates and privateers differ in many ways from the Golden Age pirates and today’s pirates. Piracy results in an inadequate form of consumption in its more material and intellectual forms. It further leads to immense repercussions for diverse types of self-definition and self-awareness. Thus, the comparison and contrast of the pirates and privateers and the Golden Age pirates and pirates of today will help determine what the media and maritime piracy are and their relationship with one another based on economics, politics, relationship with countries on land as well as the role of women, people of color, and economically marginalized in piracy.

Pirates and Privateers

According to Gaynor (2012), the economics of pirates and privateers involved exploiting deficiencies in the market, flourishing in periods when considerable disequilibrium arose between the production factors of shippers, military services, and the demand and supply of commodities. The results involved losses due to the pirates and privateers acquiring part of the trade profit. Another immediate impact of the theft entailed reducing the supply of goods available in ordinary trade channels.

Politically, many officials at all authority levels had, throughout history, found it usually profitable and desirable to sponsor or ignore actions of piracy. It was explicitly the ineffectiveness or inaction of medieval and ancient European countries in connection to robbery by the sea that resulted in the reprisal vice (Anderson, 1995). In essence, this was an action whereby the authority gave a distressed party a warrant to recover the value of property stolen from any member of the offender’s society. In contrast, a state government gave privateers legal licenses to attack ports and enemy ships during wartime and allowed them to keep a contractual share of goods seized.

Concerning relationships with countries on land, piracy involved a connection of structured views between those onshore and those aboard or at least those who represented shore-based political authorities. Conversely, privateering frequently was a means of making a living and had little to do with either faith or country (Anderson, 1995). Under the circumstances where failure in the enterprise meant famine at home, privateers became mere sea robbers and took no heed of creeds, nationalities, or people.

Women also played a vital role despite some common superstitions that they were bad luck on a ship. For instance, the legacy of Ching Shih exceeded that of her husband when she commanded approximately 80,000 men and more than 1,800 pirate vessels. Shih integrated her huge fleet of pirates utilizing a code of legislation (Lombardo, 2018). The system was authoritarian and pointed out that any pirate disobeying orders of a superior or giving their own was to be beheaded on the spot.

People of color joined pirate crews for different reasons. Some were slaves, attempting to escape the grim realities of slavery on shores. Others, like many whites, became pirates since they aspired to escape the harsh lifestyle they encountered aboard slave, naval, and merchant ships. Privateering, on the other hand, mirrored the radical open-door policy apart from conducting lawfully authorized practice, targeting the enemies’ merchant fleets. In essence, this was the period when racial equality was linked to revolutionary Haiti in the minds of many white Creoles (Morales, 2018). Free men of color collaborated with white Creoles to push for the implementation of one of the most radical constitutions that proclaimed racial equality and abolished slavery.

Both pirates and privateers required support in friendly ports and from people on land. They could sell their goods, recruit new crews, and outfit their ships in these places. Thus, although privateers and pirates detracted from legitimate profits and trade, they helped boost regional and local economies (Gaynor, 2012). While doing so, they allowed large numbers of marginalized, underprivileged, and excluded people to participate in the broader commercial economy.

Golden Age Pirates and the Pirates of Today

From the point of view of economics, both the case of contemporary piracy and Golden Age piracy is understood as a reaction to monopolist restrictions and incursions. Both actions involve a dialectical opposition between the logic of production and the philosophy of consumption within market capitalism (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). Piracy in the Golden Age was a preparation for the Revolution Age as economic demonstrations gained extensive validity. It is this history that inspired piratic protest movements and counter cultures. Similarly, the actions of the modern-day pirates are not merely a simple self-interest theft but an all-out hostility towards capitalism itself.

Politically, there have been various movements by today’s pirates, such as The Pirate Party, which considers privatized monopolies the worst enemy of society (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). On the other hand, the formation of the Golden Age pirates resulted from the need to establish industrialism and capitalism, embrace inter-imperial trade, and move away from trade monopolies.

Concerning the relationship with countries on land, the Golden Age pirates spent most of their time on the high seas. However, it was impossible to survive too long without visiting ports regularly. As such, the so-called “free ports” gave the perpetrators hope since their life was complicated by the registration of ships that rendered them easily identifiable. There was no need to pay fees, and official documents were not required to harbor ships in the “free ports.”

The role of people of color and women in today’s Golden Age piracy and piracy entails the consistent promotion of moral philosophy. A broad category of commitment is seen more commonly in free-software circles and open source, and it has to do majorly with the convictions concerning obligations, duties, rights, and freedoms (Dawdy & Bonni, 2012). The economically marginalized also play a role in today’s piracy and Golden Age piratic counter cultures, which comprise individuals who have, to a certain extent, self-segregated themselves from a dominant social structure and are sustained by a self-conscious ideology.


In summary, as long as there are maritime zones of ineffective law enforcement and criminally inclined individuals, the challenge of piracy will continue to exist. The vice will continue to exist while littoral societies are vulnerable to economic fluctuations or sunk into poverty. Moreover, it will continue to transpire in communities with more respect for the local traditional practice than for the law of remote central authority. The apprehension of offenders and the availability of suitable maritime surveillance technology is and has been customarily an essential but not adequate condition for the sufficient suppression of piracy. Thus, there is a need for further economic development, international cooperation, and national resolution that will develop the material terms of maritime societies.


Anderson, J. L. (1995). Piracy and world history: An economic perspective on maritime predation. Journal of World History, 175-199.

Dawdy, S. L., & Bonni, J. (2012). Towards a general theory of piracy. Anthropological Quarterly, 85(3), 673-699.

Gaynor, J. L. (2012). Piracy in the offing: The law of lands and the limits of sovereignty at sea. Anthropological Quarterly, 817-857.

Lombardo, J. (2018). Piracy: From the high seas to the digital age. New York: Greenhaven Publishing LLC.

Morales, E. P. (2018). No limits to their sway: Cartagena’s privateers and the masterless Caribbean in the age of revolutions. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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