The pirate sector

By Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

Published: May 8 2010

“The golden age of piracy took place when the globalised world was taking shape with the rise of European empires and trans-national corporations such as the East India Company. Pirates sailing on the high seas were linked, however parasitically, to this new capitalist way of life. Hostile to traditional hierarchies, stateless, highly mobile, ruthlessly acquisitive, they signalled the emergence of a certain type of modern consciousness. No wonder they fascinate us: in them we see a glimmer of ourselves.”