An Invisible Hook Q&a, and Other Items of Interest

Michael Giberson

At the Freakonomics blog, a Q&A with Peter Leeson about his book The Invisible Hook. Here is the first exchange:

Q.The Invisible Hook is more than just a clever title. How is it different from Adam Smith‘s invisible hand?

A. In Adam Smith, the idea is that each individual pursuing his own self-interest is led, as if by an invisible hand, to promote the interest of society. The idea of the invisible hook is that pirates, though they’re criminals, are still driven by their self-interest. So they were driven to build systems of government and social structures that allowed them to better pursue their criminal ends. They’re connected, but the big difference is that, for Adam Smith, self-interest results in cooperation that generates wealth and makes other people better off. For pirates, self-interest results in cooperation that destroys wealth by allowing pirates to plunder more effectively.

The Q&A provides an excellent short introduction to the book. The book itself is highly recommended (my MBA class will be reading a portion of it).

Also at Freakonomics, “The birth of the ‘Chicken Offset’.” If you’d like a little more philosophical provocation with your fried chicken, consider Will Wilkinson’s “Feathers Flying: Conscientious consumption and culture war” at The Economist.

Elsewhere around the web: