The Dutch invented Capitalism in the 16thCentury and I still haven’t forgiven them for it. Since its inception Capitalism as a system has depended on exploitation in order to remain viable; indeed it is no coincidence that the rise of Capitalism coincided with the discovery and looting of the Americas. As Eduardo Galeano details in his masterpiece “The Open Veins of Latin America,” it was the immense wealth in gold and silver pillaged from the New World that provided the monetary infusion necessary in order for Capitalism to take root across Western Europe.
As Spanish galleons busily shipped gold and silver back to Europe, certain less-capitally endowed nations such as England, the Netherlands and France decided that it was only right to “redistribute” this wealth. (It is interesting to note that the Dutch, having invented Capitalism, immediately recognized the importance of using brute force in order to acquire capital). Hence the romantic image of
Caribbean piracy was born: officially sanctioned British, French and Dutch pirates attacked and plundered treasure-laden Spanish ships (as well as one another) and Western Europe, as opposed to the Iberian Peninsula, grew rich.
A rising star in the world’s budding league of failed states, Somalia has lacked a functioning government for almost 20 years and is ruled and terrorized by feuding tribal warlords, hunger, and increasingly, Islamic militancy. One of the world’s poorest nations, the World Bank reports that in 2008 73% of Somalis were surviving on less than $2 per day.
Sitting on the sidelines of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the disenfranchised and abandoned residents of this lawless land have, within the last 10 years, resurrected the age-old Capitalist ethos and taken to the seas in order to get a piece of the economic pie that has for years drifted peacefully by them on the horizon. Somali piracy is a lucrative and up and coming business: the BBC reports that in 2009 over $80 million in ransoms were paid to Somali pirates and the average ransom paid was between $1 million and $3 million. For very little overhead (a boat, some scary-looking guns, a GPS and a butt-load of hummus sandwiches) a small crew can take to the high seas for a couple weeks, hijack a Greek-owned tanker flying a Singapore flag manned by a Philippine crew carrying balsa-wood from Vladivostok to Dakar, collect their booty and disappear into the international wilderness, filthy-lucre in hand. Everything is insured, no one needs to get hurt, and you’re back before you’re missed with a great tan and a killer story to tell at the next barbecue.
So I’m looking for a few good people who would like to spend their summer in Somalia. We’ll be gone for at least a few weeks, so I figure this is an ideal opportunity for school teachers to supplement their miserably low incomes and actually get that summer vacation abroad that they could never actually afford in a million years. Come enjoy some fun in the sun, feel the wind in your face, help democratize the Capitalist choke-hold and get paid a cool million bucks or so in the process. Experience operating an outboard motor is useful but not required.
Leave a comment below to sign up! See you in Mogadishu!