[I]ssues of criminality and the potential for violence aside, a closer look at the "business model" of piracy reveals that the plan makes economic sense. A piracy operation begins, as with any other start-up business, with venture capital.Listen: PLANET MONEY - Behind The Business Plan Of Pirates Inc.
J. Peter Pham at James Madison University says piracy financiers are usually ethnic Somali businessmen who live outside the country and who typically call a relative in Somalia and suggest they launch a piracy business. The investor will offer $250,000 or more in seed money, while the relative goes shopping.
"You'll need some speedboats; you'll need some weapons; you also need some intelligence because you can't troll the Indian Ocean, a million square miles, looking for merchant vessels," says Pham, adding that the pirates also need food for the voyage -- "a caterer." Yes, a caterer.
"Think of it as everything you would need to go into the cruise ship business," Pham says. "Everything that you would need to run a cruise ship line, short of the entertainment, you need to run a piracy operation."
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.