Jim Henley as a really smart take on whether we should use naval power to take on piracy.

The more ambitious proposals to use the US or other navies to try to eliminate piracy off Somalia are proposals to offload the security costs of sailing along the Somali coast to the taxpayers of whoever provides the navy, and allow shippers to hold onto that last sliver of benefit the pirates currently take.

The whole thing is really good. The piracy as taxation argument, which Henley gets from Benjamin Friedman, is interesting, and reminds me of an argument Tim O’Reilly made about digital piracy back in 2002.