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Enterprising Slaves & Master Pirates

Understanding Economic Life in the Bahamas

Virgil Henry Storr

Enterprising Slaves & Master Pirates is an interdisciplinary account of economic life in the Bahamas. The Bahamas’ economic story is an interesting tale, full of vibrant color – a story of short-lived booms followed by protracted busts, where discussions of economic success force us to mention fanciful figures such as the pirates Blackbeard and Calico Jack, and where accounts of economic woe, such as the collapse of the cotton market, are punctuated by descriptions of the clamor of Sunday markets or the unique practice of self-hire. Since the almost simultaneous settling of the Bahamas by pirates and Puritan farmers in the 17th century, two ideal typical entrepreneurs have dominated the region’s economic life: the enterprising slave (encouraging Bahamian businessmen to work hard, to be creative and to be productive), and the master pirate, (demonstrating how success is more easily attained through cunning and deception). In addition to Caribbean Studies scholars, this book will appeal to students of culture interested in economic development, and economists interested in how culture impacts development efforts.