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More news about the pirates off the coast of Somalia. Looks like the US navy is going to begin capturing the pirates they can and deliver them to some country that has agreed to hold them.

The pirate stories have been coming out for a few months now, and I am always intrigued, maybe because I fancy myself as a pirate, though I would not be very good at it.

As an economist (something I am–regrettably–a bit better at) this particular story raises questions. Why are US taxpayers protecting the world’s sea-lanes? The cost of the pirating is borne by the shipping companies and exporters.

Indirectly, consumers are also affected by the higher cost of shipping, but the real benefactors are the shipping companies, of which the US hosts very few. Granted, it is nice to have the seas free of such a danger, nice to have trade with countries around the world, and the US navy is the largest around.

Maybe we should just send a bill to the shipping companies.


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