How to be a Pirate: Quartermaster Edition 📙📈

How to be a Pirate: Quartermaster Edition 📙📈

‣ Adapted largely from The Invisible Hook. It’s great, go read it:
‣ Grey’s 2-hour Director’s Commentary:

## Special Thanks

Peter T. Leeson for reviewing a draft of the script. Check out his newest book, “WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird”:

## Crowdfunders

Steven Snow, Bob Kunz, John Buchan, Nevin Spoljaric, Donal Botkin, BN-12, Chris Chapin, Richard Jenkins, Phil Gardner, Martin, سليمان العقل, Steven Grimm, Colin Millions, Saki Comandao, Jason Lewandowski, Andrea Di Biagio, David F Watson, Ben Schwab, Elliot Lepley, rictic, Bobby, Marco Arment, Shallon Brown, Shantanu Raj, emptymachine, George Lin, Henry Ng, Jeffrey Podis, Thunda Plum, Awoo, David Tyler, Derek Bonner, Derek Jackson, Fuesu, iulus, Jordan Earls, Joshua Jamison, Mikko, Nick Fish, Nick Gibson, Orbit_Junkie, Ron Bowes, Tómas Árni Jónasson, Tyler Bryant, Zach Whittle, Oliver Steele, Kermit Norlund, Kevin Costello, Ben Delo, Arctic May, Bear, chrysilis, David Palomares, Emil, Erik Parasiuk, Esteban Santana Santana, Freddi Hørlyck, Frederick The Great, John Rogers, ken mcfarlane, Leon, Maarten van der Blij, Peter Lomax, Rhys Parry, ShiroiYami, Tijmen van Dien, Tristan Watts-Willis, Veronica Peshterianu, Dag Viggo Lokøen, John Lee, Maxime Zielony, Bryan McLemore, Elizabeth Keathley, Alex Simonides, Felix Weis, Melvin Sowah, Giulio Bontadini, Paul Alom, Ryan Tripicchio, Scot Melville

## Music

David Rees:

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75 Responses

  1. Turquoise Thought says:

    1:56 the flags in order: First one is a standard flag used by several captains like Edward England,
    2nd Jacquotte Delahaye (might have never existed)
    3rd Edward Teach aka Blackbeard
    4th Jean Thomas Dulaien
    5th Bartholomew Roberts aka Black Bart
    the two last ones were used by Edward Low (the green one for calling the other captains of his fleet for meeting in his own ship)

    • Green Red says:


    • A.H.S. says:

      @uknownada oh no it’s very real, just not Pirates of the Caribbean standard, it was more like quote of arms used for branding each pirate, and everyone liked a style of their own, for branding, you may surrender immediately if you find a flag known to flown by Blackbeard, and Blackbeard so happens to be branded as extremely torture happy.

    • Ildskalli says:

      Thanks a lot, I recognized only Teach’s flag.

    • Maiv says:

      Also the ABH and AMH on Black Bart’s flag stand for “A Barbadian’s Head” and “A Martiniquan’s Head”

    • Maciek K. Cichoń says:

      @Ildskalli like most of us probably.

  2. MisterTwister says:

    The Captain describing piracy: 😀

    The Quartermaster describing piracy: :I

  3. Sinead Thomas says:

    “I’d like to talk to that guy”
    “I’d like to talk to the captain”

    Oh god! It’s an infinite loop!

  4. Kerisu the Cynic says:

    “Personality matrices constraining them inside the law” is perhaps the most elegant way to say “normal” I have heard in a long time.

    • fate testarossa says:


      : )))))))))

    • Let's Not says:

      @idkusername humans are not smart enough to fully understand themselves. Let alone other humans or the whole species

    • José Ángel says:

      @idkusername Not if you define normal as “more common/usual”

    • Erde says:

      @Let’s Not Humans are definitely smart enough to understand themselves if we are talking about their thought processes. It’s just rather hard because by merits of evolution we selectively bred ourselves to be reactionaries rather than calculating rationalists. This means that that (mostly) complete rational examination of the human mind is possible.
      What we haven’t figured out about the human mind or biology is mostly a funding issue and not an intelligence issue.

    • Erde says:

      @José Ángel Well, yes. Normal comes from the word norm. As in, what is most common. Predominant. That line of thinking, while mostly rational, is not a very popular thought process in say, gay bars.

  5. Jay Tee Kay says:

    5:36 the only time the Quartermaster smiles is when looking at the profits.

  6. Mathew Wang says:

    I like how the quartermaster only ever _slightly_ smiles at 5:37, when he’s looking at money

    • ratamacue0 says:

      Good eye! Aye.

    • manictiger says:

      You see mere gold, but I see the health of the ship, its company and its crew. I see our reputation. I see bigger cannons and better shot. I see better food that lasts longer, as we venture further and further into new riches to plunder. I see opportunity. I see the seeds of a giant orchard waiting to be planted and grown. I do not just see mere gold.

  7. Mimi Kal says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard anyone use the word “thusly”.

  8. Juno0016 says:

    CGP Grey: “These videos show us that pirates aren’t like the movies.”
    Also CGP Grey: “I wonder what BGM I should use for these videos…”

    • Mr. GreenLighter says:

      Next Video: TUMBLEWEED!!!

    • Sigvulcanas says:

      Not only are they different from what we see in the movies, they often worked FOR the Empire and not against it. Britain was well known for issuing Letters of Marque that gave permission to people to be privateers. To their enemies, they were pirates. Sir Francis Drake was very famous pirate/privateer and war hero.

  9. Ognjen Jankovic says:

    Damn, Grey, we’ll never know if he becomes a pirate.

    • Sorcerer's Apprentice says:

      He traveled back through time and became a quartermaster on an English privateer ship turned pirate.

  10. Benjamin Lambert says:

    “So what’d you get your degree in?”
    “Pirate Economics”

  11. Benjamin Lambert says:

    “So you’re a pirate?”
    “I prefer the term ‘maritime entrepreneur.'”

    • j.oz says:

      “Thief” is the correct term.

    • sirBrouwer says:

      @Live The Future a privateer is not a pirate. the privateer has a host nation that they can still call home.
      the privateer has a agreement that they where aloud to attack ships of enemy nations with the agreement to share the bounty with that nation. the nation would give the privateer a safe harbour.

      a pirate did nit

    • idkusername says:

      sirBrouwer well, yes… that’s what being a state sanctioned pirate means…

      Memes aside, yes, privateers actually are pirates. Pirating is the act of looting a ship, and that was essentially what they did. It doesn’t matter whether they agreed to restrict their target pool or if they were sponsored.

    • Ragnar says:

      JollyJuice TLA?

    • che Mokni says:

      @AverageBlonde they r more like socialists ;dividing the wealth in equal share , communism doesn’t use money

  12. Joe Arcamonte says:

    I feel like the justification that “if we don’t do it someone else will” is the beginning of a lot of really questionable decisions.

    • Max Michalik says:

      Also known as capitalism.

    • Veylon's Channel says:

      Yes. But also consider that if you want to make the thing being done stop, no amount of blaming/removing the person currently doing it is enough. Hanging lots of pirates doesn’t stop piracy all by itself.

  13. Alejandro Nasif Salum says:

    “So, if there’s no surgeon, the carpenter will be surgeon.”


  14. sprightlyoaf says:

    “Saw skills? Why did he put saw skills in the matrix?”
    2 minutes later:
    “Oh. Oh dear.”

    • FredBrioche says:

      remember he put “yarr” in too

    • Sef Era says:

      Yea, that’s not a bone saw. That’s a wood saw, using that to cut off a limb is a good way to get dead. You want a lot of fine teeth, not a few big ones.

      But then, this is me it the 21st century, is a 1st world country, saying this. You do what you have to do to survive.

    • The Gurw says:

      @Sef Era any good carpenter will have a rough saw for large cuts and a fine saw for finish joinery (surprisingly important as a shipwright back in the day). The fine-toothed saw, assuming properly cleaned (conveniently, a little soap and brine works pretty well), it would be serviceable as a bone saw.

    • Saberus Terras says:

      It’s really only in the past century or so that surgeons didn’t immediately jump to amputation for battle-related injury. They were called sawbones for a reason.

  15. King Utopus says:

    How to be a pirate: Crew edition when?

  16. 5ilver42 says:

    “or, How To Start A Small Business.”

  17. Last Giant says:

    The customers of piracy aren’t the victims, the customers are the fences willing to buy discounted stolen goods.

    The victims are “suppliers” subject to “intensive negotiating tactics”

    • Justin S says:

      You sound like you have a degree in marketing (from the PR expertise, not the economics).

    • ratamacue0 says:

      I thought that initially, too. But then, these “customers” give the servicers money.

    • Ragnar says:

      There may not necessarily be fences though. They might just bury their treasure of exchange it for food/resources.

    • Max Michalik says:

      @Ragnar Some ships just carried/carry around a lot of money, but for most the transport of value was something else.

    • Jason Schuler says:

      @Ragnar It’s a myth that pirates buried their treasure. It may have happened very rarely, but pirates didn’t expect to live very long, so they pretty much spent their -booty- treasure on alcohol and women as quickly as possible.

  18. Kayraaa2 says:

    6:03 It should be noted that “Pirate-friendly ports” were a product of the same economy as… pirates. You’ll find good examples not in the Caribbean but in the poor, underdeveloped and *shallow* ports of North Africa, where legal trade was… unviable. Some ports were just doomed to being “pirate friendly” because of their geography. Such ports were frequented by Ottoman pirates and the pirates’ booty (which includes vital supplies that are much harder to buy legally) fed the ports.

    P.S. Do note that I’m just paraphrasing Turkish historian Emrah Safa Gürkan.

  19. AirEv says:

    If you are interested with stuff like this (i.e: analytical explanation on fun historical stuff) then you might also want to check GREGORIUS Yamada’s “The Dragon, the Hero, and the Courier”. It’s a fun manga about a fantasy world where the logic of the real (cruel) world still exists.

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