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War for profit: macroculture, corsairs and partnership companies

Kyriazis, Nicholas and Metaxas, Theodore (2012): War for profit: macroculture, corsairs and partnership companies.

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Abstract

In the present paper we propose that in states with relatively weak central authorities, decision makers had to develop market oriented organisation solutions to successfully face a grave external threat, and these solutions proved to be efficient. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines institutional theory, history and strategy, we analyse the concept of macroculture and then a case study, the use of corsairs (privateers) by England and the United Provinces (Dutch Republic) in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. We also propose that the development of partnership companies went hand in hand for commercial and military purposes. Lastly, we suggest that a market led decentralised type of war as practiced by English and Dutch privateers proved to be economically efficient and superior to the centrally planed war operations of the Spanish empire.

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