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Forget Wall Street, You Can Be A Real Pirate

Pirate Flag
Photo: Nick Humphries
Pirate Flag

With companies around the world slashing jobs left and right, it's good to know that there's at least one growth industry left where hard work and ruthlessness still count for something: piracy.

Somali pirates recently got a $3.2 million ransom for returning a Ukrainian ship filled with Soviet-era weaponry. Last year they captured 42 ships in the Gulf of Aden, and they've captured at least three more so far in 2009!

Somalia is a long way from here, and it's hot and disorderly place, but if you've been laid-off, at least keep this idea in mind. So far I think only about five pirates have actually been captured, which is pretty good for a violent, illegal, not to mention reprehensible, business. The risk/reward seems much better than, say, being a drug mule.

Since there's not much in the way of a central government in Somalia, a perennial condition caused most recently by a U.S. backed invasion from Ethiopia, it's very difficult to catch pirates on land. It's only at sea where anyone is even trying to catch you.

Now the U.S., along with a host of other countries, have beefed up their naval presence in international waters in the Gulf of Aden where Somali pirates operate , but anyone who knows the history of piracy (call it a hobby...) understands that unless you can take out their safe-havens on land, you can't stop pirates at sea.

Being a modern-day pirate isn't flashy or glamorous, but at least these guys are making money, and they're probably less hated than investment bankers.

Questions? Comments? Send them to millennialmoney@cnbc.com