Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hard To Make Prostitutes Better Off By Turning Them Into Criminals

The asinine Twitter tag #realjobsnotblowjobs was trending yesterday. The earnest commentary was suffused with the bizarre assumption that there's a legitimate 1:1 tradeoff there. That is, if sex workers would just quit plying their trade, they'd pick up a "respectable" job and all would be well. Morality restored.

In other words, meddling moral ninnyhammers assume a BATNA.

Paternalist please. Calm yourself and ask if using the coercive force of the state to bar a peaceful transaction actually improves the available alternatives for the objects of your (misguided) disgusted pity. What exactly is it you think you're going to accomplish? How do you measure success? Have you even attempted to measure success? How do you hold yourself accountable for your interference?

1 comment:

  1. I think that the actual message of the #realjobsnotblowjobs hashtag was the idea that people become prostitutes because it's the only way they can make enough money to get by; that there are no euvoluntary options open to them. They are, essentially, coerced.

    The problem with the hashtag was that it lumped people coerced by circumstance (i.e. financial necessity) with people who are not. That's a valid criticism.

    But your criticism is actually exactly what the hashtag creators were, themselves, criticizing; that prostitution is a symptom of a society that has a problem with poverty.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?