Friday, March 14, 2008

If Prostituion Were Legal, Would You Want That Job

Megan McArdle takes on the question:
I've had a few people email me to ask "if prostitution is so great, how come you're not a prostitute?" Huh?

Look, first of all, there are lots of jobs that I would never want to do. I like to shoot a little hoops now and again, but I would never, ever want to be a professional basketball player. Nor would any of my friends--I mean, they might like to be Michael Jordan, but they wouldn't want to do the actual job of spending hours a day running up and down a court, practicing shots, and lifting weights. I do not therefore consider myself qualified to proclaim that no one in the entire world wants to be a professional basketball player.

Second of all, can we all concede that at least part of the reason that women do not want to be prostitutes is that there is a severe social stigma attached to women who are promiscuous, and particularly to women who rent their promiscuity to men--a stigma far, far greater than that which attaches to their clients?
There are places where prostitution is legal in Nevada and there are rules. As Ann Althouse asks:
Would you consider a career in prostitution? Assume reasonable benefits: great pay, excellent health care, a safe, well-run workplace, interesting colleagues. Would you?
It is a fair question.

So let's assume that Althouse's working conditions would be present. Those working conditions cost money and thus the cost of the prostitutes services, male or female, are likewise more expensive. Does the increased costs and I assume regulatory protections for the worker and the client, make the profession more palatable? My guess is yes, there will be a segment of the population, male and female, willing to take on that profession, just a there are those willing to engage in the work now without the legal sanction.

Althouse's commenters wonder if the prostitution profession is something that is good for society and it is a legitimate question, but beyond the scope. The question is whether there would be people willing to work in the trade.

If you want to know how people in the trade view themselves, talk to the professionals at brothels around the world. It is not simply an academic exercise.

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