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Colonel Bonkers

The Economist

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At last, some completely penetrating truth about the trade with which we are concerned.. Oh joy unbridled!

And how very appropriate that the Economist should so publish. As I've said for years - these are commercial matters, the dealings betwixt fuckor and fuckee.

Let the good times roll!

 

Uncle Pokey

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They've been saying this sort of thing on and off for years, Uncle. Though, with the whole world going up in flames, they do seem to have chosen an odd time to make it their cover story.

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WOW - two brilliant articles

 

Well found Mr Bloom

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Great articles - love the nerdy infographics!

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You should read the tweets from Laura Augustin about the economist article.   Not at all complementary.  White Male writers, and prostitution existed before the internet.

 

I do wonder about the cost of a London white escort being so high?  Where do they get these figures.

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Enjoyed both of these articles : as well as being unusual for their impartial and unjudgemental viewpoint, I think they also describe a revolution in sexual behaviour as internet technologies enable individuals to connect to each other anonymously, to make whatever arrangements they choose, without fear of moralistic condemnation or reprisal from the rest of society. 

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You should read the tweets from Laura Augustin about the economist article.   Not at all complementary.  White Male writers, and prostitution existed before the internet.

 

I do wonder about the cost of a London white escort being so high?  Where do they get these figures.

Hi Elrond,

I have not seen the tweets from Laura Augustine you mention but, for what it is worth, the article referred to seven different studies, three of which were conducted by men, four of which were conducted by women. Also, we don't know who wrote the leader and the main article. I am not sure that the gender of the writer matters, as the Economist (and FT) are refreshingly old-fashioned enough to focus on quality of content rather than the personal attributes of the writer. (Yes, I am a crusty old git, and getting unashamedly crustier!)

As to where they get the pricing figures...apart from the purely personal observation that (if true) some people have a lot more money to burn than I do (but mine is spent very wisely, so I don't feel I am missing out on anything!), the leader said they had "dissected data...from one big international site that hosts 190,000 profiles". A possible candidate could be AW, whose servers I understand are based in the US. I imagine the price information would come from published rate cards and FRs.

Bear in mind the prices are all in dollars, so the London rate of $280 equates to about £175. The table also refers to "average" prices , which I take to be the mean price (sum total of all prices divided by the number of prices). That intuitively seems about right...many escorts in desirable postcodes (with their associated high rents) charge a lot more, while those in the 'burbs charge considerably less.

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They've been saying this sort of thing on and off for years, Uncle. Though, with the whole world going up in flames, they do seem to have chosen an odd time to make it their cover story.

Yes, I agree, timing appears odd compared to the unfolding horrors in the Middle East. However, an acquaintance of mine who works at the FT says that many features are prepared well in advance and are then filed to wait for a publishing slot. I guess that the editors of the Economist thought that since summer is generally light on news, August would be a suitable slot.

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You should read the tweets from Laura Augustin about the economist article.   Not at all complementary.  White Male writers, and prostitution existed before the internet.

 

I do wonder about the cost of a London white escort being so high?  Where do they get these figures.

This is what I was wondering also. Are we in the UK undercharging compared to the rest of the west possibly as other than london and some indies the average here is lower than their lowest figures. I have known girls in the past who travel around to different countries doing this job, staying a week here and a week there then rotating around again through 4 or 5 various countries. The most common comments were that

 

i) they can charge a lot more

ii) its safer because of the set ups there (in one country is actually illegal to present yourself for a booking to an escort with an STI so the girls can and will call the police on you)

iii) its illegal so you can charge a LOT more but they dont know anyone who was ever arrested.(iceland at the time was that country)

 

The only country I met girls who had an issue in was Ireland and if they were raided in their hotel room they had their money taken from them.  

Edited by Chloe Kisses

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We bought a copy of the Economist on Saturday when the front page caught our eye

The Sex business,I have to say the article is the best I have read about our business

And the analysis and the graphs are brilliant and I would back up there findings

The fact that money for services has come down in recent years I can confirm

we have been charging the same prices for the last 10 year so in real terms the

Ladies and agency are making way less than 10 year ago

The magazine is a more in depth study than the online version

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we have been charging the same prices for the last 10 year so in real terms the

Ladies and agency are making way less than 10 year ago

 

Join the club :(

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Hi Elrond,

I have not seen the tweets from Laura Augustine you mention but, for what it is worth, the article referred to seven different studies, three of which were conducted by men, four of which were conducted by women. Also, we don't know who wrote the leader and the main article. I am not sure that the gender of the writer matters, as the Economist (and FT) are refreshingly old-fashioned enough to focus on quality of content rather than the personal attributes of the writer. (Yes, I am a crusty old git, and getting unashamedly crustier!)

As to where they get the pricing figures...apart from the purely personal observation that (if true) some people have a lot more money to burn than I do (but mine is spent very wisely, so I don't feel I am missing out on anything!), the leader said they had "dissected data...from one big international site that hosts 190,000 profiles". A possible candidate could be AW, whose servers I understand are based in the US. I imagine the price information would come from published rate cards and FRs.

Bear in mind the prices are all in dollars, so the London rate of $280 equates to about £175. The table also refers to "average" prices , which I take to be the mean price (sum total of all prices divided by the number of prices). That intuitively seems about right...many escorts in desirable postcodes (with their associated high rents) charge a lot more, while those in the 'burbs charge considerably less.

 

Great response to a quibbler about an amazing leader and detailed article about our 'hobby' - Hats off to The Economist, Mr Bloom and yourself! 

 

I just returned from holiday yesterday to find this edition amidst the heap of mail that had poured through our mail slot while we were away and was stunned when I saw 'The Sex Industry' as the cover story.  (Of course, I quickly spirited it away to read privately, which I now have done).  I was delighted to note that both Adultwork and Punternet received due credit for their contributions to The Enlightenment but believe that the big international site referred to may have been TER (The Erotic Review), which mainly focuses on the US but also has a reasonable 'London' section.  (I used TER for awhile but abandoned it years ago, mainly because I disliked their forced encouragement to substitute luridity and hyperbole for factuality when submitting reviews, in order to gain free membership and thereby access to specific details about the SPs reviewed).  And I was a bit surprised at the price gap between white and black SPs, though I suspect that this may partially be due to the fact that a higher percentage of ebony beauties appear to be independents than white gals.  But, overall, I was delighted to find an intelligent and unbiased discussion of the sex industry, a real rarity these days.

Edited by Tiggy 7
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This is what I was wondering also. Are we in the UK undercharging compared to the rest of the west possibly as other than london and some indies the average here is lower than their lowest figures. I have known girls in the past who travel around to different countries doing this job, staying a week here and a week there then rotating around again through 4 or 5 various countries. The most common comments were that

 

i) they can charge a lot more

ii) its safer because of the set ups there (in one country is actually illegal to present yourself for a booking to an escort with an STI so the girls can and will call the police on you)

iii) its illegal so you can charge a LOT more but they dont know anyone who was ever arrested.(iceland at the time was that country)

 

The only country I met girls who had an issue in was Ireland and if they were raided in their hotel room they had their money taken from them.  

 

I am not sure whether this is universally true but, at least in London, it seems like a higher percentage of Black WGs have gone 'indie' and use in-call locations away from the prime London postal code areas than White WGs.  And I would bet that the bulk of the British WGs upon which the article based its pricing statistics are based in London.  You could probably use the AW search function to develop your own statistics for 'Milton Keynes' or the 'Southeast' to gauge what your competition is charging.

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I suspect that this may partially be due to the fact that a higher percentage of ebony beauties appear to be independents than white gals.  But, overall, I was delighted to find an intelligent and unbiased discussion of the sex industry, a real rarity these days.

 

 

I suspect the price difference especially in the US between black and white is straight forward racism.  Colored people being marganlised in crap jobs, forced by poor job prospects into selling sex..  America is on a tinder box, look what has been happening in St Louis 

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hey folks..been a while..I popped into specifically to see if this Economist analysis sparked debate on punting forums back over the pond (I'm based in US these days);

Great response to a quibbler about an amazing leader and detailed article about our 'hobby' - Hats off to The Economist, Mr Bloom and yourself! 

 

I just returned from holiday yesterday to find this edition amidst the heap of mail that had poured through our mail slot while we were away and was stunned when I saw 'The Sex Industry' as the cover story.  (Of course, I quickly spirited it away to read privately, which I now have done).  I was delighted to note that both Adultwork and Punternet received due credit for their contributions to The Enlightenment but believe that the big international site referred to may have been TER (The Erotic Review), which mainly focuses on the US but also has a reasonable 'London' section.  (I used TER for awhile but abandoned it years ago, mainly because I disliked their forced encouragement to substitute luridity and hyperbole for factuality when submitting reviews, in order to gain free membership and thereby access to specific details about the SPs reviewed).  And I was a bit surprised at the price gap between white and black SPs, though I suspect that this may partially be due to the fact that a higher percentage of ebony beauties appear to be independents than white gals.  But, overall, I was delighted to find an intelligent and unbiased discussion of the sex industry, a real rarity these days.

Tiggy- you're correct, the data was cleaved from The Erotic Review (TER)...while AW is large, it's a fraction of size of TER esp re the eleven global cities that info was collected from. Two other aspects confirm it's TER: the article speaks to the source forum being founded in 1999 (check the wiki entry for TER;-> ) & mentions legal environment prohibiting them from being prepared to be named (TER is controlled via a US entity, regardless of where it's servers are, they'll never openly self-identify in any media published in States).

 

Anyhoo.... this has generated much conversation across TER & additional punting forums here in the ahem land o' the free, ranging from observations around falling prices to the proposed observation that breast augmentation may pay for itself in ~90hours for a working girl.

 

Btw- if you think London is expensive, the analysis shows something that US punters have anecdotally known for some time- the median price for an Escort in Boston is the highest of any global city in that survey (many people assume the wealthiest places in US are Silicon Valley/Beverly Hills/upper west side of Manhattan etc...but Dover (suburb 15miles south of downtown Boston) is the richest town in the US!

 

To briefly address the racial disparity mentioned in article..an educated guess suggests that this is indeed skewed by the US data..(not endorsing any "value" statement in following, merely observing something widely acknowledged on punting forums etc here in US)- black providers tend to earn less than white girls!!

Edited by FredDeHead

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I'd love to see celebrated economist Tom Sowell disentangle the disparity between prices for working girls based on race. Alas, he probably has other things to do.

 

Based on the arguments advanced in this link it's likely that a black skinned degree educated apartment-based solo sex worker commands the same price or slightly better than a white skinned degree educated apartment-based solo sex worker, and that a black skinned street-walker with dependency issues and little education would earn the same as her white-skinned equivalent.

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http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/2160525-IS-The-Internet-Making-Prostitution-Safer

 

Bumsnet Mumsnet are also talking about the Economist article (and as usual they disagree).

Confession time - Curiosity about MySlave's post led me to visit Mumsnet. I had never visited before and now feel rather tainted by the experience. They appear to have no shame whatsoever in posting really bad arguments...bad in the way that would earn you a fail in AS level Critical Thinking. Their particular flavour of mildewy self-righteousness reminds me of one of my favourite quotations, the sharing of which is really the point of this post. It is from Blue Highways of America by William Least-Heat Moon, where he describes Woodstock as "a town where the women's skirts are as neat as mortuary lawns".

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Great response to a quibbler about an amazing leader and detailed article about our 'hobby' - Hats off to The Economist, Mr Bloom and yourself! 

 

I just returned from holiday yesterday to find this edition amidst the heap of mail that had poured through our mail slot while we were away and was stunned when I saw 'The Sex Industry' as the cover story.  (Of course, I quickly spirited it away to read privately, which I now have done).  I was delighted to note that both Adultwork and Punternet received due credit for their contributions to The Enlightenment but believe that the big international site referred to may have been TER (The Erotic Review), which mainly focuses on the US but also has a reasonable 'London' section.  (I used TER for awhile but abandoned it years ago, mainly because I disliked their forced encouragement to substitute luridity and hyperbole for factuality when submitting reviews, in order to gain free membership and thereby access to specific details about the SPs reviewed).  And I was a bit surprised at the price gap between white and black SPs, though I suspect that this may partially be due to the fact that a higher percentage of ebony beauties appear to be independents than white gals.  But, overall, I was delighted to find an intelligent and unbiased discussion of the sex industry, a real rarity these days.

 

As a follow-up to The Economist article, here are the relevant 'Letters to the Editor' in the current edition:

 

The oldest profession

 

SIR – From my experience as a former escort, the middle- to high-end sex markets, those which operate online, are well self-regulated and better left alone (“A personal choice”, August 9th). Moral and legal barriers deter the half-hearted. I would compare online escorting to the art market; we have customs that are respected and upheld by participants. When anyone, client or sex worker, threatens the health or peace of the industry, everyone finds out. Thus far, government intervention and shutdowns have only jeopardised worker safety, and are ineffective in combating sex work or sex trafficking.

Legalisation may increase safety but would flood the market. Increased supply would lower prices, but more importantly (or selfishly) mass commercialisation would threaten our niche of companionship and completely dominate the sex industry. (In America we probably associate escorting with companionship more so than in Britain.) I know from my own experience that some men search for sex only because it is the most tangible approximation of what they desire—privacy, adventure, or intimacy. In a highly commercialised market, these men would suffer choice fatigue and exit.

 

Anais Yeung

Chicago

 

 

SIR – Your briefing on prostitution (“More bang for your buck”, August 9th) did not take into account what has been learnt from the Swedish model. In contrast to what you claim, we have not seen an increase in street prostitution after criminalising the buying of sex instead of its sale. In fact, our decision to penalise the client and not the prostitute has led not only to a decrease in demand for sex but also to a change in attitudes among the Swedish public. Today, buying sex is generally less accepted and internationally Sweden is considered more or less as a dead market.

Our legislation departs from the fact that the sex market is manifestly an unequal distribution of power, in which the person who is selling sex is reduced to merchandise on a market, an aspect of the sex trade that you sadly chose to exclude.

 

Maria Arnholm

Sweden’s minister for gender equality

Stockholm

 

 

SIR – Legislation similar to that in Sweden which criminalises the purchase of sex not only makes life more dangerous for those providing their services, it also raises an anomaly in common law. If two parties, neither being a victim, engage in a mutually agreed activity, during which one is committing a criminal offence, the second party is liable to a charge of “aiding and abetting”, or conspiracy. If only one party is prosecuted, the principal of equality under the law is abrogated.

 

Anthony Townsend

Paphos, Cyprus

 

 

SIR – You gave the impression that prostitution is based mostly on women’s freedom of choice. That sounds liberal, progressive and positive. By the same logic, do you think it is right that people should sell their organs? Should they not also be allowed to decide freely about what they do with their bodies? The answer is no, because we all know why it is not a free choice.

 

C. Berg

Geneva

 

 

SIR – You say, “Review sites bring trustworthy customer feedback to the commercial-sex trade for the first time.” Yet experiences with other industries show that the ability to post anonymous feedback online creates highly unreliable information. There are the petty reviewers who view every minor shortcoming in service as an opportunity to vilify or destroy the reputation of a business. Worse in terms of dependability are the shills who post sycophantic reviews as a result of an undeclared personal or professional relationship with the business. For those reasons it seems unlikely that online feedback in the sex industry will improve the experience for consumers or providers.

 

Dinesh Panch

London

 

 

SIR – The business-boosting role of the internet in the sex trade is simply an updated version of “Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies”. In the 18th century, as in the present day, it was a way to advertise and dehumanise women, ignore their personal circumstances and reduce them to commodities.

 

Caroline Frankau

London

 

 

SIR – You take it as axiomatic that prostitutes will become more empowered as the internet makes pimps obsolete. But it is equally plausible that pimps could consolidate their power in a legitimised market with resources greater than any independent prostitute.

Ed Dewhirst-Prescott

 

Newcastle

20140809_FBP002_290.jpg

 

 

SIR – Little time was spent in your reporting on documenting the abuse most prostitutes experience before “choosing” to enter the sex trade, or on the destructive impact that extramarital sex has on many families. Criminalising sex is often unproductive, but perhaps offering counselling and support to both sides of the sex business would be more beneficial rather than pretending that sex is just another marketplace product.

 

Patrick Vrooman

New York

 

 

SIR – I am a huge fan of The Economist and mostly agree with you that those who wish to buy and sell sex ought to be able to do so within the law. However, your articles were of questionable taste. In particular, the subtitle “The invisible hand-job” and the headline “More bang for your buck”, struck an inappropriately flippant tone, given that this is an industry that often places women in frightening, humiliating and degrading situations, even when regulated.

It was also depressing to see a chart marking up the relative prices of anal sex, or of spitting or swallowing during oral sex. Again, the industry often demeans those who work in it, and it was a shame to see The Economist wallow in such graphic details.

More sensitivity was required and you should have avoided giving the impression of titillating readers and objectifying sex workers. Many sex workers remain extremely vulnerable.

 

William Shaw

London 

 

 

SIR – Your newspaper has come up with a brilliant solution to low wages, lack of child care and educational opportunities, rape and sexual assault. The bottom line is to accept payment for having a penis shoved in one’s mouth, vagina, or anus. Enlarging one’s breasts, getting a better hair stylist and going to the gym would also be helpful. This may be the first time a Nobel prize in economics and physiology will be awarded to the same person.

 

Marlene Friis

New Orleans

 

 

SIR – The Economist has long supported the legalisation of controlled drugs and you have now advocated the same for sexual services. As the tax haul from the traditional sin products of tobacco, alcohol and petrol is reducing, placing a tax on cocaine and sexual services makes sound economic sense.

 

Timothy St Ather

London

 

 

SIR – Perhaps The Economist could come up with a Sex Exchange index (SEXi). Like the Big Mac index, it would measure an internationally standardised service that is universally available.

 

Terry Burke

Melbourne

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As a follow-up to The Economist article, here are the relevant 'Letters to the Editor' in the current edition:

. . .

 

 

SIR – Your briefing on prostitution (“More bang for your buck”, August 9th) did not take into account what has been learnt from the Swedish model. In contrast to what you claim, we have not seen an increase in street prostitution after criminalising the buying of sex instead of its sale. In fact, our decision to penalise the client and not the prostitute has led not only to a decrease in demand for sex but also to a change in attitudes among the Swedish public. Today, buying sex is generally less accepted and internationally Sweden is considered more or less as a dead market.

Our legislation departs from the fact that the sex market is manifestly an unequal distribution of power, in which the person who is selling sex is reduced to merchandise on a market, an aspect of the sex trade that you sadly chose to exclude.

 

Maria Arnholm

Sweden’s minister for gender equality

Stockholm

 

This one stood out for the crafty nature of the author.

I remember once someone deconstructing a Shirley Williams speech to show that when a politician says the same questionable thing in three different ways the thing gains authority as well as the speaker.

 

In Sweden they surveyed men who said they'd paid for sex before and after the law change. The % has gone down. Of those who said they have paid. There was no control group offered showing the differences between people prepared to say they'd done something else before and after criminalisation.

The survey outcome justifies the three claims by the Swedish minister for gender equality:

-demand has decreased

-attitudes have changed

-buying sex is generally less accepted.

 

If IKEA started doing 3 for 1 deals like this, they'd be broke pretty quick.

 

Her other data are very questionable:

Did the economist really claim that street prostitution had gone up in Sweden?

Is the sex market really more equal because of criminalisation, an environment where WGs cannot discreetly negotiate their virtue with law-abiding clients, or share premises for practicality and safety?

Is the Swedish market any more or less dead than before criminalisation when they already had very low levels of known sex working?

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