The business of Prostitution in Australia is doing well. There are public companies with chains of brothels, active recruiting campaigns and advertising campaigns for their many services. Local businesses buy gift certificates for brothel services as prizes for Employee of the Month, etc. Legal prostitution is apparently a considerable tourist draw, or at least something of a balancer compared to Thailand and the Philippines.
Despite being legal, there are enough restrictions that only a minority of Australia’s sex workers work in a legal brothel. That is the normal balance for legalizing sex- and drug-related businesses, allow a fig-leaf so polite society can ignore the realities, adopt all of the problems of the legal version with none of the benefits of eliminating the illegal. (Wouldn’t want to put cops, bail bondsmen, lawyers or judges out of business.)
The trend to legalization of commercial sex is tracking that of recreational drugs. It also tracks drugs’ price and quality trends.
My wife won’t let me do the research, so I can’t comment on quality trends in legal sexual services in Australia or Japan or the completely-illegal equivalents here at home. However, 10 minutes on the net illuminate the trends in pornography : more of it by very many ever-more-beautiful ever-younger-looking performers doing ever-more extreme things in ever-higher video definition and ever-better video quality (none of the girls have a blemish, post-production videoshopping has gotten cheap, I didn’t notice the guys) with ever-better expression of extreme pleasure (sometimes almost convincing).
Pollyannish optimist that I am, I see a bright side of all that. Fundamental sources* of real human satisfaction are improving in price and quality simultaneously.**
Those trends are opposite to those in most of the rest of our existence, as fiat currencies decline in purchasing power and all goods denominated in them come to have ever-higher prices for ever-declining quality.
Extrapolating these trends slightly, one can anticipate that Sadie’s Brothel BJCertificates will begin to replace currencies, as the amount of currency in circulation outpaces that of Sadie’s BJCs bought but not yet redeemed***. Being of intrinsic value relative to the local currency, of convenient value for everyday commerce, and people economizing in hard economic times, Sadie’s BJCs and other script-certificates will soon be accepted at the grocery store and gas station, just as food stamps and other gift-economy certificates are now.
Soon thereafter, Mrs. Miller down the street will start offering 2-for-1 on Sadie’s BJCs (she can trade one for a case of soup and provides relative value to the redeemer) and some Mrs. Miller’s will issue their own scripts. Then, smart business people on the Internet will start making markets. Smart-phone applications will follow. Bit-coin technologies will handle the counterfeiting problem and making the certificates transferable electronically. Payment systems will extend the range of currencies they handle. Day traders will try to manipulate the markets using social media.
New businesses will arise to manage the manipulations, the equivalent of inspectors and reviewers, then banks.****
Add Bill Clinton’s strict definition of sex and another 5 years of cultural change (trying to be neutral here), we can expect high school kids to be rewarding each other for exemplary conduct with .1 bjcs. A whole culture of dealing in this fundamental value will develop, legends of the smart kid who cornered the market in Molly’s script, a section of the high school year-book devoted to the ebb and flow of fortunes, older men showing up at high school reunions shyly wanting to redeem an old certificate from a classmate, an explosion of complexity in adult-student relationships, movies and tv programs about all those and many more in many versions, the cultural momentum of existing trends makes such cultural explosions inevitable, …
Over the next few years, I expect that such scripts will Gresham all fiat currencies, and every human’s labor will be for love.
*Three other great individual pleasures are available to us at ever-decreasing prices and in ever-increasing quality : music, video and discussion. All available via Internet, all increasing in quality and falling in cost. From St. Luke’s Bottle Band through Andre Rieu, all the comments we read and write, the range of cultural and intellectual experiences available to the average person is ever-better and ever-larger. People are a lot more sophisticated about all kinds of things in 2015 than they were in 2005.
Note that this all happened without any government program. These trends to real value will bring this corrupt system down, we only need wait.
**Mostly legally, and far better in human terms than managed by many prior societies in many times. (Possibly not as good as some, but that history I have not read.)
***Important point, that. It is an automatic adjustment to the value of the currency. At any moment the intrinsic is more valuable to the holder of the certificate than goods they can exchange it for, the BJC can be redeemed satisfactorily. Likewise, the certificates can be exchanged for each other, so those being redeemed will tend to the the lowest in intrinsic value, and so Sadie’s script will be average as good as Sally’s. The very best combination of market, meritocracy and transparency, neoliberals will love it.
It has not escaped my notice that personal-issue currency has a shelf-life and that fact will prevent hoarding and the Keynesian’s hypothetical savings trap. Probably too much to hope for the Nobel for this.
****This will, of course, also get out of control and all of the joy of sex crushed out of life.