Tag Archives: BoingBoing

Unnoticed Impact of the US Recession

Yes, we’re in a recession. And it’s going to get a whole lot worse.

But the main reason I post is to send readers through the Internets to a Grace Undressed-a well-written and in-depth blog by a stripper, which I came across probably via BoingBoingpost on how strippers are massively crunched in the current economic situation. The anecdotal-based point of the post is that less people are going to strip clubs and spending less. Not only is this interesting insight into the adult services industry, but it is a simple and low-level (i.e., no more trickling to be done) example of how much trouble U.S. consumers are in.

On the economies of adult services, I have argued for some time that strippers must be a huge source of U.S. productivity increases (assuming that their incomes correctly make their way into the relevant statistics). Consider the fact that their income is predominately tip based and, unlike waiters and waitresses, not based on a percentage of another good (e.g., food) that can increase in price (given inflation, etc.). Furthermore, the form of currency constrains their income stream. That is, a buck per dance per gent is traditional because you can’t slip coins into a garter belt but there’s only moderate incentive for the viewer to provide more dollars per dance. As a result, strippers probably had a much higher labor value years ago than today.

Because of the diminishing value of their labor (i.e., one dance has been, is, and probably will generate one dollar per viewer), they must work much harder to maintain the same quality of life. This squeeze is why I suspect they are a major contributor to productivity growth.

Of course, this isn’t a robust argument. It’s an analysis of logic with almost no case studies (let alone large-n datasets). Furthermore, people are probably providing more than one dollar per dance, meaning that a stripper’s income is more correlated to inflation/price changes than I make it out to be in this post. Last, the likely emergence and growth of additional services (e.g., VIP rooms, table service, non-sexual escorting) mean that strippers have probably found new more profitable revenue streams that make up for lower margins (just like any other successful business).

In any event, it’s a stimulating issue to think about.

De-Geekify Tech and Law

One of the largest problems we face is a lack of organized lobbying on behalf of the everyday tech industry. The amount of ignorance–and not malicious intent–is stunning and contributing to dangerous trends. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the most recent mind-blowing examples of what I mean:

  • The US Air Force issues DMCA take down notices for a promotional video: Um, it’s a promo video guys. And don’t forget the government can’t copyright anything.
  • The FBI has unlimited access to cell phone data: There is an assumption underlying the debate about US wiretapping authority that the US government can either have unfettered access (That’s why the telecoms need immunity!) or none (Those who want to limit government wiretapping abilities are terrorists!). Have that many people forgotten we have process in place that allow the government access when established criteria are met and that both companies and the government should be punished when they do not operate within those processes and meet those criteria?)
  • TSA Specs for a Safe Bag for Bringing Laptops on Planes: Here are some terror-fying Soviet-like design specs for a bag the TSA would approve so you don’t have to drag your laptop out of its case upon search.