Posted by Julia from dhcp100232.res-hall.northwestern.edu (126.96.36.199) on Thursday, June 06, 2002 at 3:06PM :
In Reply to: A friend's impressions... posted by Jeff from LTU-207-73-64-49.LTU.EDU (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, June 06, 2002 at 8:22AM :
Apparently the prostitutes get health care benefits, etc. like any other working fool gets. I suppose it is better to realize that you can't stop something and to legalize and regulate it than to let it get out of control illegally. I'm sure those women are living better lives than their counterparts in America.
>> That's some dangerous logic. "I suppose it is beter to realize that you can't stop something and to legalize and regulate it than to let it get out of control illegally." That of course says nothing about the legitimacy of the economic transaction itself, which requires a moral and not objective evaluation. Just because two consenting parties agree to an economic transaction does not mean that that transaction should be made legal. There are plenty of countries whose comparative advantage is cheap labor. When a firm decides to open sweatshops in a country because that country willingly lowered its wage and labor standards, does that mean it is legitimate?
What always amazes me is what my die hard capitalist friends say: no one is forcing a person to work in a sweatshop. similarly, no one is forcing the German or American woman to prostitute herself. So, if they willingly engage in the barter of their bodies or labor for wages, then what is the big deal? WHy get all squeamish about a transaction with mutually consenting parties?
My gut reaction is that most prostitutes and most sweatshop workers engage in the work they do because of a lack of alternatives. WHen people have a lack of alternatives they are willing to do anything to improve their material and physical existence.
THe important issue then is not the transaction itself, but the nature ofthe transaction and why they do this, and what additional costs are incurred when a woman sells her body in this kind of "profession."
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