Money Changes Behavior

This post by Robin Hanson got me thinking about how the sex starved could get sex in a way that isn’t a violation of someone’s rights. The idea that there are people who simply don’t deserve sex strikes me as something that can be solved. There should be a way to overcome that limitation. Ah, yes, the exchange of goods and services between consenting parties!

What is curious to me about prostitution is the idea that in paying an escort for companionship, the escort’s behavior is changed as a result of the transfer of money. This is a person who wouldn’t otherwise sleep with the john, but does so for the money. In doing so, the attitude of the escort is often different than it would be were it not for the money. It seems reasonable that an escort would find a person repugnant, but the money is enough for her to overcome her reluctance and sleep with the john.

But the John, even knowing that her behavior is an artifice, is nevertheless free to interact with the escort as though her behavior is genuine. Her behavior is genuine given the involvement of money in the interaction. He’s paying for her to behave a certain way. The idea that a person behaves differently  in different contexts, particularly those that involve the transfer of money, is simple for most people to understand, having lived that every day they go to work.

So the idea that people are a certain way, and that they often project an image that is different than their reality is romantic but probably not very useful. If the person who’s working for you would rather be at the bar drinking or at home playing video games or sleeping but they aren’t, what does it matter?

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