The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0270  Tuesday, 8 February 2000.

From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 07 Feb 2000 19:17:36 -0500
Subject: 11.0260 Re: Money and Prostitution
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0260 Re: Money and Prostitution

Clifford Stetner attributes the decline in the number of $20
streetwalkers in Manhattan to some sort of capitalist conspiracy to
favor the rich, "who can afford to visit a prostitute."   A moment's
thought reveals the fallacy.  A twenty-dollar bill was harder to come by
and was worth more when there was no shortage of street hookers willing
to earn it with a smile.  The current comparative shortage of $20 whores
in New York is due to Mayor Giuliani's crackdown on sumptuary and
aesthetic crime.  Perhaps this does favor those citizens who can afford
take out service rather than drive-ins; but does Comrade Cliff advocate
a return to the old ways or nationalization of the industry with free
service to those who meet a means test?

Stetner is right about one thing, however much it pains me to say so.
There never was any set price for prostitute service, except perhaps
when it was supplied by the temples as a matter of rite or fixed by
union fiat (there was a guild of prostitutes in Rome, wasn't there?).
It is the classic instance of a basic service costing more or less
depending on the frills.  But that does not mean that it can't be used
as a yardstick of comparative cost.  If we can establish the price in
obols, shekels, denarii, guilder and pence of the basic straight quickie
without a room at various times, we may very well have the universal

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