The Freakonomics of Politics and Prostitution

Freakonomics blog featured a short interview with one of the practitioners of the oldest profession in the world. Very
interesting, especially with the Spitzer fiasco hogging the headlines.

Q. How would you describe your typical client?

My clients are generally white, married, and professional males,
between 40 and 50 years old, with incomes over $100,000 a year. They
tend to be doctors, lawyers, and businessmen looking to get away for a
few hours in the middle of the day.

Q. Are
there any generalizations you can make about clients from different
industries — i.e., doctors vs. lawyers vs. politicians, etc.?

I have had politicians as clients, but never someone of [Spitzer’s]
stature. I think it should be noted that politics is a little unusual
as a profession, since politicians tend to have enemies, who have lots
of power. This makes politicians different from most corporate
executives or lawyers or even professional athletes. I couldn’t say I
could classify my clients by their chosen profession. That being said,
I think it’s clear that clients with more disposable cash are willing
to spend more money if they think their privacy will be protected.

[read more]

Speaking of Spitzer, though disappointing, I’m not surprised at all. At least the guy has the integrity to take responsibility for his actions and resign. But powerful men sleeping
with prostitutes a big news? Please. Only naive people are shocked by
such "news." This is another case in point on the paradox of power.

What I found appalling (though not at all surprising) about the Spitzer incident is how skewed politics and the media are. Apparently,
one’s political career is over if one gets caught hooking up with prostitutes, but
plunging the entire country into a war based on lies, screwing up the economy, slowing down scientific progress, lack of environmental policies, alienating the country from geopolitics, and then some more are not career-limiting moves. Oh, the hypocricy! This photo sums up my point eloquently.