Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Why capitalism hates consensual sex work

The great lie of capitalism is the myth of the entrepeneur.

We’re led to believe that the motive force of capitalism is the dynamism of the individual, the great man like Ford, Carnegie or Gates who founds an enterprise and leads it to success.

The reality of course is that, in every case, the founder ends up owning only a tithe of the business. As this article illustrates perfectly, even the most obviously influential entrepeneur can end up being threatened with removal from the company he founded. The first mission of capitalism, when it sees a business founded by an entrepeneur, is to find a way for capital to capture the business from the entrepeneur.

Sex workers are the antithesis of the capitalist model – they have no need for capital and can exist in a pre-capitalist way, earning enough to reproduce themselves and the tools of their trade without ever involving capital.

As an aside, there have been plenty of crime novel which have focussed around the travails of sex workers who try to expand their business and end up being shafted by the providers of the necessary capital – Robert B Parker has exlored this theme, and Lawrence Sanders wrote the Seduction of Peter S in the 70s.

If I’m right in this analysis, capitalism must prefer forms of prostitution that bring it within the control of those who have capital or who can earn rent from it; so street prostitution and independent sex workers are hated by capitalism, while capitalized elements of the sex industry are tolerated or even encouraged. Of course there’s a tension between this and capitalism’s preference for privatizing the cost of reproducing the workforce via the family, which depends on the tyrannical myth of monogamy, and means different capitalist states arrive at different solutions, but as a rule of thumb, capitalism hates sex workers because capitalism hates entrepeneurs is not a bad starting point.


6 comments on “Why capitalism hates consensual sex work

  1. Pingback: Definitions of work and employment | Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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  3. Pingback: In the Booth with Ruth – Jemima, Sex Worker, Writer and Student | Ruth Jacobs

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  5. Wickedjulia
    March 19, 2015

    This is certainly true when it comes to phone sex. The gap between what the caller pays and what the phone sex worker earns is appalling and it is almost impossible for a phone sex worker to work independently.


    • jemima2013
      March 21, 2015

      great point i hadnt really considered, phone sex really does have all the the disadvantages of the big buisness model of exploitation


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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