Puttin’ the “gross” in the “gross domestic product,” am I right?!
According to The Wall Street Journal, several countries have started including illegal activities like drug sales and prostitution in their GDP estimates, mostly as a way of boosting the score:
“The U.K. could add as much as $9 billion to the value of its GDP by including prostitution and about $7.4 billion by adding illegal drugs, by one estimate, enough to boost the size of its economy by 0.7%. Not to be outdone, Italy will include smuggling as well as drugs and prostitution. Both changes will begin later this year.”
Of course, that’s a story all of us here in the smut-writing shadows could have told them by heart: when you’re feeling depressed, there’s nothing like a whore to perk you right up! Apparently it works just as well for economies as it does for johns.
That said, I do have some issues with their calculation methods:
“For prostitutes, the statisticians will begin with an estimated tally of on-street prostitutes from the London Metropolitan Police and an estimate of off-street prostitutes from a nongovernment group that studies violence against women and girls. The number of prostitutes will be assumed to rise or fall along with the male population. The assumed cost of prostitution services will fluctuate along with the prices of lap dances and escort agencies, “the closest activities we have to prostitution” that are already measured.”
Every large-scale economic estimate has to be based on some pretty big assumptions, but this is just groping around helplessly in the dark (another phenomenon prostitutes are used to, I assure you.) Lap dances and high-end escorts aren’t going to provide anything like an equivalent price for street prostitution, and tying the number of prostitutes to the male population is both bizarre and a little offensive. (Okay, a lot offensive.)
But what the hell. At least they’re recognizing that prostitution and drugs have a real, measurable economic impact. Next step is showing a little fucking gratitude for that impact, maybe?
Ha! Right. ‘Cause that’s how it’s gone for workers in all the other, legalized trades.