Sunday, August 6, 2017

More Evidence of Male Redundancy

A recent New York Post article by Melanie Notkin titled, "Childish men to blame for women having kids late in life", seems to be getting a lot of attention since it flips the script by blaming men instead of Women.  And yes, the article is partially correct.  But we need to ask if it is really such a bad thing for Women to delay (or forego) motherhood in the world we live in today, and also ask why so many men are being viewed as less-than-ideal partners and fathers these days.

One thing is certain:  the "everybody must procreate" mentality needs to end yesterday.  Only a fool or an economist (same difference) would believe that infinite growth on a finite world is possible or even desirable.  That is the logic of a Ponzi scheme.  If anything, our overpopulated world needs to shrink.  And the cost of raising a child these days is, not coincidentally, becoming increasingly prohibitive.

That said, we need to be brutally honest about the fact that men are becoming increasingly redundant.  Women are rising while men are falling.  And it's only a matter of time before Women reclaim their rightful place as the new leaders of the free world, as the late, great Buckminster Fuller predicted.  So why are so many people of both primary genders still trying to prop up traditional gender roles?

As I had discussed in a previous article about the decline in (straight) marriage in America, the underlying reason for this phenomenon (and the tendency to delay parenthood as well) is indeed increasing male redundancy.   From technology to globalization to union-busting to increased economic inequality and precarity to increased female empowerment, men in general are falling away and falling apart as we speak.  Women have already crossed the proverbial Rubicon at this point, and it is time to accept this truth for once.

Also, as Bucky famously noted even back in 1970, with today's technology, the idea that "everybody and their mother must work for a living" has become specious and outdated.  We could damn well afford for everyone on this planet to have a guaranteed decent standard of living if we wanted, but the oligarchs at the top would rather hoard the world's massive wealth for themselves.  Perhaps his first prediction is a prerequisite for his second one?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why We Need a Universal Basic Income Yesterday

I have repeatedly noted before why any serious proposal for a pragmatic utopia would require some sort of unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) Guarantee for all.  At least as long as we still have a monetary system, of course, and it will be quite some time before money can be phased out completely.  To wit:

  1. First and foremost, "It's payback time for Women".  Recently, a Woman named Judith Shulevitz wrote an op-ed titled thusly, arguing in favor of a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all.  Her feminist argument for a UBI, which I agree 100% with, was that such a thing would provide long-overdue compensation for Women's unpaid work (i.e. housework and caregiving) that society currently takes for granted and considers a "free resource" for the taking.   As the saying goes, there are two kinds of work that Women do:  underpaid, and unpaid.  While that is true for some men as well, it is overwhelmingly true for Women.  Thus, her argument makes a great deal of sense overall, and I agree.  It is indeed LONG overdue.
  2. Men are becoming increasingly redundant in the long run due to technology, globalization, and the overall ascendancy of Women.  When men are no longer artificially propped up, they will fall--and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  And this will only increase in the near future.  This is a potential ticking time-bomb that must be defused sooner rather than later.  Men become extremely dangerous creatures under either of two conditions:  1) when they have too much power relative to Women, and/or 2) when they are desperate for money.  Ever see the 1996 film Fargo? Indeed, a Universal Basic Income is one of the best ways to tackle the second one.
  3. A UBI is far more efficient in theory and practice than much of what currently passes for a social safety net these days, and would have far less bureaucracy.  No means tests, no discrimination, no playing God.  It's simply a basic human right, period.  And it would be far less costly in the long run.
  4. As Buckminster Fuller famously noted, there are more than enough resources for everyone to live like a millionaire with today's technology.  And he said this back in the 1970s, mind you.  And the specious notion that everybody and their mother must "work for a living" is not only outdated, but is also seriously classist, ableist, and ageist, and by extension indirectly sexist and racist as well.
  5. Poverty is a razor-sharp, double-edged sword, spiritually speaking. Being attached to riches is clearly counter to spirituality, but then again, so is being attached to poverty. Either way, it's the *attachment* that is the problem.  And poverty today is largely if not entirely man-made via artificial scarcity.
  6. We would all be better off on balance, spiritually and otherwise, if material poverty were eradicated--and a UBI is the most efficient way to do so. As William Bond (and others) noted, with today's technology that is certainly doable, but for the greed of the oligarchs at the top who control the system. And that in turn is a result of patriarchy, given how men tend to see war and scarcity as inevitable, so they create a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result.
  7. With an unconditional UBI instead of means testing or other conditions, gone will be the perverse incentives that exist under the current system that trap too many people in poverty today.
  8. Negative liberty and positive liberty are NOT opposites, but rather two sides of the same coin.  Indeed, one cannot be truly free if one is systematically denied the basic necessities of life.  And truly no one is free when others are oppressed in any way.
  9. Inequality, at least when it is as extreme as it is today, is profoundly toxic to society and makes the looming problems/crises of climate change and ecological overshoot that much more difficult to solve.  This is over and above the effects of poverty alone.  And a UBI can dramatically reduce both socio-economic inequality as well as absolute material poverty.  (And when funded by an Alaska-style tax on fossil fuels, it can also double as a Steve Stoft or James Hansen-style carbon tax-and-dividend as well.)
  10. We consume and waste a ludicrous amount of (mostly fossil-fuel) energy in the so-called "developed" world, and much of that wasteful consumption can be curtailed simply by making it so no one has to "work for a living" unless one really wants to.  Just think of all the energy spent (and commuting to and from) unnecessary work at a job you hate, to buy stuff you don't need, to impress people you don't even like.  A UBI could thus greatly reduce our carbon and overall ecological footprint in the long run.
  11. And finally, one should keep in mind that, as Carol Brouillet has noted, the literal and original meaning of the word "community" is "free sharing of gifts".  What we currently have now under patriarchy/kyriarchy is more of a pseudo-community in that regard.   And that needs to change. Yesterday.
In other words, it would be a win-win-win situation for literally everyone but the 0.01% oligarchs at the top.  So why aren't we doing this yesterday?  Because that would make far too much sense.  To quote Buckminster Fuller:

We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
In fact, one could argue that two of the most toxic, outdated, and specious ideas ever conceived by the patriarchy (aside from the central doctrine of male supremacy itself and the entire "dominator" model, of course) are that "everybody and their mother must work for a living" and that "everybody must procreate."  And both are now literally KILLING this very planet that gives us life.  Thus, on balance, a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all is a good idea regardless.  Again, it's a win-win-win situation for everyone but the oligarchs.  And the only real arguments against it are paternalistic and/or sadistic ones, which really means there are no good arguments against it in a free and civilized society.  So what are we waiting for?

Perhaps Bucky's other prediction, that Women would take over the world, is a prerequisite for his vision to be fulfilled?   Honestly, it can't happen soon enough!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

First, I would like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful Mothers out there.  You are, after all, literally the reason why the human race even exists at all, despite the fact that the work you do is grossly undervalued in so many way by our twisted capitalistic and patriarchal society.  In other words, your beautiful feminine energy is essentially what keeps the rest of us alive.  Thank you.

I would also like to note and lament how, for all the shallow platitudes America likes to throw around about "Mothers and apple pie", we are still a nation that perpetually continues to screw over Mothers and pregnant Women in so many ways.  Recently, Guru Rasa von Werder shared a poignant and in-depth article from Vox with us that illustrates the various ways in which that is true.  This article should be food for thought indeed.  Our patriarchal and capitalistic society clearly has a "cult of motherhood", in which the "ideal" of motherhood is so highly vaunted, worshipped even, but in practice actual Mothers themselves get about as much genuine respect as Rodney Dangerfield.  Both during and after pregnancy, so many Mothers are routinely discriminated against, overworked, underpaid, and even outright criminalized in many cases.  And meanwhile, there is to this day a powerful faction of mostly male politicians that is doing everything in their power to deny Women their right to choose whether or not to get (or stay) pregnant in the first place.  Indeed, the rank hypocrisy of our misogynistic and pharisaical system is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Meanwhile, old Buckminster Fuller (who, not coincidentally, believed that Women should rule the world) must be spinning in his grave right now.  With today's technology and innovation, there is literally no legitimate reason why we as a society need "everybody and their mother" (literally!) to "work for a living" unless they really wanted to.  There are more than enough resources in the world for everyone on this planet to live like a millionaire, but the greedy oligarchs who control such resources apparently don't want to share.  Combined with the outdated scarcity mentality that men tend to favor (as opposed to the abundance mentality that Women tend to favor), those same oligarchs have also done everything in their power to sabotage any alternatives (i.e. free and renewable energy) to their own evil system that they force upon the rest of us.  So why make them even richer?

Additionally, just as we should "dispense with the absolutely specious notion that everybody needs to earn a living" (in Bucky's words), so too should we jettison the equally specious and outdated idea that everybody must procreate as though it were a civic duty.  Not only does today's technology make much useful human labor redundant, but the world is grossly overpopulated and will only get more so in the coming decades, and despite the abundance of the world's resources we are chewing through them like there is no tomorrow while destroying the planet.   And the main cause of that overpopulation is--wait for it--MEN.  Because they are the ones who, both historically and today, force, coerce, deceive, and/or brainwash Women to have kids that they otherwise would not want or are not yet ready for.  Men like to "get 'em while they're young" and then use them as serial breeding slaves, essentially, and all the euphemisms in the world do not change that fact.   It is really no coincidence that the two most effective (and ethical) ways to reduce overpopulation and excessively high birthrates are 1) female empowerment and 2) poverty reduction, while everything else is a mere sideshow.  Because when Women actually have a free and genuine choice on when or whether or not to reproduce, they usually make the right choices overall.  After all, they are the ones who have the most "skin in the game".  So let the planetary healing begin!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy May Day / Beltane, Everyone!

Today, May 1, is May Day, also known as the Celtic and Neopagan holiday of Beltane.  It has a rather long history and symbolizes many things, but it is most notably a day to honor the Goddess, which includes the Goddess in every Woman.   Elephant Journal describes it rather nicely in their article about the holiday:

Halfway between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice falls May Day—the original holiday of sex and abundance.  If you’ve ever wondered, as I used to, what the hype was around May Day—as in why I always heard about ‘May Day’ but never seemed to witness anyone actually celebrating, here’s why. It’s deeply rooted in pagan nature and hedonistic sex worship and celebrations. As Christianity spread and the Church extended its reach and control, these pagan and Divine worships of masculine and feminine equality had to be forgotten.  May 1st is Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere, the day we honor nature’s oldest love story.  And we all love a love story.   This is a holiday of union, between man and woman, God and Goddess—a celebration of the divine balance in the union of Divine masculine and feminine. Because once upon a time, the two were honored as sacred parts of the one Divine balance.
Indeed.  And among Neopagans today, Beltane is (usually) primarily about honoring the Divine Feminine, where as Samhain (October 31) is primarily about honoring the Divine Masculine.  Thus, I propose that we shift International Women's Day (currently March 8) to May 1, and shift International Men's Day (November 19, coinciding with World Toilet Day, lol) to November 1.  The latter, of course, should not be seen as a day to celebrate men, but rather as a day of atonement for the evil that men do, and have done for thousands of years now--a sort of all-male equivalent of Yom Kippur to essentially apologize to the Divine Feminine.  

Another holiday I would like to propose is Waterloo Day, on April 30, the day before May Day.  That would symbolize the (hopefully) eventual surrender of men to Women, which I personally predict will occur on April 30, 2030--the end of an error.  Just as that day symbolizes the end of the "darker half" of the year and the beginning of the "lighter half", so too shall it symbolize the end of the 7000 years of darkness known as patriarchy and the beginning of the new earthly paradise known as Matriarchy.  Note too that April 30, 1975 was also when the Vietnam War officially ended, and also in 1945 when a certain little painter from Austria did the world a huge favor by offing himself.  And the song "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath was originally going to be called "Walpurgisnacht", which is another name for May Eve, or April 30.  One idea for how to celebrate Waterloo Day would be for the men to get up on a platform or podium, give a concession speech as though stepping down from power, and have all the Women heckle and throw rotten tomatoes at them.  

So have fun and enjoy the festivities, wherever you are!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Are Sex Robots a Good Idea?

With the advent of sex robots (i.e. realistic humanoid sex dolls programmed with AI to one degree or another), there has been quite a debate about whether such innovations are a good thing or bad thing on balance, and whether or not they should even be allowed to exist at all.  It would seem that plenty of people on both sides of this issue, and even the feminist movement is divided on this issue.

Some radical feminists, like Meghan Murphy, believe that sex robots are bad because they, and I quote, "epitomize patriarchy and offer men a solution th the threat of independence", and they "don't offer men companionship, they offer men complete dominance".  She essentially argues that the existence of such robots only reifies and reinforces patriarchal dominance and objectification of Women, in much the same way that pornography and prostitution currently do in her view.  Indeed, though robots did not exist in his time, Plato would likely agree with her, as would many contemporary thinkers as well.  But Aristotle (and later Freud) would likely take the opposite view, namely sex robots would offer men a beneficial "catharsis" (as opposed to reinforcement) for their lusts along with their desires for dominance.  And repression of such (i.e. banning robots) would ultimately do more harm than good on balance.

I personally take the latter view myself.    We know that men's demand for sex is generally quite inelastic, and while Women actually have a higher sex drive than men, men's libido is generally more urgent due to higher testosterone levels.  And robots would guarantee that no one gets hurt in the process, no matter how much of a selfish jerk a guy may be.   But there of course an even bigger and deeper, if somewhat cynical, justification for the existence of sex robots as well.  Because then, maybe the MRA/PUA/MGTOW lowlifes and dregs of society will actually leave real Women alone for once. Plus it would get these miscreants out of the gene pool as well, lol.  Thus, it would be an overall net benefit to the community and society at large.  

Meanwhile, real men will, if straight, still prefer real Women, hands down.  They are often imitated, but never really duplicated.  And even if gay or bi, most guys would still prefer other real people to robots.  Either way, there is ultimately no substitute for real human beings.  Remember, "It is the spirit that quickens [i.e gives life], not the flesh". And robots are by definition spiritless, no matter how realistic or how much AI they have.  

Besides, they also now have sex robots for Women as well.  And let's face it, they can probably do a much better job at pleasing Women than most guys currently do.  Not only are robots making us fellas redundant in the workforce, but now even in the bedroom as well.  Our technology is really backfiring on us, lol.  All the more reason for men to learn to be better lovers, lest we get replaced by Women and/or robots.  As I like to say, "be zealous, not jealous".  And certainly not both at the same time, as they really don't mix very well.

Friday, March 31, 2017

What Is the Ideal Sex Ratio?

As I have noted previously, men will eventually go the way of the as a result of the Y-chromosome deteriorating with each generation of men.  According to Dr. William Sykes, this will happen in 125,000 years or so, while some others put the timeframe as little as 3000 years or as much as 5 million years.  So the sex ratio (i.e. the number of males per 100 females) will eventually drop to zero, but that will take thousands of years.  So in the meantime, what does the research on natural experiments of the effects of varying the sex ratio actually show?   Here, we humorously explore two scenarios, "Surf City" (i.e. "two girls for every boy"), versus "Land of Confusion" (i.e. "too many men, too many people, making too many problems").

First, we examine Surf City, with a low sex ratio (more females than males).  Here, we see that, all else being equal, Women have more structural power than men due to strength in numbers, while at the same time they have less dyadic power (i.e. individual bargaining power) in the dating market due to supply and demand given the shortage of males.  This of course tends to lead to men being at least somewhat more likely to "play the field" than to seek committed and monogamous relationships, and thus casual sex tends to increase as a result as the relative "cost" of sex decreases for men and the social acceptability of such activity increases for Women.  In fact, some authors have even blamed the relative excess of Women on college campuses for driving the so-called "hook-up culture", though this idea remains controversial to this day.  Whether or not this is a good thing or bad thing really depends on what you are personally into in that regard.  The scarcity of men does create a sort of "musical chairs" for Women looking for a mate, which is the flip side of men having an easier time finding one.  But one cannot argue with the benefits of strength in numbers in terms of strucutral power, or the fact that Women are really leaving men in the dust in terms of educational attainment.  Regardless, Surf City is in every possible way the kind of place that would make the notorious anti-feminist campaigner Phyllis Schlafly (on whom Serena Joy in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is partly based) spin in her grave.

So how about "Land of Confusion", with a high sex ratio (more males than females)?  Or should I say, "Land of Confucius", given that China's (only recently-ended) one-child policy has unfortunately led to exactly that result due to female infanticide and sex-selective abortion.  India has a similar problem as well.  On the surface, if you believe the Date-onomics theory, this should be beneficial for Women--even if they lose structural power, they undoubtedly gain bargaining power in the dating market due to supply and demand, right?  Indeed, an excess of males does tend to lead to less casual sex and more committed monogamous relationships for precisely that reason.  Men are more likely to settle down sooner than later as a result, since they don't want to be the "odd man out" in the game of musical chairs, and it would appear that they would treat Women better since they fear losing them.  Marriage and (nuclear) family formation are thus more likely and more stable.  Even for Women who don't want to settle down yet, there is a seemingly endless array of men to choose from if they want to "play the field" themselves.  Sounds like a virtual utopia for Women at first until....

Until you see men's dark side, that is, which they simply tend to be better at hiding (at first) when Women are in short supply.  But it is still there nonetheless, and merely having a more difficult time finding a partner does not in itself make men more virtuous. (Markets are amoral, after all.)  On the contrary, at least some studies show that an excess of males is statistically associated with increases in crime, violence, social unrest, gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, rape, bride abduction, prostitution, and human trafficking.  And while not all studies agree, this does seem to make sense. And while men may seem to be more protective of Women when they are scarce, that is a double-edged sword, since that very same scarcity also leads men to become more jealous and controlling as well, leading to the "gilded cage" phenomenon.  Patriarchy is a protection racket, after all, and Women (and children) rarely if ever seem to get any of the benefits of so-called "traditionalism" for free.  And let's not forget that the ancient Romans also had an excess of males as well, as did the Greeks (except for Sparta) as well as the American Wild West--need I say more?

In fact, one can even argue that the social problems that result from a scarcity of Women are the reason why most societies, even highly patriarchal ones, eventually decided to abolish polygamy.  On the surface, that doesn't make sense, since the alpha males in charge benefit from having many wives.  But one-sided polygyny creates an "artificial scarcity" of Women, since the wealthiest and most powerful men hoard a disproportionate share of the Women for themselves, with the rest of the men competing fiercely for a shrinking pool of Women, and many omega males left in the lurch.  That creates the aformentioned social problems (crime, violence, etc.), which led the patriarchs in charge to replace it with monogamous marriage--or more accurately, a one-sided open marriage for men in many cases since historically only Women were expected to be faithful in practice.

Even if one were to argue that Surf City has a downside, it really pales in comparison with that of the Land of Confusion.  And even then, the downside can be reduced simply by jettisoning the idea of compulsory heterosexuality.  Since we know that Women tend to have a more fluid sexuality than men, many can indeed go lezzie or at least bisexual as a result.  We see this in the "college lesbian" phenomenon, which is apparently more common than the "When in Rome" phenomenon for men.  Not only would this solve the musical chairs problem, but men would now have serious competition--and now be expected to be able to pleasure Women as well as Women can pleasure each other.  And interestingly, men don't really seem to get particularly jealous in that regard, in fact they are more likely to get zealous instead.

In other words, Surf City has more Eros and less Thanatos (more sex and less violence), while Land of Confusion has more Thanatos and less Eros (more violence and less sex).  The trade-off between sex and violence should not come as much of a shock, given how in men, both are driven by testosterone.  And while men's demand for sex is relatively inelastic, Women's demand for sex is far more elastic. True, men have a dark side regardless, but when they have less incentive to hide it, as in Surf City, they tend to show it to Women early on, so at least you kinda know where you stand.   And Women have more incentive to better themselves via educational and economic empowerment in Surf City as well, so as to be less dependent on men.  Thus, on balance, I would argue that Surf City is better for both Women as well as men.  This is true even in a patriarchal society, and I believe would be even more true in a Matriarchal society.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Prostitution: The Oldest Profession, or The Oldest Oppression?

Short answer:  perhaps a bit of both, as there is a great deal of nuance to the issue of sex work.

Last year, I wrote an article for this blog titled "What the 'Nordic Model' Gets Wrong", basically arguing against the model and maintaining that sex work in general should be fully decriminalized or legalized, at least as long as Women are the ones who control it.  This is still what I generally prefer.  However, after doing some more research on this highly fraught and complex issue since then, however, I now realize that I may have been a bit too harsh on the Nordic Model and those who support it, even though I still don't entirely favor it overall.

For those who don't know, the Nordic Model (also known as the Sex Buyer Law) refers to the policy currently in Sweden, Norway, and Iceland (and now Canada, France, South Korea, Northern Ireland, and Ireland as well) of 1) decriminalizing the sex workers themselves, while 2) criminalizing the buyers (i.e. the "johns" or "punters"), and 3) providing support and exit services for those currently in prostitution.  This is also combined with effective laws against pimping and trafficking as well.  In contrast, full criminalization (such as in the USA, except Nevada) criminalizes both buyers and sellers of sex, full decriminalization (such as in Denmark, New Zealand and parts of Australia) removes all laws prohibiting both buyers and sellers of sex, as well as pimps and brothel owners in some places, but does not regulate such activities, and legalization (such as the Netherlands, Germany, and parts of the state of Nevada) where the state completely legalizes and regulates the entire business of prostitution.  Still other countries have it where which prostitution is "quasi-legal" or decriminalized to one degree or another.  Examples include the UK and several European nations, as well as the aforementioned ones before they changed their laws in 1999-2003.

On the supporters' side, there is a very good website called "Nordic Model Now!" that explains the benefits of the model in contrast to the other models, and much of what they say seems to be very true overall, even if I don't necessarily agree 100%.   They have a good slideshow and handout that explains their overall position very well and contrasts it with the other models mentioned above, which I recommend reading.  Also of note is one of the pages on their site (trigger warning!) full of actual quotes from "punters" ("johns") on the site Punternet detailing how they really feel about (and treat) the Women that they buy (spoiler alert, it isn't good), and it becomes clear that 99% of these guys give the other 1% a bad name.  After all, the genesis of the Nordic Model is the idea that prostitution is inherently violent and exploitative, and that the sex workers are in fact victims of both the pimps and the "johns".  The sex trade, whether legal or illegal, clearly has a dark side as long as men are in charge, and the distinction between "forced" and "unforced" is not always as clear-cut as it may seem.

So what are the practical results of each of the models under discussion here?  While I have noted that the Nordic Model does have its downsides and that its success has been called into question, there is some evidence suggesting that 1) In Sweden, the prostitution market dropped by roughly half since 1999 when the model was first implemented, and that human trafficking decreased there as well, at a time when both seemed to be increasing in other European countries, and 2) In the Netherlands and Germany, both the legal and illegal prostitution markets increased significantly in the years following full legalization in 2000 and 2002, and it appears that human trafficking also increased there as well.  The reason is simple--under the Nordic Model, demand goes down, while under the Dutch/German Model, demand goes up, and the market adjusts to meet the demand.  Evidently, while men's demand for sex in general is typically quite inelastic, it appears that their demand for commercialized sex is far more elastic, at least for a significantly large subset that seems to be driving the market.  Based on the page of quotes from "johns", it seems that this subset consists of mainly narcissists who are buying sex in order to feed their own egos.  And when it becomes too costly or risky for them to do so, they simply don't do it anymore, or as much.  Even if some of the market remains relatively insensitive to price and risk, that seems to be true for a fairly large chunk of it.  (Caveat lector, though, as such statistics have been disputed.)

What about full decriminalization, then?  That is the model that groups like Amnesty International currently endorse, and its currently in effect in Denmark, New Zealand, and parts of Australia.  Though the data are a bit less clear, it seems that the effects can be similar to those of full legalization, though in some ways marginally better as regulation can indeed backfire on the sex workers.   Note again that full decriminalization also often decriminalizes the pimps and brothel owners too, so that might have something to do with its effects as well.  That said, when done properly, full decriminalization does seem to be, on balance, the least-worst choice overall.

Interestingly, a natural experiment in (partial) decriminalization was in fact conducted by accident in the state of Rhode Island from 2003-2009, when the courts discovered a big loophole in the law that had been in place since 1980.  Apparently, there was no law on the books that specifically prohibited the act of prostitution itself, as that law was inadvertently deleted in 1980.  Thus, indoor prostitution was effectively decriminalized for both the buyers and sellers from 2003 until 2009 when a new law was passed to close that loophole and re-criminalize both.  So what were the results of that natural experiment?  While the indoor prostitution market appears to have increased somewhat, most notably the rates of both rape and sexually transmitted diseases went down in Rhode Island during that time.  There was a 39% drop in gonorrhea rates and a 31% drop in the number of rapes reported to the police, which is a fairly large effect size.  As for trafficking, there was not enough data for the study to determine what effect, if any, the policy change actually had.  Overall, though, the Rhode Island model seems to have been an improvement over the status quo ante of full criminalization even if it wasn't perfect.

True, the sex industry is notorious for great evils, especially human trafficking.  No argument from me there.  But we need to get to the root causes of such evils--and those root causes are (surprise, surprise) capitalism and patriarchy.  From the desperation that Women and children are driven to as a result of such systems, to the fact that men dominate the industry (and world), these are the real issues, and the evils of the industry are simply symptoms of such wholesale and systemic evil.

In light of the above facts, I still prefer at least partial, if not full decriminalization as the least worst choice.  Ideally, the sex trade should be controlled entirely by Women, not men.  And what prevailed in Rhode Island from 2003-2009 indeed points us in that general direction.  However, at the same time I no longer oppose the Nordic Model being implemented in the USA either, as it is still a step up from the status quo--even if I don't agree with it entirely.  It seems any model is better than the status quo.

But back to the question in the title of this article:  the real question is, who has the power?  When men are in charge, the results can indeed be disastrous for Women.  But when Women are in charge, sex work can be a very good thing indeed. The patriarchy has always had a love-hate relationship with sex work due to its dual nature.  They want to use the sex trade to use, abuse, and control Women, but also fear the power that Women can gain from it too.

Regardless, there is ultimately only one solution, short of Women taking over--society must welcome sex workers of all varieties back into the fold unconditionally, and refrain from mistreating them in any way.  If you can't be nice to them, then leave them alone.  And it should go without saying that we must concretely address the adverse social and economic conditions that drive far too many into "the life" out of sheer desperation.  Anything less would be uncivilized.