Sex Financing, An Illusionary Solution

I have a number of blogs that I read regularly; most deal with personal finance.  I read them not because I am a personal finance guru, but oftentimes they may have practical tips regarding money that I try to incorporate into my own life .  Plus, in my endeavor to pay off all my student loan debt – which I did last month by the way – it was encouraging walking with other people in various stages of life overcome their own battles.  One of the newer blogs, NoDebtMBA drifted across my wandering eyes of the blogosphere.  This blog details one individual’s goal to attend a top MBA school and graduate debt free.  I’m quite impressed with the effort to build a readership and draw traffic to the site.  Plus, detailing the efforts to graduate without debt is quite laudable.  I could relate to many of the posts in my own effort to minimize debt while in law school.  (Disclosure: I also had a $25 weekly grocery budget).  Recently, I read one post, “An Arrangement to Pay the Bills” mentioning that some university-level students are financing crushing debt through risque ventures.

The question NoDebtMBA posited was whether the utility of the prostitution outweighed the psychological, health, moral, and career consequences of the “arrangement.”  The post garnered a fair amount of attention with some commentators ranging from the apathetic, and the-end-justifies-the-means, to my comment providing the counterweight to the other comments.

I’m not blind to the reality of the situation; women (and to a much lesser extent, men) have ventured into the undercurrent of the gray market where sex and money changes had with regularity.  The participants of such dalliances self-police themselves to maintain the existence of the market.  To a certain extent, the entire sub-culture mirrors the complex drug cartels operating in Mexico.  One difference, however, is that unlike the drug cartels, virtually anyone – focusing primarily on women – can participate on a small scale and operate as frequent or infrequently as the case may be.

The issue I have with the entire situation is that it is farcical  to divorce morality from economics.  If economy was valued on the basis of the net benefit to its market participants, it would ignore the deeper societal implications and create absurdity.  Morality, and its inverse, immorality, permeates society in a zero-sum arrangement.  I often hear the refrain, “what is the harm in X.”  Often the argument is flawed because it centers on a specific transaction as a contractual arrangement where the benefit or harm to society is ephemeral.  However, the development of a healthy society is the lifeblood that permits the marketplace to exist.  Society, through the legislature, makes public policy decisions rooted in morality that benefits the community as a whole.  To protect society, we criminalize rather than regulate certain activities: purchasing drugs, child prostitution, and murder (and yes, even murder-for-hire).

Encouraging alternative debt financing “arrangements” does not provide a net benefit to society.  For one, it takes commoditizes one’s body and reduces an act, oft-considered sacred and places a number upon it.  Consider the regular situation in which married John engages the sexual services of Jane, an unmarried woman.  Specifically looking at the financial arrangement, benefit is incurred upon both individuals but harm is incurred too, on John’s wife.

The notion that certain plausible situations would legitimize the scandalous situation is illusory in itself.  As I’ve mentioned before, sex is more than physical.  And it’s not only an economic transaction.


Update: I was watching FOX news last night and they ran a story on “Sugar Daddies.”  Topical, but relevant.  Find it here.

Mental Fortitude in the Early Morning

Today the sun rose at 5:52AM this morning and I’m proud to say that I was up – well up before then.  Back in the day, which technically isn’t incredibly far removed – I would be running already – maybe have even completed a good portion of ten miles.  It was an incredible feeling when one could start and finish the workout before the the sun appeared over the mountains.  For me, I had already accomplished something – a workout, part of my training routine during the cross country or track season.

Yet it required a great deal of mental fortitude.

I’m not sure that that waking up early ever comes easily – with or without coffee.  It’s almost as if the heavy presence of tryptophan in the air continually pulls down on my eyelids until I wake up at the same time as of the sun.  Maybe this is as life should be.  In heaven.

But again, I’ve reverted to my early bird discipline – not with running in the morning (I’m only disciplined enough to work out in the evening), but with attempting to seize the day – err morning.  (How many of these blog posts are actually *written* in the morning?  Few).  In following with my last post, the morning time helps to re-evaluate and formulate my objectives in the short term.  I know, impromptu habit/discipline sounds like a New Years Resolution – which, in that case, it’s either overdue or premature.

I wonder how much Congress could accomplish by grabbing a cup of joe and hashing out the details of cutting a trillion dollars from the budget in the disjointed raucous of a heavily trafficked coffee shop in downtown D.C.  (or Phoenix) in the early morning.  My guess is that they may be able to accomplish more here than behind closed doors.  Sarcasm aside, I think the larger sentiment reflected by the myself and portion of the nation is that we are less than optimistic over any budget deals.

With the election battle lines being drawn, the economics the debt ceiling and sequelae  will be pushed back until at least December where a vote isn’t required until just before Christmas.

Until then, we can only hope that our government will possess the mental fortitude needed to place the nation ahead of politics.  And that’s a venti hope.

Coffee Shop Reflections

For the past number of Sundays, I’ve settled into the comfortable routine of visiting a local coffee shop where I’ve managed to gather my thoughts and then press on through the rest of the morning.  The coffee isn’t the draw; neither is the fact that I slip into the background noise among the rest of the patrons.  But I carve out time from my otherwise occupied schedule (even if by idleness) and deliberately reflect on the past days and coming weeks.  Only today, after deciding that I would much rather sleep in rather than wake up at four in the morning to run a race I wasn’t thrilled about participating in, have I arrived early enough to bring my computer and at least comprise a cogent reflection of my Sunday tradition-forming ponderings.

Less than two weeks ago, I was aboard the Norwegian Pearl cruising up the coast of Alaska.  Though I missed the familiar atmosphere of my obscure nook, I didn’t forgo the opportunity to catch up on a well appreciated vacation.

And through a series of innocuous events: a week-long internet deprivation, a late-night visitation with friends, and a certain deep restlessness,  have I seriously begun to again re-evaluate time and its investment in the future.

Lest you, reader, think I’m about to cut bait and embark on some grand adventure dropping all responsibilities and obligations to travel the world, I’ll dispel that notion.  I’m not that restless.  But, I’m not so comfortable that I’ve settled into a routine of consistency.  Or maybe that’s the issue – that I have.  But these Sunday reflections serve as an invaluable opportunity to evaluate my future goals and the means by which they are achieved.  Often, amongst the hustle and bustle of what we call “life” we forget or put off the time to smell the roses; we forgo that alone time and introspection that serves to remind us of who we are as a person.

When life flies at a hundred miles a hour, it’s genuinely refreshing when I see others taking time to reflect too.  I’m reminded that life encompasses more than the next election or what I’ll relish as my next meal.  Maybe, just maybe we can learn more in the silence of aromatic coffee shops than in the barrage of news reports flooding our inboxes.