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Forget Credit Cards: Blame Hookers, Strippers, and Porn

posted by John Pottow

The UK Insolvency Helpline recently reported that a quarter of its users admitted to having paid money for sex/porn in getting into financial distress.  Here's a British article on the report here.  I'm just going to let that sink in on its own.  It does, however, make me wonder about the applicability of the adjective "sub-prime" in this context.


Having lived in the UK for the past 18 months and providing people with debt help in the UK I find the report a bit hard to believe.

However, you have to understand that sex is everywhere in the UK. Billboards for escort services, probably 30 channels of porn to buy and another 10 channels of "call me now" soft core teasers on the television.

But then again there are many channels of contests, gambling and pay per games as well. If I wanted to, I could even gamble using my television remote control.

Television shows are also a bit more liberal than in the U.S. with more soft core porn and I don't even want to tell you what a recent food TV show was about eating. Shocked even me.

I expect that as financial pressure increases for consumers that we will see more spending on escape type things that people think make them feel better in stressful times. And that will probably include porn, escorts, strippers, boob jobs, facelifts, etc.

One observation, as I am currently driving across the U.S., there are certainly more strip clubs in the U.S. along the highways than you ever see in the U.K. Can't think of one I've ever seen along the motorway in England.

The danger of statistics! Especially when reported in popular media to create headlines to lure readers.

Firstly, a small, insignificant, but kind of critical, fact is not mentioned - what is the rate of porn/sex/etc. users (as defined: used at least once) in the overall population of males 25-49. I would venture to say that it is similar. You see, "paid to view porn" includes anyone who ever bought a porn video, or paid to enter a port site. Hmm...males 25-49...THE target population for such things, right?

Secondly, even if there was such an effect, and the rate of such users among people in financial trouble was higher than the rate in their relevant overall population, it is only a correlation, not a causal relationship. IF it is true, a more plausible explanation is that in times of trouble males aged 25-49 drown their sorrows in vice, the ones mentioned being prime (sub or dom is up to them) ;-)

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