What do asshole economists and rice have in common?

Post from Feministing.com

Reader Meredith sent along a link to this post by Steven Levitt on the Freakonomics blog:

What Do Prostitutes and Rice Have in Common?
If you believe what you read, then the answer to that question is that they are both examples of one of economics’ most elusive objects: Giffen goods. But don’t always believe what you read.

A Giffen good is a product or service for which demand rises with price. In other words, if you hold everything else constant, but the good gets more expensive, the quantity consumed will increase.

I don’t think it’s inherently demeaning to analyze the economics of sex work. I do, however, think an entire post that equates human beings with a GRAIN is pretty fucking unacceptable. Also, note that the post does not compare the commodities purchased — i.e. sex and rice — but instead treats sex workers as if they themselves, rather than their services, are bought and sold.

Then, just in case any readers missed the fact that he doesn’t think sex workers are human beings, Levitt turns it all into a big joke:

I offer a Freakonomics contest: the commenter who provides the best answer to the question of what prostitutes and rice have in common within the first 24 hours of this post will win their choice of Freakonomics schwag.

You’ll be totally shocked to learn that the comments are a cesspool.

So I have a similar contest for you, dear commenters: What do asshole economists and rice have in common? Best answer wins a set of Feministing magnetic poetry.

Posted by Ann – December 17, 2008, at 03:32PM | in Economy , Sex , Sexism , Work

Go to original on Feministing


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