Monday, January 31, 2005

Unemployment and Prostitution

Drudge has linked to a report today that caught my attention:

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. ...

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

Hmm. Presumably, this is the "law of unintended consequences" gone mad. As one who advocates de-criminalizing private behavior that doesn't harm third parties, this makes me pause to reflect.

I've always believed that behaviors such as prostitution, including both sides of the transaction, and smoking marijuana shouldn't be illegal. The current illegal status of these behaviors in the U.S. accomplishes little beyond creating a lucrative business for the bad guys and turning normal people into criminals. Legalize them, and they can be controlled to make them safer and taxed. That also will drive the crooks away because there's no incentive to deal with them.

This situation in Germany doesn't change my opinion, but it reinforces the point that policy always has to be made with an eye to unexpected results.

I've also been thinking about comparisons between dentists' offices and brothels. But, discretion being the better part of valor in this case, I'm going to leave it alone.


Blogger RomanWanderer said...

Tsk, the aryan nation has fallen low.

12:50 PM, January 31, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

Wonder what would happen to all the welfare mothers here if that were to happen in the USA! I agree that both smoking and hooking shouldn't be illegal, but it'll never happen here. Too many people are trying to run everyone else's life and living the "do what I say, not what I do" type of life. Alas, I guess smoking maryjane will have to remain a distant memory of my misspent youth.

5:42 AM, February 01, 2005  

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