Porn and the future of labor

Porn is free. Accelerating advances in communications technology combined with changing social norms have transformed the market for pornography, leading to the sudden collapse of business models that just a few years ago were generating tens of billions in revenue.

Porn businesses were some of the boldest early innovators in Internet technology. Now they are on the leading edge of a post-employment economy, demonstrating what life may be like for millions of middle-earning professionals from realtors to accountants in an economy dominated by accelerating technological advance. The fate of the porn business like so many other industries gutted by advancing technology demands that we adapt our economic and political assumptions to the requirements of a freeware economy.

Live by technology, die by technology. Porn has always been, first and foremost, a technology business. It started with the availability of reasonably affordable movie cameras in the 20’s and accelerated with the invention of cheap Super 8 cameras in the 60’s. Throughout its history porn has thrived on a do-it-yourself business culture. It was never well suited to corporate mass production and as a result the age of the porn conglomerate is proving to be eyeblink-short. Solid metrics are elusive, but industry revenues appear to have dropped by about half since 2007. Fewer than 20% of porn consumers pay for content.

Even without a solid revenue model the supply of porn is exploding. Not all economic activity strictly follows the conventional laws of supply and demand. Porn has always been influenced by factors beyond economics.

The menial labor performed by ‘porn stars’ did not involve a lot of professional development. Their status and their money were derived almost entirely from their willingness to flout social. When those social norms weakened so did their economic value.

As it turns out, lots of people possess the skills required to have sex in front of a camera. Technological innovations mean that you likewise no longer need specialized skills or even connections to produce, edit, and distribute the product. Click, upload, share. Welcome to the porn business.

The same blindness to consequences that inspires garish tattoos and giant, ear-stretching piercings has led millions of people to record and share their own porn. Since there was never much effort or quality in the business to start with this flood of DIY performers has overwhelmed the business. Porn industry spokesmen often blame piracy for their woes, but the simple fact is that industrial porn producers have little value to offer.

With declining value has come pressure on workers to endure more dangerous and less lucrative conditions. New safety regulations in Los Angeles have led to the inevitable rise of porn outsourcing to more dubious locations. Wages in the industry have collapsed to the point that the few actively working porn performers earn as much as a construction worker. Earnings by a handful of top ‘stars,’ sometimes as much as $300,000 a year, seldom match what a successful attorney brings in. The age of the Porn Star as a counter-cultural social icon is over.

Money is still being made in the porn industry but it is increasingly concentrated in two centers. Giant, monopolistic aggregators deliver value in the form of reliable traffic. Business models in this industry are anything but transparent, but they appear to earn their money from advertising while allowing individuals to post material for free, very much like the YouTube model. Copywrited material occasionally appears, but it is swamped under an endless tide of naked amateurs posting their own work with little or no financial expectation.

Other producers are earning money from what might be regarded as artisanal porn. Like individual artists manufacturing specialty cheeses or hand-made soaps, niche pornographers of a dizzying, often nauseating, variety attract a still-vibrant audience willing to spend money to satisfy a fetish. Markets there are small but loyal and creativity still pays.

Beyond those two business models, the porn business is dying. The forces destroying established business models in the industry offer some lessons about the future of other businesses in an age of accelerating technological dynamism.

First, information age technologies are GDP-killers. Technology has made porn free. In pure economic terms, technology has granted consumers a benefit worth tens of billions of dollars annually. That value delivered to consumers shows up nowhere in our economic data. We measure productivity by tallying financial transactions. Any value delivered by freeware shows up as a smoking hole of economic catastrophe.

There is a reality behind these grim metrics. Though consumers reap a benefit, technology-driven changes in the porn industry are in fact leading to declining levels of overall business activity. New models emerging from the rise of freeware create fewer jobs and radically concentrate the remaining profits.

Second, an old capitalist economy based on a division between labor and capital owners is being replaced by a division between aggregators and artists. Labor and industry as we have always defined them are in the late stages of their drift toward economic irrelevance. When you look closely as the activities of people who earn good money from work, rather than from capital, you find that in a surprising percentage of cases they are, in effect, artists.

Forget the fate of the old-school laborer for a moment and look at the tenuous position of the traditional middle and upper middle class professional. What prevents an accountant, realtor, attorney, radiologist, or software engineer from having her work replaced by an automated service or outsourced to a cheap replacement overseas? Each are succeeding and remaining economically relevant only to the extent that they are converting their work to a form of art, adding interpretation, customization, and personalization in a successful effort to differentiate their services from cheaper alternatives.

Finally, what the porn business is demonstrating about the future of our economy is that we are in a sense realizing Keynes’ dream of the 15-hour work week, just not in the ways that he expected. The collapsing cost of almost everything means that Americans can enjoy a lifestyle unimaginable even for a successful middle class household 50 years ago on a poverty level income. What has become more elusive is the hope of moving up that ladder.

For while our access to nearly everything has grown cheaper, requiring less work in order to gain more stuff, the radical concentration of real wealth in this new economic older threatens to create a hardened class-stratification that America has never before experienced. It may be easier to get a phone, a TV, or a good reliable car than it has ever been, but access to goods that depend on human expertise has grown vastly more expensive. Health care and education stand out as critical ingredients of basic economic mobility that have become much harder to obtain while the price of porn drops to zero.

Free porn is a measurable economic good that was unavailable a very short time ago. What we have achieved in the age of free porn is in many respects the dream of previous generations. We are living through the ultimate triumph of consumer culture, an ethic that measures human good in terms of ready access to stuff. It may sound shallow from our perspective, but it is a remarkable and meaningful human achievement that has delivered greater freedom and happiness than humans have ever known.

Our next challenge is to preserve human dignity and our basic political and economic order in an environment that no longer rewards labor and capital in traditional ways. “Hard work” the way we once defined it is an economic dead end. Creative work and the careful use of capital are the only economic pathways with a reasonable prospect of success. Everything from education to the social safety net requires hefty adaptation on a frustratingly short time frame if we are to avoid many of the dangers lurking in this otherwise promising future.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Art, Economics, Ownership Society
91 comments on “Porn and the future of labor
  1. […] Porn and the Future of Labor, November 2014 […]

  2. johnofgaunt75 says:

    Off topic but I just wanted to encourage everyone to go vote today (if you haven’t already). I too am very frustrated by the current system and the gridlock in Washington but go vote and show your frustrations. Vote for third-parties, whatever. Just vote.

    • Anse says:

      Voted this morning, five minutes in and out, no problem. Straight ticket. Easy.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Thanks. I almost committed the unpardonable sin of NOT voting, due to my frustration with the 2 current parties. I voted mostly third-party (L), with 1 Republican and 1 Democrat thrown in.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Voted early. It’s still fun!

    • objv says:

      I voted early. I’ll let you guess who I voted for.

    • rightonrush says:

      Voted first day of early voting. Voted Lib. Green and Dem. Did not vote for any incumbents. Where there was not a 2-3 person race I left it blank.

      • Anse says:

        It’s good to vote. Even if you do vote for 3rd party candidates. But for what it’s worth, I don’t buy into the vote-the-bums-out logic. Some incumbents are outstanding politicians and deserve to stay in office.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Anse, I agree. I’m against term limits, by the way.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        I voted for a lot of third-parties, mainly to give support for alternative parties in races that will otherwise be a landslide.

        I also voted for some Democrats and some Republicans as well though.

      • rightonrush says:

        I didn’t vote for Kevin Brady nor John Cornyn. I’m not against incumbents so much as I am tired of those two clowns.

      • dowripple says:

        This is the first year I didn’t vote for any Republicans. Never felt better!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        I voted for (horrors!) Republican Ed Emmett as I heard him speak at a seminar and was impressed by his non partisan independence and frank comments but I am disappointed he put his name on some nasty straight ticket Republican attack mailers.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Voted for Emmet, too.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        I like Ed Emmett. I voted for him.

        I also vote for George P. Bush. Despite his stupid “I hate federal regulations” rhetoric which is apparently mandatory now for Republicans, he’s a reasonable person. I have met him several times and now some people who work with him fairly well. Although for the position he is running on now it doesn’t matter, his positions on mainly of the hot button issues is fairly moderate.

  3. CaptSternn says:

    Well, I guess there are a few that tried to come up with something to say here, but not much success. Maybe we just don’t share you fascination with the porn industry or workers.

    Tomorrow is a big day. Will the republicans win control of the senate or not? If they don’t, status quo. If they do, then what will they do? If they do, things should get very interetsing.

    At least I hope so.

    If not, nothing changes.

    • Cap, it’s going to be an interesting day, one way or another. I’m in the Big Easy, so I voted several days ago. It was crowded at 8:30 AM on Wednesday at my early voting station. That was nice to see.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I am very much interested in today. When I went to vote last week, Chris’ Ladd’s number one fear manifested, the poll had a huge line of older white people. I think all that talk about older white people being insecure racist’s has energized them.

      If you are conservative, please vote, democrats vote often. 🙂

    • johngalt says:

      I voted Friday, too, and there was a bit of a line at my early voting place. Nate Silver says the GOP is probably going to take it, which is not surprising given which senators were up this year and the standard fatigue with second term presidents in the mid-terms.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I voted Friday morning, and I was happy to see a healthy mix of minorities and Whites. The one feature that most people had in common is that they were on the older side. I think I was the youngest voter there.

      • johngalt says:

        My early voting location is the Fiesta on South Main. It was the polar opposite of the demography of Kabuzz’s poll.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        JG, my time at the polls was just a snapshot in time as is yours. Neither proves anything, but good try.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        November 4, 2014 at 11:45 am
        “JG, my time at the polls was just a snapshot in time as is yours. Neither proves anything, but good try”

        So why the hell did YOU bring up FIRST buzzy? For a SECOND time on Chris’ blog?

        Feeling insecure for being an old White male troll? You should be buzzy.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bubba, you should get a job in the Continuity Department on a sitcom or soap opera.

    • rightonrush says:

      IMO it will not make a tinkers damn which party “controls” the senate.

    • objv says:

      *Using my Darth Vader voice* Too late, Chris. That is your destiny.

  4. “…people who earn good money from work, rather than from capital,… are, in effect, artists.”

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you add *artisans* to the mix. I’ve pointed out several times in this venue that, with the widening availability of CNC machining and 3D printing, we are headed back to the future that the Founders and Framers knew: a world where the yeoman artisan was the most important cog in the economy.

    In a world where mass produced anythings are available for virtually nothing, the bespoke article becomes inordinately valuable. I make a living slinging rather esoteric code. Building software is far more akin to building a medieval cathedral than most folks might realize. Software developers are *artisans*, much like welders, carpenters, tailors, fashion designers, etc., etc. The same can be said for just about any skilled trade that by virtue of location, personal interaction, specialized skill, or some combination thereof, is difficult to out source or mass produce. Adding “interpretation, customization, and personalization” to any product or service makes it both more useful and more valuable. It’s why skilled welders working on site in remote locations are making six figure salaries.

    I believe that the age of the unskilled factory worker as a bastion of the middle class was an aberration in economic history. We are returning to the normal state of affairs where individual skill and expertise spells the difference between individual economic success or failure. This also implies that the traditional American virtues of self reliance and independence will be making a comeback, too. That’s good news for our country, if not for the left end of the political spectrum.

    • Turtles Run says:

      ” This also implies that the traditional American virtues of self reliance and independence will be making a comeback, too.”

      Exactly when did this time period occur. The nation was founded by thirteen states that needed help from a foreign power France, the American West was settled after the US Army cleared out Native Americans from their land, and the Homestead Act and land given to railroads are huge examples of giveaways to the self-reliant crowd.

      Today’s workers need to adapt to a new work environment but at the same time they need a return of unions that at one time were strong enough to protect workers and programs to help them adapt. But these things are costly and take time to develop but of course we could just have them rely on luck & pluck.

      • Turtles, hate to break it to you, but unions are living fossils (not unlike turtles, whose heyday was back in the Mesozoic). They’re about as relevant as boots on a rooster. Just look at how much they’ve done to help workers “adapt.” Why, almost as much as the Dem party has done for its core constituency. LOL. Wake up. Unions and the Dem party have but one interest, which is keeping the proles on the reservation. You’d be better off asking France for help.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Unions are actually more relevant now and becoming more so every day. They are the groups that are fighting for better wages and working conditions for low paid workers. They are the voice for those with jobs that do not require much skill and as such do not command a large voice when dealing with management.

        As for adapting to a new work environment – that is a task that will take years in not at least decades and requires fundamental changes in our educational system and social safety net.

        Task which the modern GOP are unwilling and incapable of dealing with.

    • johngalt says:

      “we are headed back to the future that the Founders and Framers knew: a world where the yeoman artisan was the most important cog in the economy.”

      No, I can’t really agree with this. We might be entering an age in which an artisan can become noticed from outside normal channels and make a mint of money. J.K. Rowling can write a book in obscurity, have it rejected by dozens of publishers, and finally break through to make hundreds of millions, but she is the exception. Isolated examples like this do not make an economy. Tutt periodically comments on how difficult it is to separate the wheat from the chaff in finding quality material. For the vast majority of people, the marketing machines of large corporations (or social networks) will still drive consumer choice.

      I don’t even think the “yeoman artisan” was the most important cog even 200 years ago. Witness the relentless drive to become more efficient that drove them out of business in the first place. Even the wealthiest wear mostly off-the-rack clothes, perhaps with a few bespoke suits in the closet. Handmade furniture is non-existent (in the marketplace). Artisans don’t make iPhones. Certainly the creative types will make the content, but there are so many of them that only the rarest exception will make lots of money at it.

      • JG, the point is that it’s becoming far *easier* to create bespoke items. One-off parts via 3D laser scanning and printing. Custom parts via 3D CAD design and CNC machining. And all of it done with precision and tolerances that were unthinkable even 20 years ago. 3D modeling, visualization, rendering and manufacturing are now accessible at a very low price point, and it’s already changing the way companies of all sizes do business. See, for instance: http://www.wired.com/2014/04/how-ge-plans-to-act-like-a-startup-and-crowdsource-great-ideas/

        You are right in that mass production drove the artisan out of business 200 years ago. Today mass customization is doing the same thing to mass production. It’s really quite a marvelous time to be alive – makes me wish I was several decades younger.

      • johngalt says:

        Tracy, the desire for bespoke things is about status. If acquisition of these becomes achievable for the masses then they utterly lose their appeal. If you want a well-fitting suit, you want a well-fitting Armani. You don’t want an well-fitting Smith. Maybe there’s a niche market for women having their asses scanned to print the ideal pair of jeans, but I have a hard time seeing this displacing the garment industry any time soon.

        Custom products are great and I have no doubt that some clever entrepreneurs will produce prototypes of awesome things that eventually find a wide market. They will be swimming in a crowded pond, and I doubt the finished product sold to the masses will be 3D printed. How does one go from prototype to mass production? Luck, marketing, social networks? Having the lowest cost production? It comes down to the economic realities that have defined the last 50-100 years. We’re not going back to mass artisanship.

      • John G, I must heartily disagree. Imagine the racquet/tool/pistol/chair/seat/whatever that fits you *perfectly*. Imagine everything you own working *perfectly* for you, because its tailored *exactly* to your wants and needs. Imagine drugs tailored to your exact, unique body chemistry. Imagine prosthetic joints/corneas/organs that match your original equipment *exactly* and work better than new. Imagine utterly unique, one-of-kind everything. That’s where all this is heading, and you’ll gladly pay for it because it’s way better than what you have now.

        It’s not about “wide” markets. It’s not about mass production or mass markets at all. It’s about you as *the* market. It’s about every one as their own market. It’s about choice and convenience orders of magnitude beyond that which you now know.

        The garment market as it now exists will cease to exist. Ladies will have their asses “scanned” (sounds like a fun job) and they’ll pick a design from their favorite designer and have their favorite local fabricator print it on the spot. Done and done.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        John Galt and tthor: I’ve gotten rather tired of having everything so accessible and custom-focused on me. I prefer the element of surprise, the hit-and-miss thrill of the treasure hunt.

        I do most of my shopping these days at antique stores and thrift shops — discovering out-of-print books or music for $1 each, or the blanket or linen in just the perfect shade of mint green.

      • objv says:

        JG, You are a smart guy but I have difficulty believing you are married. (I’ll have to see that marriage certificate, buddy.) Did you ever have sisters or female friends? Do you realize that most women spend countless hours and trips to the mall or outlet in order to find that perfect pair of jeans?

        In my case, after years on my quest, I’ve found near perfection in size 25 waist Joe’s Jeans with a bootylicious cut. (Booty, this case, referring to boot cut, ye of dirty minds.) Still, I wish the waist was a bit smaller and 1/4 to 1/2 inch higher. It would also be nice if I didn’t need to get the jeans hemmed. (Petite sizes are too short; regular sizes are too long.) Oh, yes, and before I forget, the back pocket placement should be slightly higher.

        There is a tremendous market for custom clothes. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and women, especially, care a great deal about how they look. My husband will usually throw on whatever comes to hand in his closet. I buy him neutrals for work so he can’t screw up too badly, but even he has to get things tailored occasionally. He bought some insulated pants for riding his motorcycle during the winter and had to take them to the tailor to get them hemmed. Wouldn’t it have been nice to order them with a custom fit?

      • objv says:

        Tracy, I regret to inform you that technology has already eliminated the potential for butt scanning employment.

        People will be able to use their mobile phones.

        http://sf.racked.com/archives/2014/07/09/use-your-iphone-camera-and-this-app-create-the-perfect-custom-shirt.php

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, my mom worked in alterations, had an industrial sewing machine at home, so I was able to get my clothes altered without any problem.

        As for me, I hate shopping for clothes, so i guess I’m not the typical lady. 😦

        By the way, thanks for posting a photo of yourself. You ARE a pretty lady. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Thanks, Tutta! Yes, I am “stunning.” Thankfully, I am not as stunning as Texan. 🙂 I’ll have to admit the photo makes me look younger. Thank goodness for photo software!

        Governor Martinez is slightly distorted and her nose looks bigger since the photo was taken from two feet away. (I’m quite happy the software blurred my larger nose.) Of the two of us, Susanna Martinez is much, much prettier in real life. I’ll have to console myself with the thought that I’m still more attractive than Christie.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, OV, I think both Governors Martinez and Christie are very attractive.

      • johngalt says:

        Yes, objv, I am married. Like Tutt, my wife hates shopping (lucky me) and has found a few designers whose clothes she likes and fits well and buys 90% of her wardrobe online.

      • objv says:

        JG, your wife (and Tutt) might find that ordering custom clothes might suit them much better than hours spent shopping for clothes. Imagine this … your wife goes to the site of her favorite designer and picks something she likes, she then does a scan of her body measurements with her mobile phone and orders the item. A package arrives two days later. Wouldn’t that be convenient?

      • objv says:

        I buy most of my clothes online as well. My biggest problem is that sizes vary and a dress or pair of slacks that looks good online may not fit well.

        Your wife may be one of the lucky women who have the right body proportions to fit into a certain size. I’m not as fortunate, and my discard pile when I try on clothes corresponds to the clothes I buy about 10:1.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I would like to point out that while artisans and artists know how to practice their crafts, they often realize they may lack other necessary skills to keep a business float.

      What do they do?

      They join a union — to learn collections, negotiation, bookkeeping, tax strategies, etc., and to share resources, build temporary project teams and invest for retirement.

      So while I love to think about all we artists make sought after, much valued objects for purchase of discerning clients, it’s a small part of staying float.

      I’m with turtles. Unions are valuable.

      https://www.freelancersunion.org

      • johngalt says:

        I mostly disagree that unions are serving a constructive purpose today. There’s nothing wrong with collective bargaining for working conditions, hours and pay, but today we have achieved absurdity of work rules that mandate calling an electrician to move a desk lamp or allow workers to retire at 50.

        What Bobo points out is not a union, but a professional association that provides practical services for their members. I’m a member of several professional organizations like this and I certainly wouldn’t call them unions.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        They call themselves a union.

      • johngalt says:

        They can call themselves a jelly doughnut, but that doesn’t make it so.

  5. Anse says:

    This could have been written about the music industry. A buddy of mine who was once the drummer for a modestly-successful pop band a few years ago (by “successful” I mean they toured Europe a couple of times, played Lollopalooza, and had a minor hit that got regular radio play in Austin for a while) complained about the royalty checks he was getting from Spotify. I believe he got a check for $1.75 for over 20,000 plays of that one song. He’s doing other things now and is no longer in a regular touring band, but it must be extremely frustrating.

    • Crogged says:

      I think technology has made it possible for ‘anyone’ to sound like a musician. Older consumers, because of time constraints, won’t leave the house to support real musicians except for those they recall from their youth. It has always been the case that the radio supports the tour, which is where the musician made ‘real’ money.

      • Anse says:

        It is true that musicians have never made very much money from recording, but services like Pandora and Spotify are exploiting the work of musicians in ways that radio was not allowed to do. I don’t blame my friend for his frustration. But music is cheap now. It’s just not valued the way it used to be valued. Now it’s usually just a soundtrack for some other form of commerce. In fact, their band’s highest earnings came the year Apple paid them a nice chunk of money to have their song in a commercial that played overseas.

        In the long term, I think things will be fine for musicians, but I think the industry as we’ve always known it is doomed. For a few thousand bucks you can buy the equipment necessary to record an album of professional quality right in your own home. The internet makes promotion far easier. Aside from hyping an artist’s work to sell copies (and hopefully concert tickets), what does a record label do, exactly? All they do is make copies of something other people make, and iTunes makes that a joke. Musicians don’t need record labels anymore.

      • “…radio supports the tour…”

        Bingo. Think of iTunes, Pandora and Spotify as free advertising. Pandora has turned me on to artists I would have otherwise been unaware of, because I’d have *never* heard them on the radio.

      • Anse says:

        That’s great Mr. Thorleifson, but the question is, how does this translate into profit for the artists? Will you go see them in concert? If you are like me, the answer is probably no (my excuses: I’ve got a kid and I’m old. I haven’t stayed up past midnight in years). Perhaps you will download some of their music, which offers a modest payment to the artist, but few musicians will make a living making music. Which, as we’ve already pointed out, has always been the case with musicians. I think the frustration lies in the fact that *somebody* is making money, and loads of it; these streaming services, iTunes, etc. Just not the people who actually make the product.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I wish I could help. I’m not a big fan of digital music. I have mostly CDs, although I buy a lot of used vinyl records and some of the new 180 gram vinyls.

      When it comes to books, for example, I often wonder who I am supposed to be helping. Should I try to keep bookstores open and pay extra to Barnes & Noble? Should I save money and buy online from Amazon? Or really look out for myself and buy cheap from Goodwill?

  6. Crogged says:

    Several years ago a group of guys were driving somewhere and someone remarked on the computer screen which would be in the car delivering route and traffic information. The smartest guy in the car said, “Nah, the dudes will be looking at porn…….”

    “What has been lost is the hope of ever moving up that ladder.”

    To what end? Americans are so consumed by the journey (manifest destiny, space, my golf handicap) to the extent we forget who we are, where we are, right here, right now. Maybe this isn’t the end of technology, but the beginning of finding new purposes for living, which start with being in the moment and not looking ahead.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Another way of looking at Lifer’s current thread — there is just so much out there, so readily available, at our fingertips — gadgets, music, movies, books, news, “friendship,” information in general– I don’t know what to engage in next; I find so much choice overwhelming, and therefore lacking in value and substance, truly “cheap.”

  7. “Any value delivered by freeware shows up as a smoking hole of economic catastrophe.”

    Um…nah, never mind.

  8. tuttabellamia says:

    Porn is such a boring topic. We can’t seem to think of anything to say.

  9. tuttabellamia says:

    As Archie Bunker once said, All the “hookeries” are going out of business now that regular girls are giving it away for free.”

  10. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Finally, I am so glad people are finally coming around to realizing that I am an artist with the things I do on my pay-per-view webcam.

    Statstud.com — putting the “man” in MANOVA

  11. rightonrush says:

    I thought everybody knew that if you watch porn and touch yourself you would go blind.

  12. tuttabellamia says:

    So, what if they held an orgy and nobody came?

  13. lomamonster says:

    Shucks! There goes the idea of 3D printed sex dolls…

  14. johngalt says:

    Seriously, though, I’m less concerned about the middle/upper middle class professional than the lower class. Throughout history the vast majority of the work necessary to survive and build a civilization required manual labor, literal sweat equity. 150 years ago, agriculture consumed 75% of the labor force in this country. Today, vastly more food is generated on nearly a billion acres of farmed/ranched land by about 1% of the work force. In 1955, GM employed 625,000 people to make about 5 million cars. In 2013, they employed 219,000, yet produced 9.7 million cars. The jobs that put a Chevy in the garage, meat on the table and two weeks at the beach in the summer have been disappearing.

    The former blacksmith who Sternn notes is no longer here found work in the factory. The seamstress became a retail clerk or a secretary. Where is today’s factory worker going to be employed tomorrow? This idea of 15 hour work weeks is nonsense, but a large part of our workforce is not presently capable of making meaningful contributions in a knowledge economy. Changing this will take decades and a wholesale reimagining of our education system.

  15. johngalt says:

    Mrs. Lifer: “Chris, what are you doing on the computer!?!”

    Chris: “Ummm…nothing, honey. Just doing some research for my blog.”

  16. CaptSternn says:

    Not sure I want to post under this entry, but …

    I know nothing of the porn industry other than I could have been a multi-millionaire had I dealt with the industry back in my web design and programming days in the 1990’s. I chose not to deal with it due to my religious convictions (*gasp* DISCRIMINATION! And discrimination based on religious views on top of just discrimination.).

    With that out of the way, the “business” has only shifted and people are still making big money on such things. The money is being made by the hosting sites now. If they are not charging people to view it, they are making money on advertising.

    You are using WordPress rather than building your own site, doing all the programming, hosting, database design and administration, graphic design and page layout. Do you think WordPress isn’t making money off you?

    Google beat out the other search engines, but doing a search on Google is free. Google Chrome is free. Google Earth is free. Google is a multi-billion dollar company that employs a whole lot of people. What?

    So I wonder what your real point is? Is it that blacksmiths have been put out of business? The horseless carriage replaced the horse-drawn carriage? Or as Tutt puts it, will the artists that hand knit blankits or make quilts replace the cheaper mass-produced blankets? Or is the “art” in creating cheaper mass-produced blankets? Or should we make our own blankets by hand, grow our own food?

    I suspect this is you once again laying the groundwork for paying people to not work or produce, the “minimum income” thing. But where does that income come from? Oh, right, take from those that have adapted and earn and redistribute it to those that haven’t and dont.

    But seriously, what is your focus on porn? I don’t get that part.

    • CaptSternn says:

      One thing I included yesterday but deleted (got rather long winded, if that can apply to typing) is that the money shifts for those that are smart enough and adaptable. Back the the 1990’s the money was in web design and programming. I could do a web site from top to bottom, graphic design, page layout, database creation and design, GUi’s ,,, .

      But I and my business partner knew it was a bubble. I started working on a site where people could design and build their own sites using templates, and even include a shopping cart or other type of interactive site. The money would be in hosting, advertising, and continuing to create more templates and better shopping carts. That is one thing I was doing during the dot com crash period. I ran out of money and time and it never got off the ground. Now there is Web.com.

      Then I fell into IT work and became a Network Administrator.

      (Another thing I was working on was a blog, though there was no such word at the time that I know of. That idea would never take off. Ain’t nobody interested in such a thing. D’oh!.)

      Anyway, that was the idea behind bringing up Google, WordPress and the shifting of revenue. Capitalism adapts. Capatlists adapt. Some jobs are left behind and new jobs are created.

  17. tuttabellamia says:

    Sorry — All this about the importance of human/social capital, and how artisanship will have the upper hand — Somehow I don’t see people choosing to buy the lovingly hand-knitted expensive blanket over the cheap, mass-produced one from China. Or am I misunderstanding the entire concept?

  18. tuttabellamia says:

    All this talk of the importance of human/slci

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