Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

Changing skill set in the oldest profession in the world

Posted by alifinmath on March 11, 2008

The latest red herring in the mass media is how the sanctimonious Eliot Spitzer got caught as a call-girl patron. I’ve nothing to say on the blatant hypocrisy of Spitzer except — *yawn* — I’ve seen it all before. The incident I like best was when the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart got caught (about twenty years back). Anyone here remember that one? Incidentally, before I forget, the Republican convention will be here this year and one can expect (as always) planeloads of ladies of the night to arrive.

What I wanted to focus on was the changing skill set at the apex of the profession. I am not, of course, talking about the semi-literate teenage girls one could (can?) find at US truckstops; rather I mean the sophisticated and relatively well-educated women in major US cities, who charge an arm and a leg, and who are often happily married and engage in this activity for some extra pocket money. Such women have to be good not only in bed but equally importantly, at conversation (a client doesn’t pay thousands merely to get laid). What we are now learning is they may need yet another string to their bow: computer skills. This was a comment on an FT blog:

Quite interesting how business models evolve.. it seems it is now a required skill for prostitutes to master scanning documents and who knows may be even prepare Excel spreadsheets to monitor payments..

No wonder -as John Gapper mentions in the operating challenges faced- the pimps of Emperors Club found difficult to recruit adequate numbers of suitably skilled prostitutes to meet demands of business.

This has me musing: perhaps in the near future Excel skills will be required, and experience with both Excel financial functions and VBA a definite plus. Why should prostitution be exempt from the intrusion of the computer?


3 Responses to “Changing skill set in the oldest profession in the world”

  1. Chris Prouty said

    Ironically, their meticulous bookkeeping will likely be their undoing. The Feds famously broke the mob not by convicting them on the basis of murder, extortion, loan sharking, etc, but instead on charges of tax evasion. I’m surprised high-buck criminals haven’t figured it out yet: if you’re moving millions in illicit funds, the only acceptable medium is cash or precious metals – and for God’s sake don’t document the transactions.

    As an aside, I’ve read that drug traffickers are increasingly using Euro notes because 1) they are worth 50% more than dollars and 2) they are issued in 500 Euro denominations, a practice that was discontinued in U.S. currency specifically to discourage the transmission of drug money.

  2. alifinmath said

    I’m not au fait with how drug money (and money from other nefarious activities) is moved around. I do know it probably runs into trillions every year. And I recall a US GAO report of 1995 claiming Citibank was the world’s premier money-laundering organisation. And I do know only a small percentage of these flows are ever detected.If my information isn’t obsolete, any wire transfer of over $10,000 is reported by the banks to the Feds. So at one time, people were doing multiple transfers of sums a bit smaller (say, $8,000). The world is awash with hot money. I just don’t know how it’s done.

    Generally the Feds turn a blind eye towards prostitution and money-laundering (there’s so much of the former going on that trying to eradicate it would be similar to reimposing prohibition). The story I’ve heard is that Wall Street types pressed for inter-state prostitution to be made a federal crime and then pressed the Feds to go after Spitzer. There may be different accounts circulating. I’m not sure what the exact charge against Spitzer is (if any); it seems to be more a case of flagrant hypocrisy. If he had been a Wall Street-friendly Republican type, probably nothing would have happened. After all, Craig is still a senator.

  3. alifinmath said

    This is an addendum to a comment in my post that the physical is only one component in a transaction between a high-class call girl and her client. I was discussing this with a pal of mine yesterday and he mentioned an old short story by Woody Allen: “The Whore of Mensa.” I searched for it online and found it here:

    It’s about girls who sell their ability to chat about matters intellectual to customers who are deprived of such pleasures. It’s absolutely hilarious and I’ll get a printout for myself.

    Oh, and before I forget, here’s a male being used as an intellectual whore:

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