back to article No, Big Data firm, the UK isn't teeming with UBER-FRISKY GIGOLOS

You may or may not have seen that the government has decided that GDP, the measurement of the size of the economy, should now include the activity surrounding drugs and prostitution. We can now assuage our guilt at that quick shag and a toke on the way home with the thought that we are, in fact, making the country richer as we …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Numbers or not

    Number crunching means an analysis of known numbers, and in fact this article does that very well. And big datashould just mean analysing a bigger data set trawled from available figures. But the orignal article appears, according to this, to be based on a series of assumptions with unknown accuracy built on top of other assumption, also having unknown accuracy. It's not "big data", just big guess work. And probably really no more valid than any other attempt to gain publicity by prodding a bit of controversy.

  2. Chris G

    240 million trembling knees

    At 50 quid a go 6 billion is 120 million knee tremblers a year and ladies of the night would be earning 100K a year. Maybe I should be thinking about buying a Cadillac convertible and a fur coat.

    Perhaps hairdressers could throw out the sun bed in the back room, paint it red and install a nice round divan.

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: 240 million trembling knees

      "ladies of the night would be earning 100K a year."

      Sorta: there's some expenses in there too. They'll get charged at least double rent on their working flat for example (that's pretty standard, double rent in such cases). So it's, umm, turnover, not income.

      The standard estimation is that those servicing the working class get high end working class wages, those the middle class high end middle class wages and so on. Certainly some of them will be making £100k a year in actual income.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    That's not the reason you're looking for

    The EU in its infinite wisdom wants drugs and prostitution added to the GDP figures because it's legal in some places and not in others and that means things aren't harmonised.

    So they add estimations to the GDP where necessary to get nice harmonised figures.

    The estimations are arrived at differently in each country anyway and are in all probability extremely generous.

    So things still aren't harmonised.

    It's not about harmonisation, it's about putting lipstick on the pig that is the EU economies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's not the reason you're looking for

      Do you consider your country a pig or just all the other countries pigs.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: That's not the reason you're looking for

        I consider the country I'm living in one of the PIGS. My country isn't one of the PIGS.

    2. phil dude

      Re: That's not the reason you're looking for

      Shouldn't that be PIGS?


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's not the reason you're looking for

      What it should do is just mandate that drugs be legalised across the EU.

      They can tax the hell out of them and get rid lots of the crime currently associated with it. (Change it from what it is to the same sort of problem that someone selling imported cigs is).

      Plus there is all the money saved by not having to bother spending £40,000 a year keeping someone in jail.

      (Could actually pay for Cameron's tax cut he wants).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This looks like an extremely long-winded way of saying 'garbage in, garbage out'.

    which won't be news to anyone in computer programming.

  5. Chris Miller

    A pedant writes ...

    we're reasonably sure that gay demand for paid sex is only about 10 per cent higher than heterosexual. In the sense that if one per cent of men (usually what it's pegged at) are users or hirers of female companions, then 11 per cent or so of gay men are.

    Wouldn't that make the demand 11x higher, not 10%?

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: A pedant writes ...

      Slightly unfortunate subbing error there. Should be 10% of hetero population

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: A pedant writes ...

        Thanks Tim. I thought 1% sounded a bit low, though 10% sounds a bit high to me. Perhaps I don't move in the right circles, or maybe it's 10% of heterosexual men have visited a prostitute at least once. But 1 in 10 men regularly use prostitutes?

        1. Tim Worstal

          Re: A pedant writes ...

          Lifetime number, not regular users.

  6. Primus Secundus Tertius

    It all makes work...

    Many years ago a song was released that described how the gas man broke the water pipe, which fused the electricity, which scorched the plaster, which fell into the water pipe and blocked it. Or something like that. The chorus line was, "It all makes work for the working man to do".

    I have been waiting ever since for the song, "It all makes work for the working girl to do".

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: It all makes work...

      For your listening delectation:

      Apropos of nothing much at all: one of the performers is the father of Stephanie Flanders, who was the BBC's economics editor for five years. I wonder if the two facts are related?

      1. adam.c

        Re: It all makes work...

        With added Lego...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I understand your point, the impact on the GDP numbers caused by the changes in accounting for R&D that were brought it at the same time is both much greater and far more misleading.

  8. HwBoffin

    And military 'invetsment'

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps that legion of blokes offering aren't meeting with quite the level of success as the sheilas? Certainly I could try offering my special services for £50 a pop but I suspect my first prospective customer would say that's about £100 too much...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    25 encounters a week

    Seriously? I can't say for the guy on guy stuff, but for my encounters with the fair sex when i were younger....25 a week was a warmup.

  11. Bilby

    There is another way to make the numbers fit.

    All the numbers would add up if we binned the un-referenced estimate of 1-3% of the male population being homosexual or bisexual. If the real number is an order of magnitude higher, suddenly the rest fits.

    Given the likelihood in our society that men will massively underreport homosexual or bisexual tendencies, I would find it completely unsurprising if there were a vastly larger number of homosexuals and bisexuals than any survey, no matter how anonymous, would find. People lie. People screw other people and lie about it.

    If, say, 30% of men are homosexual and/or bisexual, then the numbers add up.

    Is there any reason why this possibility wasn't even considered?

    It's the 21st century. Surely we have moved beyond the idea that homosexuality is rare and aberrant behaviour?

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: There is another way to make the numbers fit.

      We've moved beyong it being considered aberrant (in most social cicrles at least) but "rare" still applies. We've simply no evidence at all that the number is as high as 30% of the population. And lots of people have been looking and counting for some time now.

      The very highest number I've seen is from the likes of Stonewall (and Peter Tatchell and the like) at 10%. And that's for one lifetime same sex experience.

      It's possible that the number could be as high as that in some other cultures. The Ancient Athenians had a thing for adult men to have teenage boy lovers, there's at least a sub-culture among the Pathans of similar. But that doesn't apply in this culture we've got right here right now.

  12. DocJames

    MSM v gay

    So, the term "Men who have Sex with Men" is preferred rather than homosexual or gay within the medical community; this is not political correctness gone mad but a description of risk behaviour rather than a personally assigned sexual orientation. MSM are significantly more common than gay men - and not just in prison or the navy, 2 environments where it is well known MSM does not equate to gay.

    I agree with the main thrust (ooo err) of the article though - it is unlikely that male prostitutes earn anything like as much as female on a pro rata basis.

  13. andrewfogg
    Thumb Up

    gender differences amongst sex workers

    A great, thoughtful piece Tim. We did a follow up looking into the gender differences amongst sex workers. It answers some of the questions that you raise. You can read it here

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