When I read recently a story about one business dedicated to the sex services in Tallinn, Estonia, and prostitutes’ explanations that their material needs outweighed the disgust of work, I immediately remembered, among others, the fact that many oponents of UBI idea call it immoral because it presumes that people will receive money also “just like that”, not just through a job or business.
The story, published by Õhtuleht newspaper, told about a business set up by a 21 year old woman. She had been a prostitute when she was a teenager, and now she recruited her peers who were in a vulnerable position. The article quoted prostitutes: “I was pregnant and every euro I earned was important.” “It was all humiliating and disgusting! But material needs outweighed personal humiliation and discomfort.”
Well, isn’t this, by coincidence, a good example of high-morality people with a sense of responsibility who UBI’s opponents could set an example for the rest of the world? Instead of depressingly sitting in a corner and waiting for some alms from the state, they found affordable activities that also bring some income to feed the family, be it starting a business or going to work there. Who else, if not them, can describe themselves using such cliché as: “I am not afraid of any job and I am happy to accept various challenges”!
However, all this exemplary and beautiful is threatened by the subversive activities of UBI spokespersons throughout Europe. A striking example can be found at www.sign.eci-ubi.eu, where signatures are collected until Christmas in order for Brussels to make the snowball of the introduction of an Unconditional Basic Income to roll across the European Union.
If it succeeds, no one will want to work as a prostitute anymore, the existing ones will leave their jobs and they will not even hide their ingratitude towards a recent employer! True, this may be a little exaggerated. We cannot say that there are no people at all who, in contrary, are interested in the profession of prostitute, some of whom perhaps take an “observer” attitude towards their clients, and there are even some “Belle de Jour” * among them? But how many are they?
Of course, we cannot ignore the victims of human trafficking either – their pimps in Estonia have no choice but to pray that Russia, Ukraine and Moldova will never achieve the implementation of the UBI. After all, when people get UBI, they start to become picky and vigilant, no longer accept every “challenge” – and they are not enticed by “business trips” to the European Union.
Recently, another under-miner occurred in Estonia. A NGO called Eluliin (Lifeline) stands for the complete criminalization of sex buying, and they also made a corresponding proposal to the Ministry of Justice. But rest assured – at least as long as they don’t become fellow fighters for UBI advocates, their actions are still quite safe. If they get what they want, it will certainly cut the wings of this business sector, but it will not put them at risk of extinction.
It is clear that criminalizing the purchase of a sex service makes the sex seller a stronger party, and if the client does not behave properly, then only the fact that he bought the sex service will be enough… But it does not take away the main thing – the economic motivation to start selling sex.
Unconditional Basic Income, on the other hand, strengthens the position of any employee, making him or her equal with any employer in the labor market. If you get to the deal, then you get to, and if not, you go apart, if you keep distance (with each other), then you keep – and life goes on. Getting a job is no longer taking a lifebuoy, but a dignified boarding. Falling overboard is also dignified, without fear, because the life jacket called UBI is around. A person in a life jacket maintains peace and makes reasonable choices. Soaking in water eventually becomes annoying, but a lifebuoy is no longer needed.
Employers, whose success has so far been based on fellow citizens in need of a lifebuoy, need to seriously consider the reasonability of their further existence when UBI is taken in use. What else to do if your recent easy-to-catch prey has a life jacket.
* Belle de Jour –
1) A novel by Joseph Kessel (1928) and a film based on it (1967), in which the female protagonist provides sex services in daytime when her husband is at work
2) a pseudonym of the writer and blogger who’s real name is Brooke Magnanti, who was a call girl in London during her doctorate and described this life and her clients in a blog, also called Belle de Jour. Later, she published some books based on this blog