World note on the anthropology of prices

April 22, 2012

On Thursday the NYTImes published a piece on a quarrel between a US secret service agent and an escort in a hotel in Columbia. At the heart of the story was a theory of pricing. 

“She is dismayed, she said, that the news reports described her as a prostitute, as if she walks the streets picking up just anyone.”

““It’s the same, but it’s different,” she said, indicating that she is much more selective about her clients and charges much more than a streetwalker. “It’s like when you buy a fine rum or a BlackBerry or an iPhone. They have a different price.””

“The price alone, she said, indicates she is an escort, not a prostitute. “You have higher rank,” she said. “An escort is someone who a man can take out to dinner. She can dress nicely, wear nice makeup, speak and act like a lady. That’s me.””

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