The recession is almost over – just ask your local porn star

In his book ‘The Downwave’ (1983:Milestone Publications), the eccentric American economist Robert Beckman introduced ‘The Hemline Indicator’. His basic proposition was that ladies skirts went up and down (in length) according to social prosperity. The more wealth that was enjoyed by the common man the higher the dress of his female companion rose.

Recently, at the Bloomsbury Hotel, the first London XBIZ conference took place. It was organised by the trade body of the international porn industry (as reported in ‘Times Modern’ 29.9.11).

Porn is having a hard time. A combination of consumer austerity, pirating and competition from ‘tube’ sites, which show porn for free, is taking its toll of this  industry. Some estimates suggest revenues are down by up to 70%. Porn stars are facing unemployment at worst or lower fees at best. The sector is also facing a proposal that all adult internet entertainment should take the suffix ‘XXX.’ This will add significant costs to its media operations.

The adult entertainment businesses face continuous attacks from religious bodies and child protection groups. It has set up ASACP (The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection). Its aim is to prosecute paedophile film makers.

The only area of the industry which is prospering is webcams where girls connect with clients on Skype.

Porn remains a massive industry. The parent company of ‘Hustler’ magazine reaches 100 million viewers.

Recent fashion shows suggest that longer skirts are in vogue. Perhaps Robert Beckman is right. The porn industry’s dramatic decline might indicate that that the recessional lengthening of skirts is reaching its limits and about to turn.

In his book ‘Back from the Brink’ (Atlantic Books: 2011) the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling writes “forecasting is a difficult task, especially in times of economic stress.”

Take your choice. A long epistle from the Bank of England or the wisdom of your local porn star.

One of them offers a lot more fun and just might be right!

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