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se woankasa wo tiri ho a...:Porn In Ghana????

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gkdapaa

Perhaps it's just me, but the threat of potential emergence of a pornography industry in Ghana has received less attention than expected. So i wonder: Is it because we are ready for such an industry or, as usual, we are waiting for it to become a problem before we start to address it (better late than never, right?)? If it's being debated on in parliament, then fine; else let's start to ponder on this porn issue that seems to be few steps away from us. THE QUESTION IS, SHOULD WE APPROVE PORN IN GHANA? (I heard about the strippers in nite clubs debate but haven't yet heard an argument on porn)
MY POINT OF VIEW (PLEASE READ ALL BEFORE YOU CRITIQUE)
****I think in pondering over this, we ought to not let our religious beliefs bias our comments as we all don't practice the same religion!
In my opinion, the emergence of a porn industry could help accelerate Ghana's economic growth (Creation of jobs). However, I am worried about when we approve of such an industry. If Ama or Kwame had a variety of job opportunities to choose from, and she/he decides to choose do porn, pas de probleme (not a problem); it's not a problem because Ama/Kwame chose the profession-pornography- that would benefit her/him the most. However, if Kwame chose porn because he had no other option, then we need to be concerned (a lot!). In this light, I careless about the emergence of a porn industry but I do worry about when we endorse it as legal. If Ghana doesn't create options for her children before she welcomes pornography, I worry that porn will be the only highly attractive option to our sons and daughters (as drug-dealing used to be for our fellow black folks in the ghettos of United States).
On the contrary, if Ghana welcomes porn after it has provided her children with a number of job opportunities, then we know that the people who choose to become porn actors are the ones who actually love and enjoy the profession.
Our ancestors were right in thinking that: "Akokora bone na oma nkwadaa we amane tire!".

Comments

paa.kwesi

Just to say that I don't

Just to say that I don't see much of a difference between the two scenarios since any choice involves a preference so whether one chooses to steal or not is not really about whether there're other job opportunities (only the prosecutor will bring that up for making her argument stronger).

And we don't have to evaluate everything only in terms of economic returns. The society's well-being depends on several factors, only one of which is economics. In fact Ghana has a lower valuation of "cash returns" economics as a part of our society than say the US or the UK--by this I mean to say, you can live pretty comfortably in Ghana without participating in the cash economy (just move to the village, get yourself a nice farm and you'll find that you don't need cash except for very very few things). On the other hand, you need cash for everything because the economy is structured such that value can only be exchanged via cash to a large extent.

To unduly harp on cash returns ignores the reality of our economic situation (across board, not just in the big cities) I think.

paa.kwesi

This latter point--that our

This latter point--that our economy is not solely cash-based--actually reminds me of a conversation I had with an unnamed taxi-driver as we were waiting in traffic at the National T in Accra.

The conversation went something along the lines of him saying he's not very happy with the NPP government at all. So I asked why. And he went like, "Well, you see, when the NDC was in power, when the money came we all felt it, but the NPP keeps it all to themselves". i.e. the few people who actually do participate more fully in the cash economy (mostly government, urban businesses, urban professionals) in Ghana reap the full rewards of whatever "economic progress" the numbers report. If you hang out at the drinking spots at night, you run into these folks--Ghana is very good for them, the beer flows, the party rocks. The economy is booming! If you spoke to them alone, you'll be very encouraged for Ghana. These guys think in USD, not even cedis :) Those who don't participate in this cash economy are the rest who are always complaining that though the numbers say Ghana is doing well, they're not feeling it. The taxi-driver pretty much explained to me that the NDC people (when in gov't) were show-boys. They'll bring the money to town and spread the fun across. So even though, the rest do not necessarily participate directly in this cash-based macro-economy, they feel the effects of any prosperity or lack thereof through their splurging friends in gov't or other high places.

gkdapaa

so Economists never claim decisions are motivated by only cash!

[quote=paa.kwesi]Just to say that I don't see much of a difference between the two scenarios since any choice involves a preference so whether one chooses to steal or not is not really about whether there're other job opportunities (only the prosecutor will bring that up for making her argument stronger).
[/quote]
Paa Kwesi, so are these two scenarios the same?
1)I consume gari because there is no rice in the market (and not because i can't afford rice nor I like rice)
2)I consume gari because it's my favorite (thus i would always choose gari over rice).

The first case should worry policy-makers but we should not lose any sleep over the second one.

Also, theft differs from porn: If kofi steals, some other person (the victim of the theft) loses! Hence, there is a direct externality effects associated with theft. On the other hand, if Ama decides to do porn, there is no such victim. (Note that, both acts come with externality effects such as shame on family but i will address this aspect later). Therefore, there is no question about why theft should be proscribed in all cases while porn could be allowed if we do our homework right.

I guess your question is "why should we not be concerned if Ama chooses to do porn when there are other job opportunities?"

Notice that all agents do a cost-benefit analysis and make decisions that make them the happiest (ie that yield the highest return, not necessarily percuniary). So if Ama (an adult female) chooses to do porn when there are several job opportunities, Economists believe porn is the job that yields Ama the highest profit (Profit = [Percuniary benefits + non-percuniary benefits]-[Percuniary cost + non-Percuniary cost]). (So Economists never claim decisions are motivated by only cash incentives) Note that non-percuniary cost include shame while non-percuniary benefit include the enjoyment she gets from doing porn. So why should policy-makers whine over a decision of an adult? For a similar reason, most economists argue that certain drugs that has no health hazards (like weed) should be legalized. Also, this could explain why most societies do not ban cigarette-smoking despite its clear effect on the smoker. (The external effects of smoking-emission of carbon mono oxide- amounts to the higher taxes placed on cigarettes).

Thus my point is whether or not we allow porn in Ghana is not an issue; however, the season ("jobby" or jobless) we allow it plays an important role!

Gyasi K Dapaa

paa.kwesi

Ah, the way you state it

Ah, the way you state it brings out the differences in motivations affecting the choice.

... And I am saying is that nonetheless there is a choice--on the one hand you could choose not to eat gari and starve, or on the other hand you could choose not to eat gari and eat rice and gain less pleasure.

However, beyond economics, policy-makers do have to make judgments. And I say "judgment" because no one can really make a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis so that at the end of the day the limited CBA that is usually done is merely a tool for analysis--it shouldn't make decisions for thinking humans.

Useful criteria for evaluating/defending any such judgments made include:
- economic cost-benefit analysis
- effect on those affected by the policy
- effect on those not affected by the policy
- timing and political climate
- ...

So it's not quite clearcut in making such a decision if you want to approach it logically. In reality though, many decisions are not taken in a logical fashion, which is why we need policy-makers who have the right set of intuitive skills to make the right call even with limited information. If they happen to get the intuition wrong, we vote them out/disapprove of their work. Their mistake just looks better on them when they defend their "bad" (in retrospect) decisions with evidence of logical analysis (such as a CBA, etc) but it doesn't make the effect of the decision any better.

gkdapaa

I agree but with little modification!

[quote=paa.kwesi]

Useful criteria for evaluating/defending any such judgments made include:
- economic cost-benefit analysis
- effect on those affected by the policy
- effect on those not affected by the policy
- timing and political climate
- ...
[/quote]
I agree but with a little modification! Your 2nd and 3rd criteria all fall under cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Effects are always beneficiary(benefits) or harmful(costs). Also, everyone (including non-Economists) should see why policies should be motivated by only CBA: If the cost of a decision exceeds the benefit, why should we implement it? It's rather unfortunate that political climate (as you correctly point out) affects decisions of policy-makers and we see clearly how such non-CBA approach to decision-making result in societal inefficiencies/losses. For instance, failure to tax cigarette-smoking for fear of losing an election may result in an environment hazardous to life!

[quote=paa.kwesi]
So it's not quite clearcut in making such a decision if you want to approach it logically. In reality though, many decisions are not taken in a logical fashion, which is why we need policy-makers who have the right set of intuitive skills to make the right call even with limited information
[/quote]

I don't agree very much with your claim that decisions are not made logically. Decisions motivated by politics in most cases are not logical but let's, for now, forget about how politics may distort the rationality of decisions. It's common knowledge that given complete information about costs and benefits, a person would make the decision that has the highest net return. However, information (as you rightfully note) is limited and hence may impede our decision-making. This scarcity of information doesn't necessarily cause individuals to decide in any haphazard manner. The fact that I don't know with certainty what my future earning would be doesn't necessarily mean i should decide my current spending with the toss of a coin (I could consult an expert in forecasting who could project my future earnings given the limited information available, ie my education, sex, and other relevant information). In the presence of this scanty information, human beings strive to make logical/rational/CBA decisions especially if the costs of misjudgment/mistakes/deviations-from-the-optimal are substantial. For instance, most people spend more time (and in most cases consult on) school choices, career choices, etc but less time on the food they want to eat. Hence, in the presence of limited information, agents (at least the rational ones) employ CBA in making decisions (which is a good thing). Anyone who thinks before acting is implicitly weighing the costs against the benefit.

Since it's well established in society that adults (people over 21 in most cases) are responsible (in other words, able to do CBA), it's appropriate (or optimal) for policy-makers to intrude in the decision-making of adults only if those decisions have third-party (externality) effects. What am i saying? I am saying that policy-makers could for instance regulate cigarette-smoking (or theft) because if person A smokes cigarette, person B is unduly harmed by person A's action and hence the need for policy-makers to intervene. However, if person A (an adult) decides to do porn (which has no Direct third-party effect), inspite of the availability of several job options, he or she has more information about the reasons for her choice (than the policy-maker) and thus should be allowed to do so. For instance, if I decide to become a Mathematician instead of an engineer, inspite of the cash and non-cash rewards of both professions, that should not be a problem to anyone but myself.
As our ancestors said: "Dee Odwan pe na ode ne kaka bo (translated literally as the sheep chooses the place for its toothache)". Notice here that our ancestors believed that the sheep knew its physiology better than anyone else and hence could choose the right place for its toothache (lol).

Gyasi K Dapaa

paa.kwesi

I agree in principle with

I agree in principle with everything you said. However, I'm only saying that in practice, information is always less than perfect even when evaluated by a professional. And I mean that the professional is almost always not even aware of all that she doesn't know. It's arrogant of anyone to assume they know all they don't know (by definition that's impossible). But professionals often know the minimum amount of information required to make a reasonably good decision.

I still am not making a conclusion about the merits or otherwise of porn as a job because it must be decided in a very specific local context. It will be arrogant of me to assume I know all that I don't know (about this specific local context for which a decision ought to be made) and thus pronounce a decision. In a way, I've reached the end-point--y'know like the Rambo vs. Commando: who's the stronger? impasse :)

OMANBA

Re: PORN MOVIES

[quote=gkdapaa]Perhaps it's just me, but the threat of potential emergence of a pornography industry in Ghana has received less attention than expected. So i wonder: Is it because we are ready for such an industry or, as usual, we are waiting for it to become a problem before we start to address it (better late than never, right?)? If it's being debated on in parliament, then fine; else let's start to ponder on this porn issue that seems to be few steps away from us. THE QUESTION IS, SHOULD WE APPROVE PORN IN GHANA? (I heard about the strippers in nite clubs debate but haven't yet heard an argument on porn)
MY POINT OF VIEW (PLEASE READ ALL BEFORE YOU CRITIQUE)
****I think in pondering over this, we ought to not let our religious beliefs bias our comments as we all don't practice the same religion!
[/quote]

This topic takes me back to a discussion on prostitution. And personally i dont see the emergence of the Porn Industry as a threat. It is just a hybrid of an already existing sex industry gone Video and just one of the many variants of the sex trade.
Pornography has existed in traditional circles albeit on a stealth basis. Most people are no strangers to the 'hush hush' blue film which originally featured Caucasian actors and actresses, so if people in the already existing Ghanaian sex industry want to do the reverse and feature their own kind, i think it makes sense.

The only trouble is the clashes between Economics, Religious Morality and Social Welfare. I agree that its got economic advantages but that can only be achieved by legalising and regulating it. That way it doesn't go underground, haywire and menacing. If it is not regulated, the private enterpreneurs pocket the proceeds, do not pay tax or are not accountable to anyone. They can breach the rights of people who work for them and can engage in illegal modes of operation.

The Moral religious judges also have a point. The sex industry contravenes and ticks all the FILTHY boxes of religious piety. But then who are they to judge somebody's private decision based on their personal religious beliefs?
I am all for engaging with the 'Gentiles' through Salvation and showing the way to morality is the preserve of any good religion. What i detest however is the fanatical approach and waving of the red flag of religion when inevitable social issues arises. For in that respect you might find that a group of prostitutes for example whose base is probably in a school complex might also find the all-night service of a particular church which operates in the assembly hall as a breach of their nocturnal business location if the argument for rights was to be carried.
So in effect extremism, is not the answer nor the way to tackle social issues. It needs to be studied, and where it can be tolerated, it needs to be regulated. Obviously not everyone will be happy but its peaceful that way.

On social Welfare, well the sooner we accept that the porn industry (or shall i say the sex industry)wont go away the better. What is important is (as some previous commentators have pointed out)that the emergence of such Social norms and forms do not ascend as a result of deprivity, so veering towards it is seen as a neccessary evil but rather more as an independent facet where individuals drift towards it by choice.
Obviously we have led a sheltered life for decades, so i can understand why certain issues are like thunderbolts in Ghanaian society the minute they arise, but perhaps we are also loosing sight of the fact that the World is changing and with Intecontinental commerce, global mergers and the Information highway, nothing is such a big deal anymore. We need to wake up and smell the coffee.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

manchester

People who choose porn

People who choose porn really do like the work, and not everyone is cut out for the job. Everyone thinks they can be a porn star but if they were to be put in front of a camera crew and need to perform it would be a bit different then what they are used to. If you are in the UK as I am and are looking for a good time I would suggest london escorts as they have some great people work with them.

mandock

LET'S APPROVE PORN IN GHANA!

Let's approve porn in Ghana. And while we are at it let's also approve bestiality,marijuana use,public sex,orgies and all the other morally questionable yet borderline things we know people do anyway.None of the above is a blatant crime (though statutes may vary from place to place) and surely you can get robust supply and demand for each especially if we are disregarding the influence of religion or morals.

Before we send of our girl children to school let's make them aware that in case they don't succeed,they can pose in the nude,have sex with STD infested gang bangers, midgets, sado-masochists and misogynists who will humiliate and abuse them for a buck and record it on VHS,DVDs and high-speed internet websites for their grandmothers,fathers and friends to see.Let's also encourage our intelligent sons to take up the profitable entrepreneurial endeavor of pimping and instil in them the dream that someday they can become rich porn producers and actors.

Given that most Ghanaians earn less than a dollar a day,we could even become a global porn hub to generate foreign exchange for the country or as gkdapaa brilliantly put it "economic growth".Given that most of our women and girls are already economically marginalized, we can be rest assured that the proceeds from porn will improve their fortunes greatly.

Even our pre-teen children could earn an income this way by working for the hugely successful underground child porn market.After doing their long-division and playing some Ampe,they could run to a porn studio and record a video or two.Over time, Ghana will be renowned for this great economic 'miracle' espoused by gkdapaa.

SOMETIMES SARCASM IS THE BEST WAY TO ANSWER THE PROVERBIAL FOOLISH QUESTION THAT TEN WISE MEN CANNOT ANSWER. KNOWLEGE IS KNOWING THE TOMATO IS A FRUIT,WISDOM IS NOT PUTTING IT IN YOUR FRUIT SALAD.

"creation of jobs","economic growth" "personal choice"...these are all academic knowlege but even a child can see why they may not be wise for Ghana in this context. SHOULD WE APPROVE PORN IN GHANA? Are you serious? Show me one country whose leaders and policymakers have had to deliberate and decide that question with a view to benefitting from it.NONE. In the US and Europe where it's a booming industry,it is the inadvertent ofshoot of social and cultural evolution not least of which has been the decline of family values,decline of religion and the upsurge of secularism even as disposable incomes have arisen.

Let us never compare our dear Ghana to these places in the name of personal freedom and liberalism. These ideas have no roots in our way of life.

RESPECT THE AUTHORITY OF THE IDEA AND NOT THE IDEA OF AUTHORITY

www.ghanaunite.blogspot.com

www.ghanaunite.com

OMANBA

I dont think sarcasm is the

I dont think sarcasm is the answer either Mandock. See when dealing with National issues of such nature one cannot bury one's head in the sand like an Ostrich and say its not happening nor wave a red flag and say walahi not on my land. These are things that are happening everyday and by people's choices (note not popular choice) and a candid discussion is the only way forward.

I dont think Gkdapaah is advocating for the worrying scenarios that you present all in the name of economics...that would be madness. But neither can you vouch for a porn-free, prostitution free Ghana either. You wont be a realist then and probably living on a different planet (maybe heaven with the angels). So where do you stand on the issue? I think the topic is quite diverse and if we allow for candid constructive opinions we might all learn something from contributions from different schools of thought.

As for your argument regarding income, i dont think it holds. If film producers are generating huge incomes from production, why shouldn't they be made to pay tax to boost the economy like other counterparts. They are running a business afterall and making millions tax free. Moreover, i dont think that would sound off a mass invitation for participants; rather the opposite because when tax is involved and there is some accountability there is no free loading and joy riding.

mandock

rejoinder,OMANBA

OMANBA, I don't think you fully understand my (sarcastic) position. What I wrote is the logical extension of self-described Economist, gkdapaa's argument when he writes, "In my opinion, the emergence of a porn industry could help accelerate Ghana's economic growth (Creation of jobs)." You see, the porn industry is not as sexy as you see it; it's brutal and typifies the worst of the unequal male-female power dynamic that has existed and been accepted by societies for years.The irony of my sarcastic "scenarios" which you find "disturbing" is that it's actually the real-life stories of countless people.

The winners are seldom ever the abused women you see in the films (all the major porn CEOs/producers are male and there are close to zero women on the business/money side.Even if we grant that the women choose it and enjoy it,the fact remains that the porn business does not favor their economic interests not to talk of other interests).The true human costs are often borne by a demographic that society hasn't given a fair chance to (granted some people choose and enjoy working in the industry).This is precisely my understanding of PK's arguments about cost-benefit which our resident Economist rejects outright.

So what is my position? I am not religious when it comes to policy or national issues and I am liberal on most economic and social issues.In fact,it may surprise you to learn I am not even opposed to pornography per se (on very different grounds than this discussion merits).Let people make porn in Ghana for all I care but to argue for its legitimization and "acceptance" based on economic grounds or the fact that 'people will do it anyway' doesn't make much sense to me and smacks of intellectual fraud.It's the sort of question that makes good debate but little practical sense.

RESPECT THE AUTHORITY OF THE IDEA AND NOT THE IDEA OF AUTHORITY

www.ghanaunite.blogspot.com

www.ghanaunite.com

gkdapaa

questions (rhetorical though) for you, my friend Mandock

Mandock, I would have re-lectured you about why we punish certain behaviour in society but time is not on my side. However, it would have been nice and more beneficial to fellow readers if before you decided to critique my comments, you read them carefully and even followed the subsequent discussions I had with Paa Kwesi. Since you didn't please tell me..... Would you allow your parents to continue to make decisions for you even after you have become an adult? If your answer is No, then why should you even advocate that dictating for another adult is a good thing? Parents could only advise an adult son/daughter.

An adult is a person old enough to weigh the consequences of his/her actions and hence such a person should be free to make whatever choices that please him/her as LONG AS THE CHOICES DON'T INFRINGE ON OTHER PEOPLE's RIGHTS. This is the only way we could prevent people with authority from choking powerless folks with their beliefs and dogmas. A well-deserved follow up question is therefore, "why do we punish behaviors like smoking, theft, etc?" It's very obvious that these actions have negative tolls on third-parties. If you smoke, you don't only become unhealthy but you also make the environment unsafe for others (got the trick now??, I hope so).

Unless you are able to point out some of these third-party effects of porn on society, you can't prevent adults who like sex and willingly want to become porn stars from realizing their dreams. That should certainly be a human rights violation! Your argument that women are maltreated in porn movies doesn't hold neither unless the women didn't know they would be maltreated. What looks like maltreatment to you could be a delicacy to others. The law should certainly punish any director who forces these actresses to do stuffs against their will; on the other hand, a woman (adult) who willingly decides to degrade herself has weighed all the benefits against the costs, and hence should be allowed to do so. (Ask your economics prof at Harvard about the welfare distortions of restricting an externality-free behavior)

I wonder if you remember your own saying that : "Respect the authority of an idea and NOT THE IDEA OF AUTHORITY". Well, i understood this to mean less government in people's private lives is always good!
Gyasi K Dapaa

mandock

rejoinder,gkdapaa

gkdapaa, I am not questioning the logic of your argument or the soundness of your Economic assumptions and conclusion--I am rejecting them because I don't think they should apply in assessing the question,"should we approve porn in Ghana?". I am also not questioning the correctness of your liberal philosophical arguments on personal choice--I am rejecting them in this specific context because I don't think the question is reducible to that alone either.

In other words even if I agree that porn leads to economic growth (which is questionable by the way) and that adults must be allowed to choose any lifestyle that doesn't have a negative third-party externality (porn,marijuana,bestiality,orgies... etc), I still DISAGREE with you because that is NOT the best framework with which to fully assess the question. Policy/government/life is not always all about economics;about market distortions,supply-demand,lemmas and models.

I have high regard for your ideas and insights on many issues so don't consider this personal in any way.I simply need convincing as to why "we" (whether government or individuals in Ghana,a poor culturally conservative society) should "allow" (permit,tolerate,encourage,accept,embrace,legitimize,defend) a porn industry in Ghana.So far your arguments though systematic and rational don't appear convincing; what John Locke calls a metaphysical truth but a practical falsehood.

RESPECT THE AUTHORITY OF THE IDEA AND NOT THE IDEA OF AUTHORITY

www.ghanaunite.blogspot.com

www.ghanaunite.com

alicewonderland42

Although a new industry of

Although a new industry of Adult Movies might help the area economically I would never want to see my home turn into a ‘porn town’. There must be other ways to give the economy a boost and provide more jobs.