Megan McArdle's readers insist that her support for legalized prostitution ought to force her to deal with the question whether she'd do the work herself. Her answer — sensible up to a point — is there are plenty of jobs she doesn't want to do. Her post doesn't explore whether we ought to protect young, weak, and economically hard-pressed individuals from doing things that will probably hurt them. The question is how harmful is the work — if you consider what it would be if it were legal? So thinking about whether you would want to do it — when you are not a weak or desperate person — is a decent test of whether it is so harmful that the law should be used to protect people from it. Admittedly, this is only looking at whether the prostitute is harmed by prostitution, but let's focus on that. Would you consider a career in prostitution? Assume reasonable benefits: great pay, excellent health care, a safe, well-run workplace, interesting colleagues. Would you?
ADDED: I reconsider the question in light of butterflies.