Phi Beta Cons

Common Sense Economics from a Porn Star

Do you remember “Belle Knox,” the Duke University student (real name Miriam Weeks) who made headlines earlier this year when a classmate revealed that she works in the adult film industry? After Weeks’s porn background became part of the public record, some left-wingers and sex-positive feminists used her story as a springboard for debating what they consider to be the evils of “patriarchy” and society’s backwards and hypocritical stances on sexuality. Other, more conservative voices criticized Duke University officials for ignoring the case and for failing to take a moral stand against Weeks. 

Regardless of what you may think about Weeks, her recent opinion piece on Time’s website is worth reading. She possesses a solid understanding of higher education’s landscape and the catastrophes that have resulted from a “federal spigot” that primes the pump with an endless stream of subsidies and grants:

Everyone is focused on my decision to perform in porn to pay my tuition. Let’s start paying attention to what got me here. Sky-high tuition bills result from a culture, from our President on down, telling every kid to go to college, regardless of their future plans or ability to graduate.

Weeks also points out that administrative bloat and the rise of collegiate bureaucracies are negative consequences of the government’s flawed postsecondary policies. 

Some have accused “Belle” of uncouthly exploiting her newfound fame to become a popular pundit. That may be the case, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Her latest article displays more common sense and economics understanding than I see from many policymakers and politicians. But maybe that’s not saying much. 

Jesse SaffronJesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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