Browsing longform.org I came across I Spent a Month Living In A Romanian Sexcam Studio. Had to click that one.
It was a fine enough read and not too long for longform. I learned who plays Farmville – the Romanian online “models”. Hey, who doesn’t dream of living on a farm during their boring cubical job?
I learned that Romania has a faster download speed than any G20 nation.
I read that all the business is “horny Americans thousands of miles away” even though the customer base almost certainly includes people in other countries.
And then there was this wonderful excerpt on one of the sexcam studio’s founding partners, Lorenz:
Lorenz told me his dearest wish: violent socialist revolution.
The cousins come from privileged backgrounds and grew up nearly 10,000 miles away from Bucharest (they asked that their home country be kept confidential, for fear of being identified). As a kid, Lorenz was a firm believer in the right-wing politics of his parents. After going off to college in his homeland’s capital, he “started [to get] to know different realities of life” after mixing with kids from poorer backgrounds and doing some reading and thinking for himself.
Without finishing his degree, Lorenz left for Europe to learn the art of self-reliance. He credits the experience of joining the “labor class” in what he described as “a real socialist country” for his radicalization. He came to see that the wealthy prosper from the suffering and poverty of the lower classes. In his words, “I came to see that if you are able to share—that is, work together for a common interest—things can be really good.” In short, he found socialism.
“If only everyone would stand together then they would be able to change things,” Lorenz said. Since he’s so passionate about revolution, I asked him why he isn’t manning the barricades. He answered with a pimp’s pragmatism: “If I tried to live my life according to my ideals, I don’t think it would be possible. I’m just one person.” And does he regret turning his back on his homeland? “If I’d stayed at home, this never would have happened.”
By which I assumed he meant he never would’ve had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move to a country where the average monthly wage is less than $300 and exploit young people who will do just about anything for money.
I asked him if he sees any contradiction between his socialist ideals and his decision to enter the digital equivalent of the world’s oldest profession. He didn’t quite get it. I pointed out that, as a webcam studio owner, he owned the means of production and that the models were the oppressed workers. He thought about it for a minute before explaining that, no, that doesn’t apply at all. You see, “We’re not managers, because the models aren’t employees,” he explained. “They pay us part of their earnings in return for us providing the facilities. We’re facilitators.”
According to Lorenz, he’s not in it for the money. “This is not strictly a business,” he said, “it’s something I’m going to enjoy and use to make myself a better person in different ways. I don’t want to become rich, I just want to get to a place where I don’t have to worry about money.” Which I’m pretty sure is the definition of rich.
That passage requires speaks for itself.
The other founding partner, a more pragmatic lad, hired his Romanian girlfriend as maid-cum-madame.
“It’s good to have her, because when the models get out of line she can shout at them and bring them in line, and I don’t look like the bad guy.”
The development of managerial capitalism!
So our proprietor Lorenz is using the impoverished legacy of communism to exploit women to exploit lonely men to enrich himself while dreaming of socialist revolution. Viva la revulsion!