We were curious which industry is the most damaging. So we did whatever we do when we have a question about morality: We asked random strangers in New York City.
Three industries are universally agreed upon as not all that cool: high finance, big tobacco, and prostitution. Maybe you aren't a bad person if you are involved in those businesses, but you'll definitely have to explain yourself to your friends and family. We don't want to get bogged down with a discussion of the responsibility of each individual in these evil systems, but we are sort of curious which one is the most evil. So we did whatever we do when we have a question about morality: We asked random strangers in New York City.
VICE: Of these three industries, which do you think is the worst: Wall Street, sex, or big tobacco?
Emily: That's so hard.
Trevor: I think the least harmful of the three is the sex industry.
Emily: Yeah, but that depends. What if it's like child pornography? That's really harmful, emotionally and—
Trevor: I was assuming it was the legal sex industry.
Emily: Is it the legal sex industry?
No, I'm talking about prostitution, sex slavery, that sort of thing. Not like selling sex toys.
Emily: Oh, prostitution. Well, I think prostitution is the most harmful because women get raped all the time. But they're all so bad.
Trevor: I'm still going to say that the sex industry is the least harmful because while it can be exploitative, you will also have the chance of honesty.
What's the worst one?
Trevor: Maybe Wall Street.
Emily: I would say on the surface, the sex industry is the worst, and below the surface, Wall Street is probably the worst because they have connections with the World Bank, which I think is probably the most evil thing on the face of the planet. It's got its hands in all the third world countries.
Jake: When you say "sex industry" what do you mean?
Jake: Oh, OK. I'd say that one. I'm frankly fine with the other two.
Derek: I think it's probably a toss-up between Wall Street and big tobacco.
Danni: I agree with him.
Why do you guys say it's a toss-up?
Derek: Well, the big tobacco companies know the product they're pushing is definitely killing people, and Wall Street is just pure greed, and the results of their greed is hurting people.
Danni: They're the indirect killers.
Jonathan: The sex industry.
Why do you say that?
Jonathan: I feel it's nasty and disgusting because it spreads diseases like HIV and AIDS, and I feel like that's downright harmful to human beings.
Annabelle: They're all bad.
Alexander: I think the financial industry is the worst.
Why do you say that?
Alexander: Because the input is not the same as the output. I mean, of course they work, but they don't do anything as hard as physical labor and they earn millions of dollars doing nothing.
Annabelle: I think the sex industry because there's lots of human trafficking and people doing things that they don't want to do. It's not OK. And then the tobacco industry, it is bad, but it's still your own choice to smoke.
Michael (Right): I would probably say tobacco.
They all can certainly cause problems, they all have negative sides to them, but I think tobacco is the only one where there's not really a "winner." There are some benefits that Wall Street brings. And sex work doesn't always exploit the women. But I have a hard time seeing how tobacco helps anyone.
Zana: Prostitution, because of sex trafficking. It's a big issue, especially overseas. If you see documentaries about places like Egypt, it's like an unknown issue. It's kind of been hidden. And no one knows much about it. Light needs to be shed on it.
Omar: I'm going to say the same thing. I think tobacco is a choice. I know it's killing people, but you choose to buy it. But with prostitution, a lot of people don't choose to be sex slaves.
Previously - What Will Toilets in the Future Be Like?