Monday, February 6, 2012

Why it's good that there are so many unpaid interships

"Why Mess With a Win-Win Situation?"

In that New York Times piece, David Lat comments on a lawsuit brought against the Hearst Corporation by one of its former interns:

[The] lawsuit faults unpaid internships in general for a whole host of evils, including declining opportunities for paid employment. But unpaid internships are more a symptom than a cause of economic weakness. They are so popular right now because many employers, large and small, simply don’t have the ability to create new, full-time, paid positions.

The lawsuit against Hearst claims that unpaid internships exacerbate class divisions, because some people can afford to work free and others cannot. But the same could be said of almost any opportunity that allows students from wealthier backgrounds to enhance their human capital more effectively than students from less privileged backgrounds. The lawsuit asserts that unpaid internships indirectly contribute to higher unemployment. But minimum wage laws themselves, the laws that unpaid internships sometimes violate, arguably have the same effect.
PREVIOUSLY: "The many problems with unpaid internships." That post actually seems pretty unconvincing now, in light of David Lat's arguments.