is an important key, yes
September 15, 2011
The Economist isn’t impressed with Intern Nation, or any general worries about the increasing practice of making young people (at least those who can afford it) work for free, in times of sharply increasing youth unemployment.
But forcing employers to provide pay and benefits and comply with lots of red tape is surely the quickest way to put them off, thereby depriving young people of an early experience of the future of work.
The future of work is… unpaid?
After all, what are those serial interns doing but learning about serial mastery?
They are being trained to compose Schoenbergian string quartets? Excellent!
But the best part comes last:
Many people are outrageously exploited at work, but interns are not among them. After all, they are getting a free education, something that few universities provide these days.
Thus is the ideal of education shrunk in the philistine mind of the market fanatic to something like “induction into the low-grade activities of a specific job, several times”. And young people are getting this for free from the humanitarian philanthropists at companies that offer internships.1 After meditating a while on this happy news about what education now means, I deduce courageously that we should immediately close down all the universities. After all, they are expensive, and can be teaching nothing but sophistry and illusion.
- They’re not actually getting it “free”, of course, once you take into account the opportunity cost of working for no pay. ↩