The moral bankruptcy of the internship economy

Sarah Kendzior

Every now and again I use Twitter to make a multipoint argument. Today I talked about unpaid internships and youth unemployment. The tweets have gotten a lot of attention, so I’m reposting them here. You can follow me on Twitter at @sarahkendzior.

This is what I wrote:

Thomas Friedman writes on the internship scam. He benefits from the scam, so he doesn’t call it a scam.

Here is how the internship scam works. It’s not about a “skills” gap. It’s about a morality gap.

1) Make higher education worthless by redefining “skill” as a specific corporate contribution. Tell young people they have no skills.

2) With “skill” irrelevant, require experience. Make internship sole path to experience. Make internships unpaid, locking out all but rich.

3) End on the job training for entry level jobs. Educated told skills are irrelevant. Uneducated told they have no way to obtain skills.

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