Intern Economics


Anya Kamenetz laments what she thinks is an overabundance of unpaid interns, in a piece in the New York Times. Will Wilkinson explains, thoroughly and amusingly, all the reasons why the author of Generation Debt is all wet.

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  1. Wow, guess that I, and nearly all my classmates that applied, were damn lucky with our $1000/week investment banking internships.

  2. I don’t know her personal stance but this is a rather odd sentiment from the same newspaper that so espouses the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and mandatory volunteering. Her fluffing for the AFL-CIO leads me to believe that she feels the same way.

    What she does not understand, nor do others who can’t quite seem to grasp why the minimum wage is a bad thing and unpaid internships are a good thing, is that people, at least at some point in their careers, are worth nothing an hour. Unproductive employees who demand time from productive employees actually cost a company money. Not being paid is one way to rectify that reality. Not having a job at all is another.

  3. Argh! My corp firewall now blocks Wilkinson’s page. First Boing Boing, now this!

  4. Wilkerson piece if full of the shallow thinking and faulty logic I’ve come to expect in internet fisking.

    I like how “health benefits and pension” becomes “Lavish benefits packages?the sort causing GM to tank-.”

    Or how he speculates on her “bad experiences with interns or Mexicans” because she says that the presence of low (or no) cost labor reduces wages.

    Or how the objective impacts of unpaid labor on the economy becomes “because they earn less than Anya Kemmentz thinks they should.”

    I don’t know if Kammentz is right of not. But I know Wilkerson is full of Gliberatrian crap.

  5. anyone who’s been following the “generation debt” column she wrote in the village voice knows how entertaining her insanity actually is.

    at one point she ran a two parter on how hard it was for middle class couples to find affordable 2BR apartments in manhattan. i had to be fed baby food for the rest of the week due to a BLOWN MIND.

  6. Reason Staff:

    In addition to the Reason Foundation donations I make every year and my two subscriptions to the paper mag, I will write a check for $50 right now and make it payable however you want if you will start a pool to fix your server problems.

  7. The real problem for the American economy is all the fat, lazy fucks who are consuming chinese-made trash and living far beyond their means. I’ll take the Mexican illegals any day.

  8. I don’t know what is worse, ignoring op-eds this bad for their stultifying economics or responding so heavy laden with ad hominem attacks that no one from the other side will see anything but sexually confused malice. Surely there are bigger fish to fry

  9. It’s amazing that Will Wilkinson has a job. Why provide a link to such a sophomoric diatribe?

  10. Joanne McNeil,

    Come on, the New York Times is a pretty big fish; very widely read and extremely influential.

  11. Joe:
    Maybe because it appeared in the NYT, which has, oh, 2.5 million readers or so.
    This woman is the incarnation of what is essentially complete economic ignorance on the part of most Americans. Any time there’s a perceived injustice (like people working for free … FREE! Think of it! Slavery! Fuck!), we Americans love to find the evil villain out to screw us (“the rich,” “Wal-Mart,” “CEOs,” “corporations”). Lucky for the survival of capitalism that where the rubber actually meets the road, usually in the check-out aisle, that we adhere to at least a tenuous grasp of the wonders of free markets.
    Having said that, fuck you, Anya, you manure-spreading puppet.

  12. Um, Joanne?

    Kemenetz is all over the place. This is her second column in the Times. She’s been published damn-near everywhere. And sadly, millions of Gen-Xers read and take her tripe to heart.

    In an economically literate world, responding to her would be a waste of time. Unfortunately, she continues to find a forum.

    You’re probably right that parts of Will’s post were ad hominem. But ad hominem attacks are only distracting when you’re addressing arguments, not people. Where Will’s addressing Kemenetz’s arguments (that is, where he’s able to decipher what exactly her arguments are, so he can address them), he does so with reason.

    Where he’s pointing out what a hypocritical buffoon she is, he correctly employes ad hominem, and to fine effect.

  13. I should have made it clear that wasn’t in refence to Wilkinson; but the Kemenetz counter-fuss. The New York Times is home to many economic illiterates; but only one is 25 and hot

  14. Being an intern made Monicam Lewinsky the success she is today.

  15. Hard to find paying work as a land whale, though.

  16. A Google image search confirms — she is hot!

  17. My apologies in advance if the damn server double posts this.

    Pop quiz: What’s the difference between an education you get for free and an education you pay for?

    Answer: The first is called an internship. The second is called college.

    The notion that a business ought to pay someone for the privilege of on the job training, and then have that person leave after 3 months or 6 months is ludicrous. The real miracle is that there are actually paid internships.

  18. funny to think about unpaid internships in college….I guess they’re mainly for people who can’t get paid ones. Last summer I had a 5500/mo internship and this summer a 6500/mo one. I can’t imagine what kind of unpaid internship would sway me from that.

  19. Hey Brian! Thanks for the link! Full disclosure, readers of this post really should know that we hung out on July 4th weekend, 2004, in the Black Rock Desert. I remember you as pudgy, pale and unshaven (physical evaluations are fair game here on Reason’s comments, right?) 🙂

  20. Anya, you are smoking.

  21. Sorry, should have added that you shouldn’t be taking swipes at Brian. It’s not his fault.

  22. at one point she ran a two parter on how hard it was for middle class couples to find affordable 2BR apartments in manhattan. i had to be fed baby food for the rest of the week due to a BLOWN MIND.

    Just curious… and without having read the article in question… why did it blow your mind?

  23. I had to pay to go to college, but I get to intern for free. Sweet! Gotta love a free education.

  24. “Just curious… and without having read the article in question… why did it blow your mind?”

    because of just how presumptive it was.

    “we’re young and successful – we deserve whatever we want!”

    ’twas vomit-able, it ’twas.

  25. because of just how presumptive it was.

    I see… I guess for me there’s a fine line between noting the “gentrification” of NYC and whining about it. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon that deserves attention, if not that something be “done” about it.

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