A Review of the New Intern Economy
Posted on May 30, 2011
Roger Hodge, former editor of Harper’s Magazine, takes a steady look at Ross Perlin’s new book, “Intern Nation,” the first in-depth exposé of the exploitative intern culture that has taken root in American corporations and small businesses in recent decades.
Widespread unpaid and low-paid internships eliminate compensating jobs and reinforce class inequality, to disastrous consequences for all but the elite, both Hodge and Perlin write. —ARK
The most telling characteristics of a society are often those that pass unnoticed. No one pays much attention to interns, for instance, yet the simple fact that at any given time hundreds of thousands of jobs are being performed for little or no pay is surely an important development in our political economy. Perhaps it says something about the value we place on work. According to Ross Perlin, the author of Intern Nation, the rise of this relatively new employment category, which is taken for granted by everyone from the antiunion governor of Wisconsin to the managers of Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, is a clear indication of the decline of labor rights in the United States.