Comments on: Don’t ban unpaid internships Chronicling the high cost of our legal system Wed, 26 Nov 2014 05:26:20 +0000 hourly 1 By: David Schwartz Wed, 30 Apr 2014 03:44:55 +0000

Did the intern help make money for the company? If so, on what moral basis can you justify not paying him (other than he agreed to give you his services for no pay?).

People are not morally entitled to all the value they create, only what they can capture by agreement. We all do things all the time that make things better for others and do not believe we are morally entitled to capture all that value. I don’t eat at McDonald’s, but they make Taco Bell less crowded. Should I write then a check?

By: Ron Miller Wed, 30 Apr 2014 01:00:39 +0000 Allan the moral basis is that he choose to do it. It is a feel free world. Two people agree that it in their mutual interests to do an internship. Did the intern think it was immoral? If so, why did he agree to do it? If not, why would you want to intervene where parties find a relationship mutually beneficial?

Geez, I sound like the libertarian that I am not. I think your heart is in the right place. I agree with you on many things. But here I think you are just wrong.

By: Ron Miller Wed, 30 Apr 2014 00:56:00 +0000 Git you are wildly missing the point. Wildly. I’ve already conceded the point that you are trying to make: some like the college game better. The point, which no one has disputed, is that the reason people watch college games is because of the colleges themselves. It ties into Allan’s antitrust argument. How can you not see that this is the point? You can’t blame the colleges for having a monopoly over something that requires them as a necessary ingredient. How can this not be important in the context in which I’m using it?

1. Pro football generates many billions more than the college game.

2. Pro football is objectively better. You can like the college game more. The NFL players are far superior.

I guess you can say you love Johnny Football and he is better than all of the NFL players. But what I have stated is a fact to everyone here except for you.
You are pulling out in-game attendance as the key variable. I bet high school games beat out the colleges. Is the passion higher for colleges? Who knows? It has nothing to do with the conversation here.

The New Coke thing… I’m betting you are the only one following that goofy analogy.

No one remotely serious is arguing these point that I’m making. But you certainly can find a way to disagree about anything. It is quite a skill.

By: Allan Tue, 29 Apr 2014 23:03:22 +0000 David,

Did the intern help make money for the company? If so, on what moral basis can you justify not paying him (other than he agreed to give you his services for no pay?).

If someone contributes to a gain, is there not a moral/ethical obligaton to compensate?

By: gitarcarver Tue, 29 Apr 2014 22:40:11 +0000 Ron,

With all due respect, just because you say “it is indisputable” even if it is your opinion, does not mean that people cannot dispute what you have said. “Opinions” are disputable as you seem to flip flop and agree to.

As for your idea that your point is “factual” because if you remove the school from the product, no one would care, your own premise shows the weakness of your statement.

The name of the school and loyalty to that school is part of the product Ron. In essence you are saying “I can prove that the NFL has a better product because if we change the product colleges put out, no one would care.”

That is akin to saying “it is indisputable that Coke is better than Pepsi because New Coke was a failure.”

You cannot say that one product is better than the other due to a hypothetical that changing the product would mean a lesser product. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Here are some facts for you to consider: if you were to take the top 16 games in attendance each week for college and pro games, more people see a college game in person. If you look at viewership of college games versus that of pro games, more people watch college games. If you look at one area where pro and college compete in the same stadium, look no further than Jacksonville where the Jags have to cover the upper deck during Jags games, but the Florida – Georgia game is always a sell out and the upper deck is opened. Furthermore, of one thinks of the great football rivalries, one thinks of Army – Navy, Ohio State – Michigan, Oklahoma – Texas, USC – UCLA, Harvard – Yale, Florida – Florida State – Miami to name a few. There are countless rivalries that each year are played with greater passion and importance to the fans than anything the NFL puts out. Oh, you may have the rivalry of the Redskins – Cowboys, and the Bears – Packers, but even then the passion is not the same. It isn’t even close.

It is indisputable that opinions, by their very nature, are disputable. If you want to say that facts should decide this issue, I am fine with that because NCAA kicks the NFL’s butt in every metric.

Finally, while thinking about this and the talk of unionizing players, what about the student trainers and managers? Would they be able to unionize? After all, without them, the team cannot do as well so they are as much of a part of bringing money into the school as the players.

By: David Schwartz Tue, 29 Apr 2014 20:47:36 +0000

I am not for the government banning these internships. I just think it’s disgusting for a profit-making business to have “interns” who do anything more than observe.

You really don’t learn all that much by observing. You learn by doing.

I recently arranged an unpaid internship for a High School student. For him, the whole point of the internship was to use his knowledge to develop solutions to actual problems that would be used in the real world. If we had told him that he could only observe, it would have made the whole thing essentially pointless.

He’ll likely be offered a summer job at the company. I’m not sure on what basis that job offer would have been extended if he had only been observing. Perhaps he could have distinguished himself as an exceptionally capable observer, but that seems a bit unlikely. His skills more lie in his ability to do useful things.

By: Ron Miller Tue, 29 Apr 2014 17:07:54 +0000 Amy, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do. It is easy to be against taking advantage of people, right? I am. But I think here you have to dig a little deeper.

If I have a job and I can either pay someone or not pay someone, it is hard to chose paying someone when the market says you do not have to do so.

People take these internships because they think it affords them opportunity. Thousands of people have taken unpaid internships and turned them into something. The best example probably is sports where it is the only way to get in without an athletic pedigree. The NFL commissioner was an unpaid intern.

I’m not trying to convince you. Few minds get turned in the comment section. But you imply having an unpaid intern does not jive with integrity. I think that is just plain wrong.

By: Amy Alkon Tue, 29 Apr 2014 12:20:47 +0000 “Denise asks if you’re generating value for the company, why not be compensated for it? Because the value that person is creating is not enough to justify compensation.”

Actually, the truth is that the company can get away with not paying because the job market is so tough and kids are so desperate to get a leg up.

I am not for the government banning these internships. I just think it’s disgusting for a profit-making business to have “interns” who do anything more than observe.

I’m an author and a newspaper columnist, meaning I don’t exactly print money for a living. I have never had an intern and never will because I think it’s immoral. I have a part-time assistant, whom I both pay and mentor. Again, not because the government makes me. But because I think it’s the right thing to do. I’ve also found that when I hire well — as I’ve learned to do over the years — a person pays me back with a lot of hard work and integrity for my having integrity in how I treat them.

By: Ron Miller Tue, 29 Apr 2014 01:55:18 +0000 Allan, my dad could have played college football anywhere in the country. He chose Vanderbilt. Do you know why? Because it was the most expensive school in the country at the time. He wanted to get his money’s worth. Seriously. But view the world this way. The competition in college football is not over scholarship value. Otherwise, no one would go to Alabama. But have 60,000 show up for a spring football game is the “money” for them. That is how schools compete.

Sure it is a monopoly but a natural one. Again, if you want to open up a minor league and pay these kids, feel free. The universities are what add the value to make the thing go in the first place. You can’t blame the school for the fact that no one wants to watch its players unless they are playing for a school.

Git, we don’t really disagree as much as this may sadden you. Some argue that the WNBA is a purer form of basketball then the NBA. You can’t argue this point. It is just an opinion. But here is what is fact. Americans will not follow any sport with much fervor unless they are watching the best in the world or watching players associated with a college. The only inferior sport that gets any play is soccer. But hardly anyone is really watching save some people in Seattle. So you purist college football would have no interest if you get rid of the college part.

If you took away all college scholarships? Interesting question. I think people would still watch. The quality of play would go down dramatically. But the quality of college basketball game has gone down considerably and people keep watching.

Paying Alabama’s players to play football for the Alabama Slammers would be impossible because you would have no fans. Same with Texas football. They may put people in the seats in high school games but semi pro get zero interest.

By: David Schwartz Tue, 29 Apr 2014 00:11:22 +0000 “Yes, there is a chance that an intern will learn something useful but the company has exactly zero reason to let him/her learn (and has every reason to use that intern as free labor).. Basically, an intern provides economic value to the private company (otherwise why would he be hired?), so he/she should be paid (at least the minimum wage)..”

The company has a tremendous incentive to let the intern learn. The more the intern learns, the more valuable the intern is. Your economic value argument is absurd. You could equally well argue that Burger King should charge people to walk through their door. If walking into Burger King didn’t provide me with economic value, why would I do it?