23

Recessionomics


 

The best thing in today’s Times was this piece about companies that have set themselves up as internship brokers: You pay them $8k, they get your kid an unpaid internship in NYC. The company is called “University of Dreams”:

Officials at the company say they are able to wrangle hard-to-get internships for their clients because they have developed extensive working relationships with a variety of employers. They also have an aggressive staff who know who to call where. Their network of contacts, they say, is often as crucial as hard work in professional advancement.

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Recessionomics

  1. Is it just me or is the internship culture different in Canada? Do we have as many unpaid internship opportunities?

    • No, we more or less outlawed slavery in the 1790s. I thought the US had some civil skirmish in the 1860s that resulted in the same thing, but maybe there was some fine print I haven't heard about.

      • Unpaid interns are more like volunteers than slaves. Grad students, on the other hand…

        • Nice to know. I have a son entering grad school……

          • I found it closer to indentured labour, which has always been the more chic form of slavery!

    • I think you're right, Chantale. There are much fewer unpaid internships (proportionately) in Canada, but co-op education programs are quite popular.

    • I think you're right, Chantale. There's much fewer unpaid internships (proportionately) in Canada, but co-op education programs are quite popular.

  2. Presumably the rich kids whose parents paid $8k will take the place of more qualified applicants who didn't have access to an unfair advantage.

      • Not at all. I'm supporting this as the likely reality.

      • Not at all. I'm supporting this as the likely reality, and it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

        • that is what i thought CR and I just wanted to confirm. highly regrettable.

  3. isn't the free market a fabulous thing? (pls note heavy heavy sarcasm).

  4. It's good to see the Canadian Embassy in Washington is in on this scheme as well

  5. It's called "opportunity hording", although in this instance a pretty obscene example of it. This is what you do when you desperately want your daughter to spend her summer hustling coffee to editorial assistants at Conde Nast or your son putting together Harper's index page. Particularly in the "elite" job-market, where positional goods are next to impossible to access, these types of placement services seem like a natural extension of the ongoing warfare the overclass has been waging against the traditional "welfare state". But of course I'm exaggerating.

  6. For all of its many glaring flaws, the "free market" is still better than the alternative.

    • your comment suggest their is only a singular alternative, and that we could never come up with anything better.

      more immediately, however, i disagree. a heavily regulated 'free market' with a highly corrective tax system is currently the best alternative of the actually practically possible alternatives.

    • your comment suggest their is only a singular alternative, and that we could never come up with anything better.

      more immediately, however, i disagree. a heavily regulated 'free market' with a highly corrective/re-distributive tax system is currently the best alternative of the actually practically possible alternatives.

    • I'll (sort of) follow s_n_m, above…if/when it comes down to a choice between free market and the 'alternatives', I'll go with the free market.

      But you will agree that free market needs some supporting structures, and that we don't have to just accept the glaring flaws? There are tweaks that can be made here and there to enhance the real world free market; the trick is to make the right tweaks, and always think about those darned unintended consequences that often follow what seemed like a great idea at the time.

  7. What is an employer willing to sell an internship signalling to the market? That the internship is not really based on merit or character as is assumed? Over the long run won't these internships-for-sale lose value, as the truly knowledgeable insiders figure out which are which? Perhaps one might argue that there is a lack of information, especially among the wider public, and that most people won't know or appreciate what is really going on. But the point of an internship is not to impress the folks in middle-class exurbia; it is to impress the wealthy and connected in Manhattan, Boston, etc., who are precisely the ones who will figure the game out.

  8. Slavery still exists in Canada and it's abundant. It's called the advertising industry. Agencies love, love, love to make grads do 1,3 or 6 month (mostly unpaid) internships before they hire them.If they're lucky. I'm a copywriter who graduated last year. I have won awards, had my work published in mags, on T.V. etc, and I've done two internships at great agencies in Toronto but due to client cut backs and lack of work, couldn't be hired. I was lucky to have been paid but many of the people I graduated with were not. It's asinine to expect young people to work 10 hrs a day in Toronto for free and expect them to still be able to make rent, pay bills and feed themselves.

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