So maybe this unpaid intern thing is over?

Sued Over Pay, Condé Nast Ends Internship Program –

Yeah, and I’m thinking that unpaid interns, underemployed people, high unemployment numbers, people losing their homes to big banks were a miserable theme springing from the Big Crash of 2008, sure.

But the corporations who hired (but didn’t) pay, or only hired part-time, and didn’t offer benefits (because they limited jobs to part time) were still making a lot of money. And one way they continued to make a lot of money is by firing employees, reducing their benefits or not paying them anything at all and somehow selling them the notion that working for a great company like Condé Nast for no salary was a terrific step into the working world.

So although everyone blames the complex Big Crash for these wretched situations, I think here we can view a central point about corporations: they are amoral. I mean that not necessarily pejoratively. It’s simply a description of the corporate raison d’étre: making a profit. And the way a corporation makes a profit is by reducing its expenses so they are taking in more money than they are paying out. Which makes sense in corporate philosophy, if not ethics.

But when groups of individuals — like unpaid interns or non-unionized WalMarters — rise up and object via lawsuits, corporations find it politically advantageous to start paying their workers again. Or, in the case of Condé Nast, to stop hiring, even if for no money, anybody. Sounds to me like a great sulk.

Which kind of proves my point.

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