Posner wrote:If I am a skilled carpenter and I only gain $5/hr off of my intern (I charge $25/hr and he works at 1/5 my speed). I will not pay him because under minimum wage laws, I would be required to overpay for the intern's worth (for simplicity, I leave out incidental costs of employment). By working for free, the intern benefits by learning carpentry and eventually will provide enough worth where he can gain paid employment. I benefit by profiting off of his labor, in return for allowing him to learn the trade.
Under this regime, if you only gain $5/hr off his work, you'll never pay him more than $5/hr anyway, so it's not like he'll be able to take this skill and translate it into a profitable trade. Construction work is not a trade that requires that much knowledge to actually be efficient at, either; someone who works at 1/5 your speed will likely always work at 1/5 your speed, or at least, a lot slower than you. How can he "provide enough worth to gain paid employment" if he's that slow at cutting wood?
Posner wrote:Under the new enforcement, I will not have an intern. I will move more slowly through jobs because I no longer have my helper. I will not hire a paid intern or employee because the cost of employment exceeds the worth of the labor.
If all of this is true, then it's true because the market doesn't need
you to work faster than you are. If it is that important for you to work quickly through jobs, you will get paid more for it, and thus be able to pay for paid laborers to do it.
Posner wrote:This does not mean there is no benefit. It means the labor is worth less than minimum wage requirements. Everyone loses under this scenario. I make less money, my intern is unemployed and the customer is charged more for the job (and the job is completed more slowly).
This scenario is only true if the use of unpaid interns does not end up replacing
paid work, which is what we're seeing here. The intern is still unemployed in terms of pay, even though they're working, and many of them will never have an opportunity to "move up" because corporations are able to profit more from using unpaid work than paid work, and while unpaid work is available, will choose to do so. As long as there are enough
people out there willing to do the work unpaid in the time alloted, the corporations can and will keep hiring the unpaid workers, despite the fact that paid workers could do it more efficiently
. This depresses the job market, especially during a recession when a glut of volunteers are available.
Posner wrote:Again, your analysis is too conclusory. Non-profit work does not equate to a societal benefit. If you disagree with the ideology, you will certainly disagree that it benefits society.
For example: if you are pro-choice, you probably do not believe that pro-life non-profits are providing a benefit to society.
No, but that's not my argument to make, and the importance of the distinction is between those services which can be funded by the market and those which can't. Those which can
be, for the free market and fair hiring patterns to keep functioning properly.