There is an increasing tendency around the world to hire interns, often
without pay and with very little possibility of achieving a real education
or a stable job. In the last few years, the rise of the intern economy has
attracted the attention of journalists and activists.
On one hand, in fact, it allows companies to make use of internships to avoid employer
responsibilities, including that of paying a salary. On the other hand, the obscuring of interns’ productivity (in terms of work) by educational aims operates as a narrative that increases their motivation and flexibility. In other words, the perspective of the informal economy not only seems to help us to understand the lack of recognition of interns’
working activities, but also to understand why the internship is crucial for contemporary capitalism.
Specifically, it is the possibility of obtaining a cheap, docile and motivated labour force that makes the internship one of the assets that capitalism is looking at with a growing interest. Moreover, such a mechanism does not seem limited only to internships. Thus, understanding the rise of internships as part of the growth of informal labour makes the internship a useful lens through which to examine the transformation of the labour market and the most predatory tendencies of contemporary capitalism.