In a recent interview, Muffin Break general manager Natalie Brennan lamented the death of unpaid internships. She said this was due to millennial’s “inflated” sense of self-importance.
Brennan levelled more than a few accusations at young workers, chief among them was that they feel “entitled” to receive a liveable wage for their work.
Brennan instead believes that her business is entitled to the free labour of young people, in exchange for the possibility of them receiving paid work at a later date.
These comments are symptomatic of how capitalism views workers: as expendable commodities to be squeezed for every cent, rather than as human beings worthy of dignity, respect and a living wage.
Brennen’s comments are particularly insidious as those who do take up unpaid internships ultimately need to have their livelihood supported somehow.
This means that there is an expectation among the bosses that their profits should be subsidised by ordinary people, either from the intern’s parents or via the taxes we pay to fund welfare.
It is not the case that Muffin Break is incapable of paying their workers properly. Their parent company, Foodco, announced profits exceeding $66 million in the 2016/17 financial year.
Their motive is increasing profits. Like all capitalist firms they survive by exploiting workers, paying them less (in this case zero!) than the value of their labour.
Most capitalists try to hide the fact that they exploit people, but Brennan prefers to openly mock and belittle the working class when they fail to meet her wild expectations.
Socialists are against unpaid internships. All workers should be paid for every hour they work, including when they are training.
By fighting for a living wage, we can reduce the amount of exploitation that takes place, but it will only be through the democratic and collective ownership of the economy that those who create the wealth will decide how it is used.
By Ben McIntyre