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> So we should rob these people of one of the ways

By working for free, they're lowering the wages of everyone else in the software development field. Who is robbing who exactly?




So what? Why is lowering wages a bad thing? If the wages are lower across the industry, it means consumers get lower prices. You're totally ignoring the consumer side of the equation.

So really, any regulation has another side. It benefits one group of people, while robbing another group, which is less vocal and less identifiable and thus is less likely to be remembered in this case at all.


> If the wages are lower across the industry, it means consumers get lower prices. You're totally ignoring the consumer side of the equation.

You're totally ignoring the most probable outcome - reductions in costs lead to higher dividends paid to shareholders. Consumers continue paying the same price.


You're both arguing about something irrelevant. Whether low wages result in lower prices or higher dividends doesn't matter. The point is that a worker and an employer have decided on what each believes is a mutually beneficial relationship. Unless someone is forcing them at gunpoint, we should respect their free decisions.


When an imbalance of power exists in a relationship (cf employer - employee), no free decisions exist.

Now, employer - union, maybe.


If demand for a skill exceeds supply, isn't the imbalance of power in favor of skilled employees?


If these guys are working for free, then your argument is predicated on a falsehood.


You implied that employers always have the power in the relationship. I'm pointing out that it can go either way. Obviously people working for free must be in a weak negotiating position.

Even still, nobody's forcing them at gunpoint. Presumably they chose a an unpaid graphic design internship because they value the experience. They could have chosen to work elsewhere for pay. As long as they are not being forced, are not being deceived, and are choosing according to their own priorities, it's their decision.


> So what? Why is lowering wages a bad thing? If the wages are lower across the industry, it means consumers get lower prices. You're totally ignoring the consumer side of the equation.

This is incredibly naive. There are many good reasons for deregulation, but propagating arguments like this just gives libertarianism a bad name.


Consumers are already paying $10k to get volunteer teachers. That doesn't sound consumer friendly.


Are you sure that robbing is the word you are looking for? Talk about entitlement. I guess I'm robbing the taxi businesses by picking up my wife from the airport too.


> Are you sure that robbing is the word you are looking for?

Your choice of word, mate, not mine. If you want to talk about entitlement, lead on.

Free labour will always out-compete paid labour, and the more free labour in the market, the lower wages get, so the point I raise is valid - they gain their experience at the overall expense of the rest of the developer community.

In general, usage of unpaid interns damages the social contract between employer and employee - fair wages for fair work. Look at what has happened in other industries where wages have been driven down - America's regional airline pilots are paid ludicrously low wages despite the rather important role they have, with flow-on effects that speculatively affect safety.

I have a feeling I've struck the libertarians of HN, in which case, this discussion is probably for naught.


Well, I actually used the word for people who are being or could be actively forced to stop volunteering, so I think the word was entirely appropriate in that context. I understand that people perhaps feel trapped or exploited in a very limited number of industries because the competition for the jobs are so fierce. But like I said in reply to someone else, someone can make the case that open source contributors are being exploited since they are essentially working for free, and there are companies making use of their work without contributing back. Professional programmers, one could argue, is therefore making less money or loosing out on a lot of business. But you know what? It was the open source contributor's choice under which terms he or she would release the software. I like treating other people like adults, and not thinking that I know what is best for them. As long as no one is being coerced I don't see why the government of all people (who operate from the barrel of a gun, or at the very least the very real promise of violence if you don't comply) should intervene.

If everyone picked up their friends and family from the airport, there would be no more business for those who make a living transporting people to and from the airport. Even if it came to that, should we enact laws to protect the businesses? I would argue no. Why? Because it is no one's business but mine and those I pick up.


Couldn't you argue by that same logic that price fixing between companies is perfectly legitimate, since there is no direct coercion on the buyer to consume these products? Just because there is no direct coercion doesn't mean the situation is mutually beneficial. The situation is only beneficial to companies, the workers simply don't have a choice since they need some form of experience to get a paid job.


By working for free, they're trading work for something they value - experience, perhaps. Unless the market is being manipulated by collusion or regulation, their choice of what to charge for their work is as valid as yours.




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