The British angle on unfair internships seems on average to be more focused on the equal opportunity angle. Working for free has a cost and can’t be afforded by people with a poorer background. Here is an example from an article on Channel 4:
He is effectively paying to work for an MP because he wants a job in a political think tank or as a parliamentary aide, but both demand experience. He can only do his internship because his parents are helping him pay his rent in London. “I’m lucky enough that my parents can help me out financing this thing, but someone from poorer background who doesn’t live in London – they just simply couldn’t afford to do this,” he said.
This is a very valid point and not one that we would dispute. It is not the main point that this blog is making though, as we simply state that a productive work should be paid and that exploitation in the labor market has been outlawed long ago and for good reasons.
The article quoted above does a fairly good job of exposing politicians who offer unfair internships themselves, explaining in part why this practice is allowed to go on for so long.