Friday, 2 July 2010

The last bombshell

Yet before I have to keep my mouth shut, the last gasp of the campaign. Actually I wonder what happened in the last days that began to tip the scales for Mr Kaczynski? Was the final phase of Mr Komorowski campaign full of slip-ups? Have so many Poles realised he is an enemy, if he gets backing from “ex-communists”? Did Mr Kaczynski perform that well during the debate on Wednesday? Or maybe he won over some voters by saying comrade Gierek was a patriot? Was it a good move? Many of his voters still look back on the golden decade, which was the time of their lives – the system eased off, Poles felt a whiff or relative freedom and affluence. At the same time socialist economy fell into its knees, but did they care?

Having flattered those poor people who remembered 1970s as the time of prosperity, twin brother of the late president addressed students. A quaint idea, given that beginning of July is a period of long vacation in Poland and students generally tend to keep away for their schools. Despite unfavourable holiday season, Mr Kaczynski put in an appearance at the University of Warsaw, where he rolled out his agenda for students. Apart from reassuring he supported unpaid studies, even on two faculties, he brought up the same topic I raised in late March – unpaid internships. The candidate of Law and Justice claims all internships should be paid.

Maybe for some frustrated students the notion could be appealing, but let’s take a closer look. We live in a free country and unpaid internship contracts are nothing bad as long as both parties accede to the terms. A company gets labour force for free, a student gains experience and learns on-the-job. Any attempt to regulate it is doomed to fail, as a result many (poor) private companies would simply abandon their internship programmes.

This is an excellent example of a situation where something doesn’t function properly in the economy, but regulations can only make things worse. Offering remuneration for a doing a job, which means creating value added is a matter of decency. You can’t regulate corporate decency. After all market can function properly and companies which offer unpaid internship hire worse interns, because the better ones turn down their offers and take jobs where they get paid for it. Of course this applies as long as we speak about voluntary internships, not obligatory ones. Under some new regulations, every second-year student of BA programme at SGH will have to do an internship obligatorily. Thank God the internship I had after the second year of my studies wasn’t obligatory and wasn’t unpaid. I’d like to thank authorities of my school for taking away freedom and responsibility from students hands.

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