I think it’s a very bad idea not to pay interns. While some young people may come from wealthy or upper-middle class families, and can always rely on their parents for money, that’s not always the case for those who come from poor or lower-middle class families. In short, non-paying internships only help the wealthy, while denying the poor a chance to move up the ladder. Many young people are already dealing with student loans and high debt. Now, you want to add on to their burden (especially the poor) the insult of working without pay to gain “experience.”
In addition, the cost of living is extremely high these days. And while many young people are not hesitate to hold down two or three jobs to make ends meet until they find their first real professional job, denying an intern an income will only hurt you — the employer — from finding good temporary employees who might want to stick it out for a while.
A non-paying internship is just another way of screwing the poor, while rewarding only the rich who are either trust fund babies, or who can always count on mommy and daddy for a handout.
It’s nice to gain experience. But experience will taste a whole lot better with a paycheck.