The minimum wage in America may officially be $7.25, but in fact there are Americans willing to work online for as little as 25 cents per hour—a fraction of the amount residents of Germany ($3), the Philippines ($2.25), and even India ($1) agreed to toil for. Or so says a Newsweek experiment. It turned to Mechanical Turk, an online freelance market run by Amazon.com. It posted easy hour-long jobs (like counting the number of times a specific word appeared) and set a price for it. Newsweek then kept dropping the pay until it found the lowest price multiple people actually agreed to work for.
While Newsweek recognizes that its results are not really scientific—for instance, it does not take into account how many residents of the respective countries actually use Mechanical Turk—it does think the results are telling, calling the American rate of 25 cents "shocking." "Even against other wired places like the UK and Canada, Americans desperate to earn even a pittance were the cheapest around," says the magazine.