That's where a company decides whether it can achieve a break-even point, or where it may still retain it as a loss-leader, especially if the customers' expectations have been raised and it's commonplace. One of the few exceptions to cutting back on such an expectation is perhaps Easyjet et al who cut back on inflight service in exchange for a no-frills branding.
That's not an exception. There is always a payoff between quality and price. Despite the fact that Easyjet and Ryanair are cheaper, some people still choose to fly with other airlines and even to fly first class. But it costs more.
A supermarket could offer personal shoppers to every customer, but they would have to put their prices up or go out of business. If a service can't be offered profitably - and even "loss leaders" must lead to a profit - then a well-run business will not offer it.
That would be a subjective notion. Why is it misguided to believe that one occupation is worthy of breadline wages and another above or below it?
Because any occupation is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It's nice to have someone bag my groceries but there is a limit to how much I am willing or able to pay for it. I'd like an extra inch of legroom and a free meal when I fly, but if it's significantly more expensive I will forego those luxuries. If both buyer and seller are agreed on price, then why should there be any objections?
If the community is faring well, why shouldn't eveyone be permitted to at least eat, if they are willing to put in a days work?
Because they won't be able to find work if they price themselves out of the market. Isn't paying someone $6 an hour better than not paying them $10 an hour? (If you're not sure, look at France.)
While I have no difficulty with the Capitalist idea that certain professions are more desirable and are recompensed accordingly, I do have difficulty with the idea that taking an ethical stance is "misguided". IMHO it's merely being responsible.
It's definitely responsible. Responsible for higher prices and higher unemployment rates. It fails to acheive it's goal, that's why it's misguided. People are never able to get on the employment ladder because nobody is willing or able to pay a 16-year-old with no skills and no experience $10 an hour. It's fine for the middle and upper classes who can go straight from school to college and from there to a comfortably-paid job, but poorer people suffer because they're charging more than their market value.
I agree that market forces often drive companies to seek cheaper labour, but it's that the whole ethos of "fairtrade", which brings us back to Six's comparison to sweatshops. If the Western world wants goods but also wants to meet the ethical challenges of letting their labour force eat, then there's a cost attached which most people are willing to pay.
That's why people should vote with their wallets. If you wish to pay more for a better or a "fairer" product, you should be free to do so. If a company acts illegally, it will be punished accordingly. If it acts against your ethics, you can boycott or even protest it. The market will respond to the demands of consumers.