Is it socially irresponsible to work for minimum wage?

Over the past decade, a trend has been creeping into workplaces around the globe. It’s the steady, insidious drift away from the concept of the “dignity of work” toward a new “indignity of work” in which careers are disposable gigs, a living wage for full-time employment is optional, and nobody would ever dream of working in a convenience store when they grow up.

Keiko Furukura is, at age 36, just another employee at Smile Mart, a generic convenience store in a busy business district of Tokyo. Keiko has been working at Smile Mart from…