Each month there's probably in USA alone 50 different fashion, style, beauty magazines for sale (estimated by quickly looking at Amazon's fashion magazines to make a point). If each of them has 5 editorials that makes 250 free jobs per month, 3000 shoots goes unpaid each year. If photog A should get paid 1000 dollars per editorial then the photographers donated 3 million dollars to the corporate world.
If photog A does one job for free who is ever gonna notice his wonderful and creative editorial out of those 3000 creative and wonderful editorials? This sounds like the Idols competition, few will make it the rest will pay it.
What you say make no sense, because of those 50 magazines on the USA new stands, at least 45 pay and pay pretty well. SELF magazines, even pay up to 1000$ a page if the photographer is worth. Many of the american magazines pay 500$ a page (nearly double of european magazines) and if you do a story of 8 / 10 pages that is hardly working for free.
There are magazines that do not pay and are not worth working, because nearly nobody cares about them. But it does not take a crystal ball to tell which they are. On the other hand there are a few others which do not pay ( pay only expenses) but are worth working because they normally get on the desk of art directors, editor in chief and clients.
Some of the photographers here complain that magazines do not pay for editorials and make it sounds like all the magazines do not pay at all, simply because they are not good enough for being asked to work by the vast majority of magazines that pay.
Magazines do pay for editorials, just a small minority do not pay.
Not mentioning that beside what you are paid per page or photo, the magazines pay for the digital package, up to 1500$ a day (even on this economy) so if you carry your computer, cameras and assistant, you can claim those money and pay for your equipment and they pay for the retouching between 100 to 250$ a photo.