when the cost of duplication of something goes down significatly , the
cost of creating new content becomes a larger and larger portion of the total
cost of the product. Since the same creative effort can be amortized over
nearly limitless copies as the duplication cost approaches zero, there is
little incentive to expend extra creative efforts, and the overall creative
content goes down. Even in places where there is a clear desire to avoid this
trend, the competetive forces mandate it- someone who is willing to cut
the creative cost of his operation will undercut those who are not, and
because, most decisions on the matter of consumption are made on a small scale, 
experience has shown us that _enough_ people will not place _enough_ value
on the creative content (especially if the item in question is something he
himself will only be buying one or two of) for the one of higher creative
content (and cost) to prevail sufficiently for it to survive. The creative
item then becomes a niche product confined to ever-smaller volumes, higher
prices, and becomes a luxury item. There is no reliable way to avoid this
trend _except by removing the conditions which made it possible in the
first place_, namely, by eliminating the enabling factors for the reduction
in the cost of duplication. As the cost of duplication approaches the cost of
new creation, individual instances become unique, and the human, creative,
content of the overall whole is very high. The richness of such a situation
is percieved by almost everyone, even if not fully consciously. 

There is another similar force that helps reinforce this: the high cost of
capital investment to achieve high-volume mass production or duplication.
While a low-volume item has a higher per unit cost, the total cost for the 
production run is still low, and the initial outlay is not very high. In
order to realize mass-production in the first place, huge investment must 
be made. The cost of this investment must to some extent be borne for every
production run- retooling a plant, reconfiguring software and hardware, 
reformulating standards, etc. This cost _is_ still a significant fraction of
the total cost of a production run, and there is thus a parallel incentive
to producers to reduce the amount spent on retooling or reconfiguring their
large, high-inertia production systems. 

People argue that the recent developments in computerized publication have
changed this picture. This is, as anyone who looks around can see, not really
the case. This is very simply because what is important in this dynamic is
not the _absolute_ cost of reproduction or the _absolute_ cost of the original
creation, but their _relative_ costs. Sure, more sophisticated works can
now be published widely by private individuals with far less overhead than 
through the familiar mass-media mechanisms of most of the 20th century. However,
the cost of duplication for such works is also extremely low- essentially
zero- and thus the ratio of effort to duplicate versus effort to create
a new work is _still_ extremely low, and the dynamic explained above remains
in force; there's a lot out there, but don't be too surprised or disappointed
when 99% of it is all the same. 

Isildur