Being in another (lower) league than most of you guys, I still would like to contribute on an important issue, that it seems you may all have forgotten in this very interesting debate.
High end audio manufacturers need to make statements (price-is-no-object-no-nonsense-products) in order to boost the sale of more reasonable products, from which they actually make a living. They don't get bread and butter from the top of the notch products, but they do show that they are indeed able to manufacture a product, that is (in their opinion) the best that can be made from any available parts on the market regardless of the price. Primarily, they boost the sales of the more reasonable products, and secondly they may be able to incorporate new groundbreaking techniques into the mentioned more reasonable products. Which of course would stimulate the sale even more.
Another thing that haven't been discussed all too clearly here is the competition, which isn't at all at the same level as computers, cars etc. There simply isn't the same kind of competition market-wise in audio. At least not in my humble opinion.
Just my 2 cents...