Remember that wealthy people will be the first to pay for a “new technology” at its birth. They essentially pay for the concrete slab of a society’s standard of living. If you eliminate all of the rich folk, you’ll eliminate a societies high standard of living.
In 1894 Alexander Bell’s telephone patent expired. Immediately, the number of independent telephone companies skyrocketed. Bell had mainly targeted the rich families and the large businesses in the big cities of the East Coast. The only customers left were the remaining middle class. In order to sell to the middle class, one would naturally need to lower their prices.
In this case a government decree for lower prices isn’t necessary. The only market that was left at this point (after the expiration of Bell’s patent) was middle class folk. Without the first purchases made by wealthy citizens – who were more financially capable of risking the purchase of a “new” technology – prices would not drop and the telephone infrastructure would not have been monetarily supported in ratio to the high investment costs.
Remember, new technology must compensate all of the savvy engineers, scientists and thinkers who took hours of their time to develop something new. When you purchase a new technology, you are simply exchanging the currency of your time in labor (your hours at work as a teacher, salesman, mechanic, ect) for the value you’re willing to give up for that new technology.
For example, if you are purchasing a computer at a time when computers were just coming to market, you may be willing to give up $3000 dollars worth of your time in exchange for the anticipated value of hours the computer will give back to you. You don’t “lose” $3000. Instead, you give up $3000 dollars (i.e the amount of hours you worked to obtain the $3000), in exchange for the amount of hours of entertainment or efficiency the computer will give you in return. Wealthy people are often able to make the first purchases on the newest technology, thus financially being the first to exchange their time value for that of the inventors. Once the wealthy have adopted a technology (and hence, invested into the people who created that technology), the middle class (and everyone else), can go about purchasing that technology for less.