Orchids and marketing
I unquestionably know far less about the intricacies or orhid culture than most anyone on this list, but I can't help but see corrolaries between orchid shows, orchid distribution and beauty contests or dog shows. Orchids have now been around for a LONG time. The mystique is largely gone, as orchids are raised in windows and back porches as well as by the general consumer. The steps to propagate, raise and produce orchids are little more complex than many other "agricultural" or horticultural plants. However, with a degree an over 35 years in marketing, I would compare my knowledge of marketing factors with anyone. Ironically, were there fewer artificial price controls, the general love of and interest in orchids would multiply geometrically. Therefore, I can only conclude that the pricing on orchids is, in fact, artificially controlled by those with in interest in controlling distribution. Like diamonds, they can be (and are)reproduced in vast numbers, but, like the diamond cartel's control over flow to the market, the prices are artificially inflated and controlled. Most here will not like or agree with this, but that doesn't change the truth. Many will refer to the complexity of propagation or the length of time in growing marketable plants. The same arguement could be used for any number of horticultural or agricultural species. In short, the general awareness of, pursuit of, and purchase of orchids is maintained where it is by those who are supporters of the show circuits and limited releases that support inflated pricing and limited distributed in favor of personal profit..NOT enhancing the love of orchids.