Yes, they are pricey, but a lot of those consumer electronics are too. Now, we have kilodollar cellphones in the pipe, and they are going to be extremely popular around the world, even in starving countries. When an iPhone retails for $1,000 I think any ham rig in that price class is a miracle! It's a much more complex piece of gear with far more materials costs, and it's not mass produced on the scale of the cellphones. One huge difference between the 50's and 60's and now is that in those days, we built a lot of our gear. Most hams had commercial receivers, but homebrew transmitters were pretty common. The coming of SSB transceivers accelerated the trend toward buying the main radio, and sold state even more so. It became nearly impossible to equal the performance and features of the commercial rigs with homebrew stuff, though many people tried and sometimes succeeded. Military surplus was abundant and was an easier road to getting a decent piece of gear on the air, too. CW was still king for many people, requiring relatively simple transmitters. As commercial gear goes, the modern offerings are a major bargain compared to those of yesteryear. As SDR technology continues to advance, the difference will become more obvious.