Sorry if you missed my point. I am an engineer (and an old one at that) and I do understand the mechanisms of product development, corporate costs, and marketing models. My world has not been particularly insulated thank you. Nor has may education been particularly lacking. Nor do I necessarily feel I am superior to all other creatures and egregiously denigrate their life and abilities.
The point is That the inkjet model is not acceptable. We have three basic price components for ink. Cost of goods, overhead (development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, corporate overhead, etc.), and profit. I have a problem when the markup on one component simply vastly exceeds the cost of goods. It is not just ink. There are countless examples. Like the $0.45 gadgets on the TV ads that sell for $29.95 but they will throw in a second one if you respond in the next ten minutes. Or even better; free, just pay shipping and handling - which gives you a feel for actual profit margin. But people are free to choose.
In the inkjet arena you are not given a choice. You need an inkjet (please don't make some stupid remark about the word need) and they all do essentially the same thing. In fact the manufacturers try all sorts of ploys to stop you from having any alternatives. Epson goes so far as to stop your printer until you take it to a service center and pay for them to reset a counter that says your waste pads are full. Which may or may not be true. The pads are frequently easily replaced or more easily, simply bypassed so they get no waste ink. The keep changing the encryption on ink cartridges and sue people making replacements.
They are breaking a machine you own. It is not their property. They are holding it hostage. There are far fewer other examples of that sort of sales process. Some repair parts may only be available from the manufacturer for many things. There are companies that make replacement parts for a fair amount of those parts, and there are no restrictive processes from manufacturers to disable the equipment if you use parts from an after market manufacturer. And the buyer gets to choose; OEM or not. What is each worth to me. Not to beat the car thing to death, but this is a market where such things are quite common.
Printer manufacturers are taking an approach that simply violates what I consider to be a consumer right. You buy it, you do with it as you wish. They have chosen a business model and effectively conspired to form a cartel. They all do it the same way. Cartels formed with provable collusion (not present in the printer case - I said effectively) are illegal in the US for various reasons.
When laser printers were new, HP and others tried to tell consumers that they would void the warranty if they used a non-OEM refill to prevent non-OEM refills. The government (I think the FTC) said no. They stopped it. Laser printer manufacturers seem to be surviving quite well. And they make printers in the same apparently give-away pricing models. And some now use encrypted chips to stop other refill makers. Although the mechanism is different from the basis of that government action (removing a warranty to which the buyer is entitled), the results are essentially the same.
I have written to the government agencies asking that they examine these issues for regulation. Obviously one letter does not make a whole lot of difference, but I tried.