Humanities collective knowledge about how markets and innovation work still has a long way to go, but we know much more than we did in the industrial revolution. It is shocking how many inventors died in poverty 1. I suspect those people wouldn’t have even tried inventing such an ‘indefensible’ thing given the collective knowledge we now have.
The statement “everybody knows you can’t make money in X” makes it so that nobody even tries.
1 Reference: Lever of Riches
The decline of unfettered research points out that we actually understand how important incremental work is. Is it possible that this makes use shift focus to more incremental work?