Back in the "old days" before many of the photographers on this board were born (circa 1980s), I worked for several advertising agencies. When we wanted to mock up a print ad for the client, or to send to a publication, we used to type up what we wanted the ad to say (on a typewriter) ... "spec the type" (meaning we would decide what typeface, point size, etc) ... and we would send the information to a "Type House" or "Typography Service Bureau" and they would send us back paragraphs of text that we would slice up and mount on boards to create our ad. The entire process took days and cost a considerable amount, which we charged to our clients.
Over the span of 10 years (or less for some), desktop publishing computer software enabled anyone with a computer, the softtware and a small amount of talent to do everything in-house. Initially, the professional typographers fought back -- saying that "doing it inhouse was inferior to hiring a professional" ... when that didn't work, they said that "type houses offered more variety of fonts, cleaner type, etc. etc" ... but in the end, most changed their services (to printing or other similar services) or simply closed shop ... driven out of business by technological advances that put everything within reach of the general consumer ... and an overall drop in the "quality expectation factor" (consumers placed a higher value on the accomplishment of doing it themselves, and saving some money than they did on getting higher quality typesetting).
My prediction: In a relatively short time, perhaps the next few years, the slowing of the economy, couple with advances in digital imagery (both in digital cameras and graphics editing programs like PS) will enable most consumers (and some businesses) to shoot and edit their own images that meet or exceed their lowered quality expectation standards. Any professional photographer who offers his or her potential clients only that which the clients believe they could do themselves ... will find it tough going.
Technology will always level the playing field.
The common misconception that a professional photographer can be measured by the number of magapixels in their camera will evaporate when camera manufacturers lower the cost of high quality cameras, and everyone can access all the magapixels they need ot can can afford. Photographers who list their high end equipment as a selling point will be replaced by photographers with a unique style or talent that separates them in ways that the client finds of value.
Talent will always rise to the top.
If all this sounds a bit like the old, old, old day (from what I read) ... you're right. Back in the days of film and manual cameras, photographers were artists. Clients chose to work with certain photographers because of the quality and style of theiir work ... not the size of their camera.
So ... quit your bitchen 'cause this train ain't stopping!
If you want to live out the rest of your life making a living as a photographer, focus on developing your artistic talents (both behind the camera and in front of the computer). Stop the "camera envy" and the endless spending on more megapixels and start looking at your work as an artist ... focusing on developing a creative style that makes your work stand out from the others. Look around you at all the photographers who do what you do and rise to the top of the heap!
Best of luck,
(guess I need to change my sighnature to remove the equipment list)