Here's a good list of what journal publishers do - http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/07/18/a-proposed-list-60-things-journal-publishers-do/
The things that strikes me most about these discussions is the question of what we want our journals (and your articles) to be. Are we looking for a race to the cheapest possible publishing systems or are we looking to maintain an environment where there is true incentive to compete for business and continual improvement to the authoring/reading experience?
Anyone can publish the results of their research for free online. Just put it up on your university sponsored web space or post it on Facebook. Maybe the people you know will read it. Maybe even some of the people that they know. Plenty of popular authors making a good living doing just this type of thing. They self publish with Amazon, for example.
But simply publishing something doesn't make it a success and most scientists aren't professional authors. They want to publish their material and move on to the next research project. So, there's a market for helping these scientists get what they want and their's a cost related to these tradeoffs, whether that cost is through publication charges or subscription paywalls.
There are lots of thing that should change - and are changing - in the academic publishing world. The best publishers these days act a lot more like technology companies than the content aggregators of old. They're underwriting the improvements that authors and readers are asking for. They may not move as fast as some people want, but they are balancing a lot more stakeholders than just the folks saying "I want it free and now". They support scholarly societies and invest in the explosive grow in new journal titles. They fulfill the requests of editorial boards. They employ the overwhelming majority of people who spend their waking hours working on and thinking about how to make publishing/reading scholarly articles better for everyone involved. Yes, some of them have stockholders too. I suspect that all of us could think of much worse things to say about someone other than that he believes strongly enough in the importance of a robust scholarly publishing system to bet on the success of that industry.