Huh? Your analogies are all screwed up. You provide a "service" as a freelance programmer to do custom jobs. The software copies that your previous company sold were standardized "products". Your previous company didn't screw itself because it was "creating artificial scarcity". It screwed itself because it got greedy and charged more than its competition selling a similar product.
According to your model, if a customer needs a good text editor, they should hire a programmer to write a new one or to create one from existing code? Or, should they just obtain an existing one made by a company that already makes good text editors? May be you will say, they should obtain the existing one but they shouldn't have to pay for it? Well, how does the text editor company ensure that it recovers its costs without someone else buying the first copy for $39.95 and freely distributing to everyone else? That is why copyright laws have a place even for digital media.
As for being successful in the business, the market already works: you make something and you sell it to cover your costs and make a profit. To survive, you do it better than your competition. It doesn't mean you have to adopt a "pirate model".