Many economists would argue we passed that point some time ago.
Interestingly, Stephenson is also the one who coined the modern use of 'Avatar' in virtual worlds.
Not true. In recent editions of Snow Crash (a fine book) Neal admits he did not coin "avatar":
After the first publication of Snow Crash, I learned that the term "avatar" has actually been in use for a number of years as part of a virtual reality system called Habitat, developed by F. Rnadall Farmer and Chip Morningstar. This system runs on Commodore 64 computers, and though it has all but died out in the U.S., is still popular in Japan. In addition to avatars, Habitat includes many of the basic features of the Metaverse as described in this book.
Second you are listing a sales price with both a $499 sales discount and a 3% special club discount while comparing the MacPro at full retail without any discount. Apples to Oranges
That's because Apple's are never discounted. What choice is there to compare? Pure retail undiscounted Dell that no one in their right mind ever buys?
If all else fails, lower your standards.