Fast forward to century 21 - there are 6.5 billion people on the planet and counting. Any given medium of expression is going to go rapidly saturated - all possible permutations are going to be thoroughly exploited in the time it takes Mr. Jones to pop into the loo.
Given the situation and the tremendous scale of numbers that Dale describes, one can argue that the photographing of cliches has insinuated itself into the global economy. What would happen if we were actually prohibited from shooting any of the "101 Cliches of Photography?"
At first glance, banning photographic cliches would seem to be a good thing. For example, certain on-line fora would no longer have multitudinous messages announcing, "my first photo using the new (fill in the name of latest zillion megapixel DSLR)!" with obligatory feline image. The savings in bandwidth alone would be considerable.
But, upon closer examination, the downsides become all-too-apparent.
Computer hardware makers would be the first to go under. People would no longer need more and bigger hard drives to store all of their high resolution images of cats, dogs, sunsets, etc. Larger monitors would no longer be needed to display umpteen-megapixel images of bees landing on flowers, tilted wedding photos or yet another close-up of a moving rock at the Race Track in Death Valley. Ever more powerful computers would not be necessary to process digital images. The sales of photo printers, paper and high-margin ink cartridges would plummet.
Sales of digital cameras of all types would likewise decline precipitously. Consumer and prosumer digicams would languish in warehouses and retail display cases, the lack of sales creating considerable financial chaos among their manufacturers and retailers. Ironically, high-end sales (particularly DSLRs) might actually pick up. It seems to me that a significant number of non-pro photographer buyers of these big-ticket items are the sorts who would rather spend great amounts of time on-line arguing about the superiority of their camera's specs versus competing brands than actually using the equipment. Since they apparently take no photographs, no cliches are produced.
The negative consequences are wider than just a few companies going under.
People would no longer travel great distances on vacation because they would be prohibited from taking pictures of iconic (cliche) locations at the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, or other natural or man-made wonders. This would affect not only the U.S. but the rest of the world as well.
France's Eiffel Tower would be deserted. Buckingham Palace's changing of the guard would go un-noted. The African savannah would be barren of photo safaris. China's Great Wall would be just another wall and the Angkor Wat temple ruins would sink back into the Cambodian jungle from lack of visitors. Airlines and other long distance transportation dependent on camera-toting vacation travelers would go bankrupt from lack of business. The world-wide tourist infrastructure -- lodging, eating establishments, car rentals, shops, etc -- would all collapse from lack of custom, inflicting massive damage on the global economy.
So, be careful what you wish for, the consequences may be catastrophic!
Oh - and for those interested in seeing my photographic cliches: