In a very short while - ZL9HR and FT5ZM will look like they got a killer deal on transportation. We are right on the "cusp" of being forced to be a lot more "creative" about how we organize these DX-peditions. There is hope - but the "way its always been done" is not sustainable - at least not the large DX-peds. I do think we will go back to the way it was "pre-Mega" DX-peds, and I agree - mainly due to cost. Maybe there will be more but smaller DX-peds? At least until those who can afford to go get past an age that allows for this (?) There are a lot of avid DX-ers retiring, and they are in better shape than ever - so I expect an increase in small DX-peds for the next 10 years or so.
I've got to say that I think the IOTA program has an "agile" look and feel to it - a few guys jump in a boat and activate a place quickly. They look like small "startups" as opposed to the mega DX-peditions - which look like large corporations. I like the spirit of the IOTA program - it seems to be well poised for any future demographic changes. I can see why younger DX-ers might even be more drawn to IOTA than DXCC. I know many young software engineers who would much rather jump in a sailboat and activate an island than go through all of the big planning for a major DX-ped.
I have the history of the DXCC program here:http://eastbayarc.org/pdf/dx-entity-history.pdf
I think what will happen to the program will be a lot like what will happen to anything that has been influenced by the population explosion that followed WWII (aka "Baby Boom").
We have seen an increase - sharpest after WWII and remaining fairly steady with a few uplifts, but I expect this chart to start dropping downward.
I think there will only be new entities where there is a legitimate new country, and that places like Scarborough Reef will not be added to the list. I think the days of (as a mentor of mine told me about the DXAC) they won't have to say "Good Grief, Another Reef" . . . I'm glad the DXCC Desk is waiting to add Kosovo until its legit - they weren't pressured into adding an entity like they were with Scarborough - and more recently - Swains. No more "changing the rules so someone can get an entity on and run out to be the first to activate it". At least I hope this is the case.
In other words - I think some of the rules have already been changed to weed out bogus entities "by attrition". That's the only way to keep the OOT's, OT's and YF's (young farts) all happy and participating.
I think the Deleted rule was the silliest thing ever - but that's another topic. I mean - when they have "The Last Man Standing" - they don't qualify that with ("minus your Deletes") . . .