Re: cheap saxophones
All of the above, and then some. When it comes to something as mechanically complex as a saxophone, you basically get what you pay for. Are the prices of certain professional horns out of line due to marketing, perceptions, and prestige? Of course.
If you were to do some basic ballpark math and add up the cost of materials, manufacturing processes, and labor, you would have to determine that at least one of those three factors has been severely sacrificed to come up with a $200 saxophone. We're not talking cowbells, here.
There are some Taiwan horns that are decent. Heck - even Selmer is making student horns there now. Far eastern manufacturing has traditionally always ramped up from poor to better to even better. I'm sure that will be the case with saxophones, but due to modern "disposable" mentality that cheap is more important than long-lasting, I hardly believe that in 50 years there will be many Helmkes showing up in Grandpa's will unless it happened to be his treasured reading lamp.
If someone wants to make "cheap and shiny" their primary objectives when buying a saxophone, that's their prerogative. There's plenty of manufacturers ready to serve those customers.