It seems to me that there are times when it is obviously true that environmental protection depends less on the development of fresh ideas than the censure of polluters. Starting up an organic farm downriver, say, is less important than closing the chemical plant higher up.
Might the same be true of literature? I just read two highly respected but very bad novels in a row. (I knew the second one would bad. I read it inspired by the first.) Sometimes I want to write a novel. And sometimes I want to write diatribes against bad ones. (I also sometimes want to write appreciations of good novels, but I'm never quite sure that's necessary or even a dignified activity.) I'm wondering, though, whether it might not be the case that a good novelist, in a particular age, is wasting his talent. He should be writing scathing critiques of the garbage that is being poured into the river. That's Cyril Connolly's image (I'll provide a reference later)* and I think his criticism—coupled with his (surprising) lack of any serious original literary output—is a good example of how individuals weigh the demands of the age.
Pound seems pretty "balanced" in this regard.
*Update: "The English language is like a broad river on whose bank a few patient anglers are sitting, while, higher up, the stream is being polluted by a string of refuse-barges tipping out their muck." (TUG, 93)