To what degree of culpability do lit agents have in today's publishing quagmire?

How much involvement do lit agents have in the publishing crisis we face today? Are there any ways to curb a agent's desire to carve out the most lucrative contract he can get for his client? Should he (or she) be limited in this hunt? Why do publishing houses acquiesce in these apparent exorbitant demands agents demand?

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Comment by I. J. Parker on February 19, 2009 at 8:37am
A large advance may hurt the author.
Comment by Dana King on February 19, 2009 at 7:10am
The agent can demand whatever he wants; some publisher still has to pay. I can't imagine too many authors turning down seven figure advances because they're too large and may hurt the industry. If the houses are willing to spend, who's to stop them. It's the publishers who need to get a better handle on their business model.

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