I absolutely agree that the “value for value” payment system is far superior to traditional ad-based monetisation. I don’t think anyone would dispute that.
The trouble is, those who are not writing to earn money are being left out in the cold. I don’t feel like it has to be “all in” on promoting paid content. There should be a way to find a happy balance between free and paid.
As Dennis Hambeukers mentioned in his comment, there’s a lot less incentive for clickbait, and more incentive for innovative thinking, when writing isn’t for the goal of income. Which means there is free content that is often better quality than the member-only stuff. Medium’s doubled-down on the paywall, and the result will be more superficial writing generated for popularity, not value.