Yeah, I'm not sure why people get hung up on that.
Personally, getting into Eurorack made me way more productive. But being "productive" doesn't mean I'm winning at life. And also, knowing what I know now, I could sell off all my Eurorack gear and make music with just software and a couple controllers. But I don't because... it's such a great set of adult toys!
IMHO it makes way more sense for people to get into modular synths than, say, model railroading. As middle class hobbies go, modular isn't as expensive and impractical as a lot of things.
If modular synths were only for "pros" they would cost a lot more, the overall quality and diversity would ironically probably be lower, information and content would be harder to find, and manufacturers would have an even rougher time financially.
I have done a lot of churning through gear. I learned a hell of a lot in the process -- about myself and synthesis -- and found it inspiring and fun. If I'd just sat on the first few modules I'd bought, I'd probably know their every quirk but I would have missed out on a lot too. That said, the gear churn got to be more of a habit than a useful thing, and sometimes it led to anxiety and un-fun-ness, and certainly expense. Balance is good.
Heh, well. I admit, here I am firmly in the music-as-music category. I'm sad people don't listen to albums as much anymore. I grew up with my dad's Isao Tomita and Wendy Carlos 8-track tapes and in a way, I'm still that child. I feel like social media biases people to focus more on gear than artistry (in electronic music -- with guitars/drums I think it focuses more on flashy showoff playing rather than artistry).
I also feel like it misleads people into thinking two or three influencers = an important trend. Rings in a 104HP case surrounded by succulents is quite different than Rings used on albums (except for one Ann Annie album that I kind of liked even though it was that whole plinky gentle ambient thing). But Instagram Rings is what people focused on.
So yeah, I guess I blame a lot of the perception of "extreme consumerism" on social media... hmm.
At the same time... what I said above about hobbyists increasing the visibility and available information? Social media does that too. Gear demos aren't worthless. And there's definitely some art going on in some folks' social media.
I'm more on the product side I guess... but I love the process of it, and if I didn't love it so much there wouldn't be the product.