"It's a clear sign of the times when award-winning and widely published photographers find training to be better business than actually doing it."
This is true, but it also depends on the type of work of which you speak.
There certainly was a 'golden age' of photography, often disputed in these pages, and I refer to commercial photography in which I include industrial, press, fashion, architectural, advertising etc. To my certain knowledge, based on my observations by actually being around at the beginning of the time-scale I select, the mid-fifties to at least the late eighties were pretty good to many of us; however, even as early as the late seventies particular areas were starting to turn a little sour. In my territory, Scotland, many industries were dying or being taken over by English companies, resulting in the work drifting inevitably southwards. I saw engineering photo units (where I started out professionally) close, and outside studios catering for those industries without their own units also died the death. Knitwear was a huge fashion market in Scotland: it morphed into about two companies at best, the main PR lady being very big in London. I did a great deal of well-paid work for big chain stores - they stopped doing much promotion too...
It's not at all simply about the wannabe with his digital masterpiece; the markets for a hell of a lot of photography have vanished, and that's the problem. The good markets were never going to use Uncle Harry and his fancy camera, any more than they were going to place their expensive ads in the local freebie. It was the woeful state of fashion that turned me to calendars - thank God I knew how to do some design thanks to long hours spent inside art directors' studios delivering/discussing photo projects and using my eyes.
I really don't think that it's the shamateur's fault that the pro is suffering; yes, these guys don't help, but neither do they get their noses around the right doors. The problem today seems to be that many of those doors just lead to empty spaces.
But, even in these hard times, there are will always be those pros who get it right and do very, very well. All power to their elbows!