I wasn't around during the folk club boom years stretching from the '50s to the '70s, I guess. I wish I could go back and experience what must have been really wonderful times.
That said, I feel very fortunate to be around now too. I live in a village in Cumbria but I could get to a session without too much of a drive most nights of the week. We also have little festivals that bring the full-time pros to 'town' and plenty of little gigs in village halls, arts centres and the like bringing in musicians at every level - including every price level.
I first got interested in folk music about 18 years ago and, in that time, I have seen considerable growth of what is available locally, both for players and for listeners.
In recent years I have met a number of well known performers who have come through the 'folk degree' route. I have booked a couple for events and shared a tune with one or two as well. These are the people who have really never had a full-time job other than 'folk musician'. The ones I have met have been polite, interesting and interested in what is going on locally and have shown great knowledge and deference in respect of what has gone before them. It does not seem that commercialisation has in any way diminished the attitude of those musicians and I have no doubt that they contribute to the scene as a whole enormously.
I am a bit old fashioned (and highly distrustful of 'the market' as a force for good). I like most things to be a bit rustic shall we say. I prefer semi-pro sport to the top flight stuff, a cask best bitter (or mild!) to a kegged craft ale and my music to be pretty small scale, intimate, wooden sounding and even a bit unpolished. But, I have found the new professionals I have met to embody that visceral, honest, grounded attitude very well and to show very little ego. I have had some incredibly selfless offers to come and perform at events we have put on for very modest fees from some pretty well known names.
All in all, I think it is a wonderful time to be a lover of folk and traditional music though, as stated, I have no personal experience of earlier times to make comparisons. I sort of let the really commercialised stuff just go by me a bit. There is so much rootsy stuff to enjoy and so many performers who, despite their own notoriety and commercial value, still play all manner of little gigs and sessions too.
I can't comment on what we may have lost over the decades but, over the course of my time, I feel like we have gained considerably.
i am not sure if that is the kind of response that the OP was looking for by the way! :-)