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Thanks for that, Phil. It addresses a number of relevant issues, as do the comments. But I remember the spectre of Thatcher justifying the sale of council houses in similar terms – “levelling up, rather than levelling down”. If bling is universally available, the egomaniacs will find something that isn’t universally avilable and flaunt that instead. It might be a good opening for tortuously handcrafted artefacts, which the automated market would be unable to produce. Or (a la Saatchi) collections of ‘art’, defined as such exclusively by its owners.
The conclusion seems to be “If we could only make things different, how different they could be”, and ignores the probability that any transition is going to have to make it seem to the people with the power and the money that they will lose the advantages of neither. The practicalities of the process of change seem as remote as ever.