yes, I'm sure you're right. In fact I think maybe music in general is taken less seriously within the UK. I don't mean that in a bad sense: I mean that the UK has a tradition of amateurism, which is a double-edged sword. We probably have more tacky jewellery than the rest of Europe put together, and are world-leaders in slightly dodgy-looking vases. But we also have a thriving amateur music scene with copious choruses, orchestras and operatic societies full of people who wouldn't consider themselves particularly good musicians, but are just people who happen to enjoy it and want to give it a good shot. Cultures that take music more seriously tend to produce very good musicians, but perhaps less of them? My European friends tend to take a more all-or-nothing approach, but perhaps that's just a chance effect amongst those I happen to know? Many friends from more serious cultures gave up their musical interests (if they ever had them) at some point in childhood, either because it was obvious they weren't going to be professional, or because the whole process became too arduous.
The recorder is currently in an interesting situation. It became both popular, and trivialised, because of its role in school music. It's now much less popular in schools - it's disappearing fast. This could be an opportunity for it to become a serious instrument, a choice alongside all the other instruments that people can select as individual studies if they get the chance. But it could also mark the end of the recorder as a cheap and universal instrument. I'm guessing aulos and Yamaha can only sell at the current price because of the sheer number that are sold. Whether it will remain popular when an introductory plastic recorder costs >£100 I don't know. Maybe the Dutch and Germans can sustain the world trade, and we'll continue to benefit?