Glad you wrote the piece. My response is mixed. On the one hand, you're right for all the reasons you cite, especially the outrageous fees and the profit motive in the award shows.
The other hand is you're wrong; awards help eastblish standards for what good looks like. As a juror on many award shows, I've seen first-hand how ethically the judging is and how healthy the discourse and noble the intent on elevating the best examples within a craft or industry.
My book about advertising, Bronze Seeks Silver, is all about what is good enough and how often bronze or silver is as good as gold. I think the award process isn't completely evil and as you might read, i wish I took it more seriously earlier. That said, one has to be careful about being deluded or distracted by an entire industry paid for by huge submission fees.