Originally Posted by Beingist
No. Actually, I was looking for the benefit to society as a whole. Nothing is being produced, and there is no service to the general public. Even if you want to trade apples for oranges, who else benefits from the trade, except for the farmers who do the trading to begin with?
The end consumers and business who get to eat the traded apples and oranges and use them to make fruit salads.
Take a market trader for instance who buys the appples and oranges form farmers A and B then sells them on a stall to Joe (and John!) widget makers (who's widgets are fruit salads and smoothies). What value has the market trader provided to society? He hasn't made or produced anything..
I see your point about electronically trading financial securities as being 'empty' by the way. I have struggled with this aspect and come to the conclusion that it's a perfectly acceptable way for me to achieve my financial goals and live the life/purpose I want to. I enjoy it, I'm getting better at it and to me it is a source of unending wealth I can tap into.
As empty as it may seem I still pay taxes and as Snerp pointed out provide liquidity into the system that so many people use for their retirement and passive investment funds.