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I am also reserved on the same point but on different grounds.

The productiveness here is monetay productiveness while the question asks whether there is "real value provided". Yeah it has moved money from one hands to other hands but if you were to forget the financial side of it would it have made anybodys lives better? An apple feeds a person, a hair cut looks neat. People sometimes choose to be mean but that doesn't suggest that meaness is productive. If the only value is that it allows people to play this exciting game called "economy" then it is just a glorified slot-machine.

You're holding up an impossible standard. You could just as easily say that people sometimes choose to eat apples but that doesn't mean they derive any real value from it.

I do believe that retail day-trading is essentially a slot machine, and probably worse on net than the ones in casinos, but most of finance doesn't provide that kind of entertainment value or sporadic reinforcement or whatever, so I'm not sure what's causing the money to flow unless it's helpful to the parties involved.
Silent Cal
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