Mind the Gap:
Once it became possible to get rich by creating wealth, society as a whole started to get richer very rapidly. Nearly everything we have was created by the middle class. Indeed, the other two classes [serfs and lords] have effectively disappeared in industrial societies, and their names been given to either end of the middle class. (In the original sense of the word, Bill Gates is middle class.)
Paul Graham has a new essay. Needs minimal comment. Go read it, then consider this: "In the real world, wealth is (except for a few specialists like thieves and speculators) something you have to create..." I sincerely hope that by 'speculators' he meant 'people who gamble using financial securities', not 'people who invest in securities based on future outlook, rather than present circumstances'. It's pretty hard to write off the latter class as not producing wealth, since they aggregate incredible amounts of data, theory, and extrapolation, and put a single dollar value on rather volatile streams of income. If we didn't have speculators, the law of supply and demand would be myopically constrained.