How, if at all, confident can we feel that the work we do benefits society at large? When options trading comes up (rarely as it does) in conversation in my social circles, I simplify things by telling people that "I sell portfolio insurance." In my head, I imagine like-minded traders writing contracts that pension funds, institutions, etc. are willing to buy to manage their downside exposure. The buyers benefit from smoother future returns. We, as net sellers, benefit similarly to the way insurance companies benefit: a bit of premium added to the premium. The additional liquidity also aids in price discovery. So, do we get paid to help lower the long-term variance of returns for other investors? Is that the demand we fill? This is, of course, to say nothing about transacting with other speculators, etc. I'm curious to know if my view of my role in the markets matches anyone else's. If not, what do you see?