I've posted about intrinsic economic value and was struggling with the nomenclature, untill I ran up into this article on wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking
Basically, consider the economy to be a big pile of value, with more value being added by those who find new resources, invent new technologies and offer new services. In short : People who add stuff.
Now imagine I had a small bit of that pile and threw that away to take more of the big pile into my hand. Sure, I get richer, but essentially, the big pile just became a bit smaller and all the other people became a bit poorer.
And that's basically the problem with about everything, isn't it? Actors that maximize their own profit to the detriment of the total system. A bit like the Tragedy of the Commons.
I'm more and more convinced that to actually build a society that is stable, it needs to have the expectation of adding to it as a basis. And for those so entitled : Merely being alive isn't adding to the world, you have to actually add something.