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<Money going into the stock market is not the same as money going into a mattress. It's used to produce things.>

Nice in theory, but only the money going to purchase IPO's does this. The rest is just shuffled around between investors and making a little money for the brokers. None of it gets back to the companies that produce things. There has a net decrease over the last decade or so in investment in productive enterprises (though, of course, there are exceptions). More shares have been bought back than new shares issued. Most of it is used for one company to take over another, and this does not, in itself, create new productive capacity. It may permit layoffs of redundant people and increase one measure of productivity. Unfortunately, these layed off people cannot create effective demand for products or services, so that on a global or even national basis, this is not a real productivity increase. Most real investment capital comes from internal corporate financing or the issuance of debt (not equity) instruments.

<And production is what lets us consume things.>

I certainly agree with this, but it is not closely related to the trading volume of stock markets, for example.
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