You callin’ me unproductive?!
Middlemen are not looked upon fondly; it’s usually a term of derision. It seems that reputation is well-deserved:
The question of how certain types of market-intermediating middlemen can be held in low regard is addressed. A model in which pure rent-seeking middlemen emerge endogenously is provided. Individuals differ according to their persuasiveness and according to their productivity. Those who are highly persuasive but relatively unproductive are the people most likely to become middlemen. However, only productivity differentials are shown to be essential for the emergence of middlemen.
But it’s fun nevertheless. More here.