Every profession produces both private returns — the fruits of labor that a person enjoys — and social returns — those that society enjoys.
People in some professions provide a surplus of social returns.
But not everyone contributes in this way. In an influential paper, the economists Kevin M. Murphy and Robert W. Vishny, both at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Andrei Shleifer at Harvard University argue that countries suffer when talented people become what we economists call “rent seekers.” Instead of creating wealth, rent seekers simply transfer it — from others to themselves.
Source: Why a Harvard Professor Has Mixed Feelings When Students Take Jobs in Finance – The New York Times