Market efficiency means there is no more an unlimited role for middlemen in securities markets than there is for automobile manufacturers in the car markets. There is no reason why an unlimited number of people should expect they can walk up to the stock market and make money like a cash window, just as there are people who hold no similar expectation from the car market.The difference is, no college professor who built a car in his garage, tried to sell it, and lost money, would come up with some crazy theory of car-market efficiency!You can always expand the market for cars, like that guy who built the two-wheeled scooter, or by building a cheaper car, or something. Similarly, you can always expand the market for securities, by finding something new to trade, by bringing a new company to market, or by trading from Wyoming where the lower sales tax on your paper clips enables you to lift an offer which would have otherwise gone unfilled.Combining the two, you could say a guy with a cheaper futures quote service could pay to have one more pound of marginal metal ore extracted from the ground, sell it to a bidder who otherwise wouldn't have gotten filled, where that bidder then builds a car and sells it a price which a buyer - who happens to work at the mine - could not otherwise have afforded to pay, so that they all stay in business when they otherwise would have become self-sufficient potato farmers or eaten out of trashcans. And now the trash rots, or is eaten by bacteria instead.Of course, even if these people then all make 10,000,000% and become billioniares, that 10,000,000% will be called "the market return," and some academic will say that it is impossible for them to "beat the market return" in the long run. Similarly, if someone were to measure the pace of a marathon, he would discover that runners, on average, cannot beat the marathon. And yet marathon records are broken every year.