Why have all the retail investors gone?
Retail is gone because they think the whole thing is rigged. High frequency trading, insider information, overpriced IPO's, manipulation in mid + small caps, and the like all contribute to the feeling.
Then there is leverage. The average trader can trade 10 times more than his money in futures, and lose money faster than ever before. Too bad nobody realized that these things are mathematically defined to lose money.
So, can we make money? Sure we can. Stocks and F&O have their place and I am not going away just yet. But let's take them for what they are - manipulated markets.