And that reward is really just compensation for keeping the whole system difficult to attack. Mining is not cheap, you need expensive hardware and electricity. I like to think of a miner as a transaction notarizer (e.g. like a notary public). Miner is definitely the wrong term, IMHO.
The real conspiracy theorists are the people who (seemingly without ANY experience and explanation) accuse Bitcoin of being a ponzi scheme or whatever else. Ask me a technical question about it and I can explain _anything_, after researching it casually for years.
This is open-source so you guys better be able to back up your accusations.