When we got this blog assignment, the movie that came to mind right away was Wall Street with a young Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas. Their characters, Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox, exemplify everything about corporate greed that Americans have come to hate. In the movie, Gekko is a Wall Street legend that is famous for making billions of dollars. What the movie shows us, however, is that a majority of his money making was done illegally and unethically. Meanwhile, Bud, who started off as a driven lowly trader, morphed into a miniature Gordon and found himself in lots of trouble with the SEC as well. Even though the film is from the late 1980s, many of its themes apply to the Wall Street that existed before the Great Recession.
This movie demonstrates how greed can get you into trouble and how money making can change a person. This reminds me of our class discussions about the recession and how people’s unethical behavior and significant risk taking can contribute to “bubbles.” Regardless of how much money people like Gordon Gekko make, it is clear that this type of wealth goes to their head. He represents the worst of the worst and some of the reason why the recession occurred. It reminds me of our class discussions because we have frequently discussed the reasons why the bubble burst and recession ensued. I believe that risk takers, like the ones portrayed in this film, do play a huge part in what caused the crash. The fact that someone who behaved so unethically was a Wall Street legend is scary. This film is a perfect representation that ethics play a small role in determining success in the financial sector and how, despite how unethical it is, greed is what makes you successful. As Gordon Gekko once said, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” This money-first approach represents everything that is wrong with our financial sector. This film teaches us that greed, in fact, isn’t good and that you eventually pay the price for behaving unethically.