Wall Street By Stone Essay Research Paper

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Wall Street By Stone Essay, Research Paper "Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works." If any three simple sentences could sum up the 80s, those are probably the ones. The 1980s were an age of illusions, one that was hedonistic in nature and self-loathing in practice. As Haynes Johnson recalls, it was "a society favored with material riches beyond measure and a political system whose freedoms made it the envy of every nation on earth." Released in 1987, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street was made in the height of 80s greed and materialism. The film revolves around the actions of two main characters, Bud Fox and Gordon Gekko. Bud is a young stockbroker who comes from a working-class family and Gekko is a millionaire whom Bud admires and longs to be associated

with. The film is successful at pointing out how tragic it is to trade in morality for money. The character of Gordon Gekko personifies this message, and yet receives a standing ovation at a stockholders meeting after delivering a "greed is good" speech. The underlying theme of the movie, however, is that greed is bad. Economist George Gilder would say that individuals like Gekko who pursue only their self-interests are led, "as by an invisible hand," toward a greater welfare state. He says that people pursuing self-interest demand comfort and security and that they don’t take the risks that result in growth and achievement. At the start of Wall Street, Bud Fox is young and very na?ve about the business world. He is a typical broker seeking new clients and

offering second-hand advice regarding the buying and selling of stock. "Just once I’d like to be on that side," he says, dreaming of the day when he will be a corporate big shot controlling the flow of millions of dollars, like his hero, Gordon Gekko. In pursuit of his dream, Bud makes a visit to Gekko’s office with a box of Havana cigars on his birthday in hopes of winning him over as a client. He wants to sell him stocks, and hopefully one day be like he is. Bud is desperate to do business with Gekko and he passes on some inside information about the airline company that his father works for. Gekko makes some money on the deal and opens an account with Bud. As the relationship between the two develops, we see a drastic change in Bud’s character, as he becomes

aware of the corruptness and ruthlessness of the industry in which he works. Gordon "Greed" Gekko is a money hungry, lizard-like (hence, the name "Gekko") corporate millionaire. He is the embodiment of the popular idea of "something for nothing." Throughout the movie, he says such things as "if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing for money" and "greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit." He has everything he could possible want–wife, family, estate, pool, limousine, priceless art objects–and yet, he seems unhappy. He represents the 80s of an insatiable desire to have more. Money to him is nothing; it is merely a way of keeping score to him–it is all a game. At a board meeting for a certain company, he

concludes a speech by saying, "The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works." Although at times during the movie Gekko’s success can be applauded, in the end, it is shown that his greed has many subsequent negative effects on those people that surround him. He is accused during the same board meeting of being a "destroyer of companies" and responds by proclaiming that he is a "liberator of companies!" However, his sole reason for buying into Bud’s father’s airline company is to make his money and split. It is only when Gekko betrays Bud by wrecking his father’s airline company that Bud begins to realize that his actions are immoral and heeds the advice of his father,