As a teenager back in 1987 I thought Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas were pretty cool in the original Wall Street, but being so far separated from the reality of the avarice within the global financial world at the time, I could have never appreciated what deep meaning Oliver Stone was trying to convey. Twenty-one years later that teenager may have matured but has the corporate world the film uses as inspiration?
As the World Economic Forum meets in Davos (as I listen to the webinar on ‘Rethinking Market Capitalism’) at least those at 20th Century Fox didn’t miss that opportunity for ironic timing in releasing the trailer. Greed or good marketing?
How much has really changed from the ethos of corporate world depicted by Gordon Gekko and the icon for greed the character became? Jeffrey Skilling, Bernard Maddoff and even Fred Goodwin (ex CEO at Royal Bank of Scotland) may be recent examples of those allegedly restrained by different aspects of corporate legislation but in reality are individuals responsible for their own actions. The regulatory conditions within the theatre of the corporate world may have improved, but individuals with rogue agendas will always prosper when allowed to by others.
I have it on very good information that some corporate reprobates never reigned in their spending at all, they were just far less conspicuous about it. I’m aware of stories about extravagant corporate events under assumed company names. Talk about missing the point on ethics and transparency! The highway robbers are merely hiding below the proverbial parapet until something else comes along to distract our attention – how long til the next war please?
Will Gordon will get his comeuppance again or will Oliver Stone be able to deliver a poignant message about values? Greed may play an important role in stimulating entrepreneurial activity, but we all have to find a better way to direct our businesses and global economies beyond continually bulldozing towards unrestrained growth before exhausting the planet’s finite resources.
Check out the trailer for Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps and let me know what you think will happen to Gordon this time; jail, death, epiphany or Government job?