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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 Stones 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 dont take the risks that result in growth and achievement At the start of Wall Street Bud Fox is young and very nave 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 Id 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 Gekkos office with a box of Havana cigars on his birthday in hopes of winning
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