In the big city of New York there always exist those who push and stretch the law. One such man played by Michael Douglas makes money buying and selling others dreams. He is a stock speculator; but one that succeeds based on illegal inside information. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is a representation of bad morals and poor business ethics in the business world. It also shows the negative effects, bad morals and poor business ethics can have on society.
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 who Bud admires and wants to be associated with. Wall Street points out how wrong it is to exchange morality for money. Gordon Gekko reflects this message, and yet receives a standing ovation at a stockholders meeting after delivering his greed is good speech.
The underlying theme of the movie is that greed is not only, not ethical but it lacks moral substance in today’s society. 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 saw this as an opportunity to gain money from inside information and took Bud under his wing. As the relationship between the two develops Bud becomes aware of the corruptness and ruthlessness of the industry in which he works. He learns that using inside information can raise or lower the price of stocks. The information can manipulate the stock holders to buy or sell the stock to your convince.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines insiders as «any shareholder who holds in excess of five percent of a company voting stock or any officer or director of a corporation or employee who has access to important corporate information.» This information can consist of future mergers, takeovers, pending lawsuits usually vital to the companies’ future stock value. On the basis of this information the insider puts in an order to buy or sell a block of stock. This alerts other traders to follow and once the information is made public the change is apparent. This kind of activity is perfectly legal and can actually benefit the market as a whole. However, when an individual misappropriates information and uses it for their own personal gain it is illegal insider trading. This kind of transaction is what tempts lowly traders in the workplace and is sometimes used as a quick solution to covering debt.
Entry level employees in large brokerage firms work long hours and must withstand a great deal of pressure to succeed. Those who choose the right stocks and get the right clients advance, while the others wait their turn. Oliver Stone showed this atmosphere in Wall Street.
In the movie Gekko had Bud tell all the other brokers to sell a stock to lower the price so he could buy it all. 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.» Money to him is nothing, it is all a game. It is shown that his greed has many subsequent negative effects on those people that surround him. He is accused 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 buy selling it all away. Causing Buds father and all the other airline workers to lose their jobs. 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, «Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life. Create, instead of living off the buying and selling of others.» Bud learns that he is practicing bad business ethics by working for Gekko.
Bud realizes that he was running Gekkos portfolio in a way that fully incriminates him self and keeps distant the man whose finances he is controlling. Charlie Sheen ultimately is arrested for violating insider-trading laws. For using inside information to buy and sell Gekkos portfolio. He is to get his revenge though. He uses his contacts in Wall Street to boost the price of a stock that Michael Douglas wishes to acquire. Then he encourages everyone to sell it off to leave his rival with a worthless stock. He learned that with the information that he knew he could control everything.
Wall Street shows the very importance of the value of information. The conflict between right and wrong gives the average person a more in depth view of how a trader can use inside information to boast more profit. If inside information is used to predict stock outcomes it becomes unfair and unjust to persons without the information. That’s why it is illegal. You should not be able to manipulate the market with information that is not open to the public. The film also showed what can happen if you practice poor ethics when conducting business, practicing good business ethics helps to accomplish your goals.