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Wall Street: Gordon Gekko

Wall Street is a famous movie that depicts the behind the curtains lives of people who are a part of the world of finance - traders, brokers. The movie portrays the way that the majority of deals are made and demonstrates that the concept of free trade of information is basically just an assumption. The main character, Gordon Gekko, buys out underperforming companies and then breaks them to sell them for profit. On the other hand, there is a young broker named Buddy Fox who faces a lot of unresolved ethical dilemmas.

The characters of Bud Fox and his father Carl are not absolutely antagonistic. Nevertheless, they are dialectical indeed. Carl Fox is of the opinion that a person should work a lot in order to reach the set goals, in this case in order to become wealthier. Moreover, he believes that the work should be of decent quality. He protects the rights of the workers and he is concerned about the future of the company that he works for. Carl is a devoted farther who worries about his son, stimulates him and even helps him financially. He is ready to back up his son in case of any incident or failure. He notices that his son confronts some failures and troubles and asks him to come back home. On the other hand, he does not force his son, since Carl truly believes in his son's outstanding character. Carl father provides Bud with all the resources that he needs for the development of his potential.


Before exemplifying the dialectics in the relationship between the father and the son, one should also pay attention to the ethics and lifestyle of Gekko. In fact, Gekko is the total opposite of Carl. Gekko is a greedy, persistent and very smart trader who knows all ins and outs on the Wall Street. He teaches Buddy how to earn real money on the Wall Street. He has established his own ethics code, which praises profit above anything else. He disregards the public good and public opinion. Greed is good. Greed works. Greed cleans. Money is the only fetish of Gekko's life. At his public speech, he asserts that greed is the cure for any corporation, no matter public or private. Gekko can set up the entire Wall Street. He has connections in all of the publications, trade centers, and even in the criminal world. He is attentively listened to. He is a self-made man despite the fact that he had never created a thing. In fact, Gekko is the opposite role model to Carl, who has worked hard for years and has not earned much money. Gekko, in turn, created nothing and earned millions.

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Gekko's ethical reasoning changes over the course of the movie. In the very beginning it was obvious that Bud Fox could actually cheat at the ground level. From God knows where he got the Davidoff cigarettes and presented them to Gekko in order to catch Gekko's attention. He was also rather smart to get inside of his building and to use leverage of the inside information that he had received from his father. Nevertheless, Bud Fox always acted within the framework of the law and regulations and he was afraid to loose his license. It is not quite clear what has guided him in remaining a law-abiding citizen. At the beginning of the movie he was most probably guided by the ethical principles that have been cultivated in him by his father. He demonstrated his good intentions up until he met Gekko.

On the other hand, one can suppose that the primary plans of Buddy Fox included a rapid career growth and getting rich as fast as possible. Therefore, from the perspective of ethical reasoning and dialectic correlations, one can infer thatBuddy finds himself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum with Gekko and Carl on two poles of it. Towards the end of the movie Bud lands down with Gekko.

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From the ethical perspective, it is important to stress out that greed is frequently admonished. It is frequently referred to as excessive desires. It is prohibited by the Bible and has a place in the list of deadly sins. Nevertheless, the movie praises this concept, especially in the pivotal address of Gordon Gekko. Insider trading also raises a lot of ethical questions regarding Buddy's conduct. At first, he disregards such practices as he was afraid of criminal prosecution. However, as the plot of the movie develops, the situations arise that actually promote this unethical practice. Ambitious Bud Fox entices Gordon with confidential information regarding the Bluestar Airlines. More than that, Bud Fox considers them just as means for reaching his personal goals and for moving up the career ladder. Eventually, disclosure of this information sets in motion the key events of the movie. A lot of Grekko's most lucrative deals are made based on insider information. From the ethical perspective such conduct is completely wrong, since this sector of economy heavily relies on the idea of free trade of the information (Keltner, 2012).

The immorality of Gekko is portrayed in a rather obvious way. He only follows his own ethical code. He does not differentiate between right or wrong when it comes to money and profit. For Gekko, betrayal of allegiances is just a part of the game. Bud Fox finds himself in a rather different situation, as he is torn between two allegiances, which are the trader's career against his family and friendship. Yet, by the end of the movie Fox breaks all his rules and betrays all of his allegiances. As a result, he faces a total downfall. Finally, he betrays Gekko as well, when he wears a wire on their last meeting (Zarroli, 2008). Gekko eventually gets punished for his crimes. One of the interpretations could be that this was revenge or reclaiming justice for the injustices that have been committed. Fox is left with nothing. And yet again it is hard to unambiguously judge his actions. He might have followed his principles that have been sedated by the lure of wealth and his desire for a rich life for a while. Perhaps, he decided to follow the way of his farther. However, it seems that ethics have nothing to do with Fox's actions. Most probably, he wanted to escape the responsibility and cut the connections with the past.

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Additionally, Wall Street should not be seen just as the movie about world of finance, but rather as a critique of a system of values that puts profits and wealth in its core. The characters are empty inside. They are not building anything but rather destroying the failing companies. The only thing that Bud could leverage with was the insider information he obtained from his father. In the end, the main characters of the movie face defeat. The win of the ethical principles is undetermined. Yet, the way of life waged by the characters is definitely admonished.

In total, the movie raises an important issue that relates to the responsibility and the influence of ethics. As reveals, the ethical rules have no sanctions. Often, the society even praises the unethical life features. It is rather prestigious to have a car, a well designed apartments and solid bank account. Moreover, money becomes a fetish for the majority of people and they become the subject matter of talks and rumors. At the same time, few speak about their way up to their current position, as these ways are frequently accompanied by bloody conflicts and many cases of unethical behavior. The only sanction for ethics, therefore, is self-conscience. That is the only thing that no one can separate from. Some people are quite successful at silencing it while others not. Nevertheless, it should be stressed that even the public admonishing or the failure cannot serve as the prevention tool employed for the fighting with the unethical behavior. Only the fear of bearing the responsibility for what has been done can force a person change his way. And the Wall Street proves this idea once more.

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