Capitalism – Oliver Stone style

I won’t bother trying to describe the anticipation I have for the release of Oliver Stone’s sequel to the 1987 hit Wall Street (Trailer below). At the time of that movie, my devotion to capitalism was being formed. Back then, I naively ignored the message in the original movie as much as I was allured to the power and cunning of the main character, Gordon Gecko. At the time, and I was ONLY 16, I assumed that capitalism was a zero-sum game. You had to have losers, to have winners. Of course the entire premise of a stock or bond trade is based on such things, but again, the moral message of the movie was lost on me. I suppose I would have consciously noticed it, but repelled it like any other less than sexy do-gooder message at the time. In fact the charm of the movie to me included the young, naive win at all costs upstart, Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen.

The new movie, Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps, promises to be a modern day re-telling of the “Greed is Good” mentality of the original. What makes my skin crawl with excitement, is that we have had 20 years of amazing capitalism themed real-life headlines. Many of those headlines were of course because there are in real life, people like Gordon Gecko. We had the likes of Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, Bernie Maddof and the near full collapse of the financial markets due to a sketchy and unregulated Shadow Banking System (2008, 2009).

Since 1987, almost 25 years ago, this is what we have seen happen in real life:

Also, as this was all taking place, I was learning a thing or two about capitalism myself. I have learned that without capitalism, none of the economic growth which fuels common-good programs and protections simply couldn’t happen. I have learned that I can take from the system, for my own enjoyment and betterment, but at the same time contribute to the greater financial and governance eco-system through creating employment for others, and GASP paying taxes. (we’ll save the debate about inefficiencies in government and waste of tax-payers money to another blog).

SO, to summarize, you can see why I might get so excited about this movie. With all of these great truths to base the story, the fiction has never had a better chance. Like another great Oliver Stone movie, JFK, we have to suspend reality just enough to enjoy the premise of his movies, but nobody walks the line between truth and fiction better, and certainly no one makes what is morally questionable still seem to be scintillatingly sexy. (regrets to Hugh Hefner, who comes a close second).

Just watching the trailer makes me want to frickin pummel some do-gooder union types and acquire my 10 largest competitors. Luckily I am no-longer so naive. Barely.

Trailer – Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps

Bonus Video Clip  –  Gordon Gecko at his orginal best – “Greed is Good Clip”

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  • Will March 29, 2010   Reply →

    Take yer best shot… I’m a bit of a union type… worked an average of 11 hours a day for six days a week since November. Don’t think that’s right… certainly not healthy… at least for me, but the company can do it because… well, they can.

    The greed of others may be good for them… and for shareholders… but it’s awfully tough on me and my family.

    So… come on out… bare hands… or we could just have a beer.

  • Paul Turnbull March 29, 2010   Reply →

    Well I would hope you aren’t so naive anymore as to think unions are some kind of altruistic, do-gooder organizations. I tend to think of them as particularly capitalistic organizations. They exist to balance the greed of the employer against the greed of the employees. This isn’t to say there isn’t some altruism involved but then altruism often comes from companies and corporations as well. But the purpose of a union is to do what’s best for the duespayers just as the purpose of a company is to do what’s best for the shareholders.

    In the interests of disclosure I am in a union and also employed by a union, I am, however, speaking for myself. On the other side of the coin both my step-father and my father-in-law ran successful business’s so I’ve definitely had contact with both sides.

  • Chris LaBossiere March 29, 2010   Reply →


    First of all, when led with the choice between bare hands and beers with the likes of you, I’ll even buy the beer 😉

    Now, onto the topic of unions. I was in jest a bit as part of the original movie storyline is how the failure of the business that Bud’s father worked at was partly being blamed on an inflexible union.

    Paul / Will:

    Now to both of you on the actual topic of Unions, I should share that I have bargained 6 collective agreements in my lifetime, as well as had the very challenging responsibility to have to facilitate the "merger" of two to three different unions and collective agreements into one. Not once but three time.

    Let me tell you that I view employees the same regardless of their representation choice. I was considered to be one of the very few who would take the time to get to know the employees, their families, and their issues, so when it came to negotiating with them, I was able to speak to the employees on the bargaining committee’s and come to agreement on nearly everything without much union involvement.

    What I learned during those bargaining sessions, was that the union when representing and fighting for their employee members, are an important part of the process. However, the minute the bargaining turned to fighting for clauses that were more a benefit for the union infrastructure (training and pension funds), I always found that these clauses were being defended more than even simple employee rights like wages or other language.

    Either way, I don’t have any issues with unions, and in fact have many good friends who continue to work within them in the waste industry. ALL of the business agents I have come to know over the years would be considered friends, and I would expect them to say the same.

    I also know that there are some industries and some management that make having a union a necessity.

  • Will March 29, 2010   Reply →

    Article 2.4:

    If a blogger offers to buy beer, that offer will last until fulfilled.

  • Sutton34DONNA March 31, 2010   Reply →

    According to my investigation, thousands of persons on our planet get the loan from different banks. Hence, there’s good chances to get a financial loan in every country.

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