The lessons earned from “Greed is Good”

There are several icons of the 1980s in films. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo, Tom Cruise as Maverick from Top Gun, Glenn Close as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, Melanie Griffith’s Working Girl, Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley or any John Hughes film. All have been touted as being representative of the USA during this period. However, there is one that stands out more than any other. The sight and sounds of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko have to be the one character and story that illustrates the financial deregulation of the time.

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Wall Street is all about insider trading. This is where share prices are artificially pushed up with deals in the background by floor traders. The idea is that they can sell their shares at a higher price and make a tidy profit as the shares plummet back down to their original value.

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Gekko is a master of this, and he uses the impressionable  Bud, played by a young Charlie Sheen, to get what he wants. With the modern AML ID VERIFICATION checks that we have, especially those from,  it would be very difficult for Gordon to use the illegal funds he had procured. The idealist Bud eventually sees sense and shops Gekko to the authorities and incriminates himself in the process. Both go to jail, but the younger Bud has a promise of a job from an investor who he helped to protect from Gekko’s plans. He has an opportunity, but for Gordon, the future is much less rosy.

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