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Wall Street (1987)

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Wall Street (1987) Starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen Directed by Oliver Stone University of Michigan - Dearborn EM550: Business Law and Ethics Summer 2004 Shane Schulze Wall Street (1987) is based on the bull market of 1985 starring Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox, a Wall Street stockbroker, and Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a ruthless stockbroker kingpin. The movie has the traditional plotline with a hungry kid impressed by an elder in the business he wants to be in on, who is then seduced by the elder, later betrayed by him, and then tries to turn the tables in the end to make things right. This movie is important in three aspects: how the relaxed government regulation law allowed manipulation of the market through illegal securities trading, the lack of ethics in business, and how morals in today's society are not ethical. The first discussion is the focus on the effects of insider trading on the stock market. An individual who obtains "inside information" about the plans of a publicly listed corporation can often make stock-trading profits by using the information to guide decisions relating to the purchase or sale of corporate securities.1 Insider trading is a violation of the Supreme Court's interpretation of Section 10b of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5, prohibiting fraud in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.2 In Wall Street Bud Fox is the tippee who receives a tip from his ...read more.


As Bud's father he tries to set an example to his son but Bud is too blinded by the Gekko's lifestyle. Bud looks down on his father's blue collar values. Martin tries to act as Charlie's conscience saying that this way of making money is like selling his soul to the devil, trading a short time at the top in exchange for a bitter end. The runner-up for the most ethical goes to Lou Mannheim played by Hal Holbrook who acts as a mentor to the stockbroker firm. Hal offers advice as a senior management executive and rationalizes with Bud. When Bud comes to him with a "sure thing", Hal simply states that the only things that are sure in life are "death and taxes." Hal is the typical long-term investor who gets outshined by the short-term stars from time to time, but will hold a steady profit in the end, a mature bear surrounded by baby bulls in Wall Street terms. The least ethical person in Wall Street is undoubtedly Gordon Gekko. Gekko is a corporate raider who corrupts, destroys, and pillages businesses all in the name of greed. He pushes Bud into gathering information illegally about his competitors if Bud wishes to continue doing business with him. He offers unorthodox perks to inspire his workers, such as sending prostitutes to Bud's apartment to give a taste of what benefits await him if he succeeds. ...read more.


The actions and dealings pointed out in Wall Street seem to be common today and are not shocking. These have become expected from corporations where the bottom line is the only important fact of the company. It doesn't matter if a drug is recommended for a purpose that it had no authorization to treat as Pfizer recently did. It's only the bottom line and having a huge profit isn't sufficient anymore; profits are expected to achieve double digit growth and profits year after year after year. If it doesn't meet the expectations then its stock is beaten mercilessly on the trading floor. "Enough is never enough." The current value system in corporate America places profits and wealth above everything else, including the soft legal boundaries that allow relaxed accounting practices among other semi-illegal acts. Wall Street does provide an important lesson on how large corporate executives can manipulate their way to success. Their actions along that road tend to never be ethical and barely legal. These ethics have become acceptable / expected in today's society for the pursuit of the bottom line. The greed for more wealth and power at any and all costs is the drive in society. 1 Jentz, Gaylord A. and Roger LeRoy Miller. "Business Law Today, The Essentials". Thomson, South-Western. Ohio: Mason. 2003 pg. 157. 2 http://www.wilipedia.com 3 http://washburnlaw.edu/faculty/Ramirez-s-fulltext/1998-26secreg162.htm 4 http://www.sec.gov 5 http://www.everwoodmusic.com/filminfo.php?fil=B00003CxDB 6 Jentz, Gaylord A. and Roger LeRoy Miller. "Business Law Today, The Essentials". Thomson, South-Western. Ohio: Mason. 2003 pg. 560. 7 http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/charters/declaration_transcipt.htm ...read more.

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