Gordon Gecko as a role model – ‘Greed is Good’

I was watching Michael Douglas on the Dave Letterman Late Night Show the other night (season 17, episode 3181). There was a great interchange between Dave and Michael.

But first: Michael Douglas was talking about how a sequel to Wall Street – the famous role were he acted as Gordon Gecko and delivered the famous ‘greed is good’ speech – is in the works.
For those who haven’t seen the original speech recently, here it is:

Now, here is the clanger! Dave Letterman was talking to Michael Douglas, and observing that it’s a different (financial and economic) environment for the sequel than it was for the original Wall Street movie in the 1980s. Then the exchange went something like this:
  • Dave Letterman (DL): In that community, certainly, you’re still closely associated with that role. Do you still get people talking to you?
  • Michael Douglas (MD): I do! Probably more than any role I have ever had! But usually it’s some very drunk Wall Street guy saying “You’re the man! You’re the man! You’re the reason I got into Wall Street!” I say “But I was the bad guy!”. They say “Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, no, no” [totally dismissing the concern, it doesn’t matter].
  • DL: Wow! Maybe you started everything! [the global financial crisis!]
  • MD: Yeah, yeah.
  • DL: That’s a pretty heavy responsibility!
  • MD: It’s a heavy responsibility, yeah.
It’s a really interesting example of reflexivity – art imitating reality in the 1980s (a caricature of a financial market machine with particular values), with the reality then imitating the art as the art then became a role model for people who pushed those values further and further to greater and greater excesses. See also the previous post on how Jack Bauer and torture on the TV series 24 may have influenced public attitudes to torture in the USA.
Gordon Gecko’s speech was great public oratory. But from our current perspective, the word “greed” should be replaced with “desire”, and we need a framework of institutional checks and balances to ensure that that desire is expressed in a constructive way that works to everybody’s advantage. Which, of course, was the point of the original movie!

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Gordon Gecko as a role model – ‘Greed is Good’

I was watching Michael Douglas on the Dave Letterman Late Night Show the other night (season 17, episode 3181). There was a great interchange between Dave and Michael.

But first: Michael Douglas was talking about how a sequel to Wall Street – the famous role were he acted as Gordon Gecko and delivered the famous ‘greed is good’ speech – is in the works.
For those who haven’t seen the original speech recently, here it is:

Now, here is the clanger! Dave Letterman was talking to Michael Douglas, and observing that it’s a different (financial and economic) environment for the sequel than it was for the original Wall Street movie in the 1980s. Then the exchange went something like this:
  • Dave Letterman (DL): In that community, certainly, you’re still closely associated with that role. Do you still get people talking to you?
  • Michael Douglas (MD): I do! Probably more than any role I have ever had! But usually it’s some very drunk Wall Street guy saying “You’re the man! You’re the man! You’re the reason I got into Wall Street!” I say “But I was the bad guy!”. They say “Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, no, no” [totally dismissing the concern, it doesn’t matter].
  • DL: Wow! Maybe you started everything! [the global financial crisis!]
  • MD: Yeah, yeah.
  • DL: That’s a pretty heavy responsibility!
  • MD: It’s a heavy responsibility, yeah.
It’s a really interesting example of reflexivity – art imitating reality in the 1980s (a caricature of a financial market machine with particular values), with the reality then imitating the art as the art then became a role model for people who pushed those values further and further to greater and greater excesses. See also the previous post on how Jack Bauer and torture on the TV series 24 may have influenced public attitudes to torture in the USA.
Gordon Gecko’s speech was great public oratory. But from our current perspective, the word “greed” should be replaced with “desire”, and we need a framework of institutional checks and balances to ensure that that desire is expressed in a constructive way that works to everybody’s advantage. Which, of course, was the point of the original movie!

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Trackback URL http://www.think-differently.org/2009/09/gordon-gecko-as-role-model-is-good/trackback/