In the Oliver Stone film Wall Street, Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) is a young New York stock broker struggling to make it in the cut-throat world of cold calling.
He works his hardest to get through to illusive millionaire trader Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas). After weeks (maybe months) of trying to speak with Gordon, Bud finally gets his wish, and is able to arrange a short meeting with the exceedingly busy power trader. After several shot-down attempts to pitch to Mr.
Gekko, Bud Fox finally divulges some information given to him by his father who is a mechanic for a small airline called Bluestar. Bud’s father had told him that the court would rule in favor of the airline in a lawsuit pertaining to an earlier crash. After receiving this illegal insider information, Gordan Gekko advises Bud to buy up as much Bluestar stock as possible, and the ethics rollercoaster begins.It’s pretty obvious right off the bat that Gordon Gekko missed his business ethics class in college.
In fact, he earned most, if not all if his money through use of illegal insider information. He would then use his enormous pockets to buy up as much stock as possible at a low price right before he was sure that the stock prices would soar. All the while he used Bud to obtain “need to know” information in questionable ways. Gordon knew that what he was doing was highly illegal, so he had his lawyer write up contracts that said that Bud Fox had sole control over the millionaires’ investments and that wealthy mogul had neither responsibility nor any knowledge of his investments.
Eventually, Gekko pulls the plug on Bluestar (being the number one shareholder) which ultimately puts Bud’s father out of work. In the end, the Securities and Exchanges commission (SEC) catches on to Gordon’s illegal activities, and arrests Bud Fox for violation of federal securities laws, and Gekko escapes unscathed by the mishap.Bud’s demise can be attributed to his greed and lack of ethics. His first mistake was when he used the information he knew about Bluestar to obtain a working relationship with Gekko. Bud was then further lured into Gekko’s master plan when invited by Gorgon into the exceptionally wealthy New York inner circle, which included beautiful women, drugs, and a presumably infinite amount of money.
This glimpse into the “good life” and the promises of it’s benefits have the young up-in-coming broker hooked from the start. Once he found out about Gordon’s plans with Bluestar, Bud began to feel extreme remorse for his actions. Nevertheless it was too late.If I were in Bud Fox’s situation, I’m sure it would be extremely difficult to pass up the temptation of instant success.
But, as the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” There is no such thing as a free lunch, and money doesn’t come easy. Hard work and determination are the only sure fire ways to financial success.
Decisions of questionable ethics, such as the use of insider information, may seem like a golden ticket, but everything will eventually end up in disaster. It may seem as though no one is getting hurt by use of such information. That however is not true. Use of unethical information will sooner or later lead to layoffs, which may or may not directly affect your personal situation. Is it really worth it to better your own situation while destroying someone else’s? An easy ethics test is one mentioned in class, and that is “would I want to my mother to know what I just did?” A negative response to that question more than likely means that such actions should be avoided. Follow this simple rule, and you should never find yourself in Bud Fox’s situation.