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Wall Street and Main Street in Fiction and Film

  • the-arts
January 25, 2014

Tags Media and Culture

Ryan McMaken writes in this weekend's Mises Daily

Contemporary readers will likely find Younkins’s later chapters most interesting where he coversWall Street (1987) and its 2010 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. In the 1987 film especially, we find a fairly sophisticated examination of the role of the investor and the corporate raider in actually building value for the stockholders in a company. Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) certainly is motivated by greed, as he explains in his famous ”Greed is Good” speech, but that greed leads him to seek to rid the company of lazy and ineffective managers who are bleeding the company dry and generally wasting resources. Similar themes are explored in the play Other People’s Money and its film version (1991) that examines a situation in which the founders of companies are emotionally attached to their enterprises. In such cases, the founders may be shortchanging the stockholders, who are also the owners of the company. The role of “Larry the Liquidator” (Danny DeVito) in this case is to help the complacent stockholders demand they earn a return on their investment.

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