When Michael Douglas immortalised Wall Street kingpin Gordon Gekko in the late 80s, the shrewd player blatantly professed that ‘greed, for lack of a better word, is good’. A powerful anti-hero corporate raider, Gekko possessed the very skills needed to survive in a cut-throat market. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street went on to become an overnight sensation, while personifying the raw emotions governing the financial sector.
Some may argue that Gekko was ruthless and his morals questionable, but I beg to differ – are we so different? Deep down, we all have a little ‘Gekko’ in of us. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes the world go round. We all want a bigger house and a faster car, perhaps even a yacht. And what could go wrong?
In our quest for materialistic ventures, it is the creation of sub-primes and credit swaps that fill our pockets with money – that doesn’t belong to us and doesn’t exist! We create our bubble, and then shred it to pieces not once, but twice (read: double dip), on most occasions.
But then again, where lies the moral hazard?
Is there a guarantee that we will not make the same mistake again? And why not buy another property if the market picks up? Perhaps the ‘Gekko’ in us has consumed our morality.
Or have we learnt our lesson – is greed good?