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text below the jump
You know that scene from the Oliver Stone film Wall Street when Gordon Gekko- played by Michael Douglass in a role that would win him an Oscar, appears at a shareholder’s meeting of a company- TelDar paper- to defend his actions and his grotesque world view and delivers the now famous speech where he says:
“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed—for lack of a better word—is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. And greed—you mark my words—will not only save Tel Dar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA!”
Audiences flipped out.
Every body in the 80s wanted to be Gordon Gekko.
But the thing is this: Oliver Stone wrote it as a piece of Satire. But nobody got it. Just the opposite.
While Oliver Stone was trying to send up the excesses of the Reagan Era, Michael Douglass’s portrayal helped inspire a whole generation of slick backed hairdos in double breasted suits adopting the “greed is good” ethos, and fast forward to today and pursuing the American Dream as it has come to be defined, now delivers obscene wealth for a very few while raining poverty and misery down on many and serving as a homicidal force for others.
Because People do, in fact, die for lack of access to health care in the richest country in the world (that’s the US of A). Human consumption is, in fact, accelerating the destruction of our planet.
People do, in fact, die in wars waged based on lies that profit a precious few.
Over 5 million children globally each year do not reach their 5th birthday because they die of starvation.
All of this is not because the system that puts man on the moon or can squeeze an entire library onto a computer chip the size of a thumbnail has failed to find a way to solve these problems, rather our system, without apology, places corporate greed above human need.
And greed, to take back the popular phrase, is not good.
Fuck you Gordon Gecko.