Gordon Gecko, Greed is Good


Gordon Gecko is a character portrayed by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street (1987).

The movie was directed by Oliver Stone, produced by Edward R Pressman and written by Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser.


The story of the movie is about a wealthy corporate raider Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas and his interactions with the young stockbroker Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen.

Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Gecko.

The character Gordon Gecko is said to be a composite of several people – including Stone’s father who was a stockbroker on Wall Street during the Great Depression.

The film portrays an archetypal view of 1980’s success. The lead character famously states: “greed, for lack of a better word, is good”.

It contrasts the desire for a quick-buck or fast result epitomized by Wall Street as compared to the traditional steady, hard work approach of many companies and individual workers. 

Gordon Gecko - Greed is Good - Wall Street Movie 1987


The manifesto or philosophy of the movie is best captured in a scene where Gecko (Douglas) speaks to the stockholders of the fictional company Teldar Paper.

Here is an extract from that speech:

I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them!

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.

Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed – you mark my words – will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.



Does a manifesto have to be ‘real’ to be valuable? Not in this case.

The success of this manifesto is that it was able to capture and speak to the prevailing mood of the 1980s – it simply presented it in as an easy to digest movie morsel.

In particular, this fictionalized account has a licence that a true story based on specific individuals probably would not have been able to – except with a certain promise of a law suit.

Interestingly, while the purpose of this manifesto was as a social commentary, it did have the unexpected side-effect of inspiring many people to work on Wall Street – based on the number of comments that Stone, Sheen and Douglas received over the years.

Also, it shows that a manifesto always sits within a wider context of people, story and narrative. It highlights that some will adhere to your viewpoint, others will not and there will be consequences for the actions that follow.

Paul B Farrell: 20 Rule Manifesto for New No-Growth Economics

Paul B Farrell: Manifesto for No-Growth Economics

Creator: Paul Farrell writes the column on behavioral economics. He’s the author of nine books on personal finance, economics and psychology, including “The Millionaire Code,” “The Winning Portfolio,” “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing.” Farrell was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley; executive vice president of the Financial News Network; executive vice president of Mercury Entertainment Corp; and associate editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He has a Juris Doctor and a Doctorate in Psychology.

Purpose: Because “Classical economics is fatally flawed” and new economic rules are essential for our survival.

A 20-rule manifesto for New No-Growth Economics (Summary)

1. Population: self-destructive, basic supply/demand equation flawed

2. Economy’s worst-case scenario: Population explodes to 10 billion

3. Next worst-case scenario: Population not reduced back to 5 billion

4. Population control is an economic necessity, the last taboo falls

5. Mass denial ends in aftermath of global catastrophes

6. Revolution topples dominance of Super Rich capitalists

7. Wall Street’s too-greedy-to-fail banks become public utilities

8. Commodity pricing shifts from markets to government negotiators

9. New regulations reign in quants and hi-risk derivatives traders

10. Fed monetary policy no longer dominated by Wall Street banks

11. Behavioral economics and behavioral finance get new careers

12. Oil and carbon-based energy epiphany, invest in alternatives

13. Self-destructive no-compromise political gridlock ends

14. GOP returns to principles of Lincoln, tea party disappears

15. Inequality gap drops with decline of Super Rich power

16. Lobbyists will no longer run Washington as a private anarchy

17. American imperialism ends, so do Pentagon blank checks

18. The rise of a powerful, new democratic United Nations

19. End of climate-deniers, after the ticking time-bomb explodes

20. Beginning of New Global Era … the New No-Growth Economy



For the complete Manifesto and article on MarketWatch.com – 30 August 2011