Gordon Gekko Lives!

Tales of insider trading by Michael Lewis, Joe Nocera, James B. Stewart, and others.
6 stories

"Authorities have opened a new front in a three-year push to attack possible improper trading on Wall Street and in corporate America," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Until now, prosecutors and regulators were focused mainly on ferreting out traditional insider trading in the financial world, involving outside investors in companies. Some 70 convictions and guilty pleas from traders and others have resulted from such efforts. Now, authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are turning more attention to trading by corporate executives in their own company's shares."

In 2002, Kurt Andersen examined New York City's culpability in the culture of such illegal trades, writing that we can't forget it was "New York investment bankers and their Wall Street brothers who trained a generation of obedient American C.E.O.'s (by means of stock-option-based compensation) to worry more about jacking up their share prices in the short term than about running their companies well for the long haul."

Joe Nocera lamented how many people get away with financial malfeasance, noting that post-9/11"with the F.B.I. understandably focused on terrorism, there isn’t a lot of manpower left to dig into potential crimes that may have taken place during the financial crisis."

And Michael Lewis profiled Oliver Stone before the release of his sequel to Wall Street. "The character of Gordon Gekko doesn’t really even exist anymore," Lewis noted. "Or, rather, he has become so ordinary—the hedge-fund manager—that he blends in with the landscape."

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Neither prison nor a consent decree could stop history’s greatest dealmaker.

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Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street succeeded brilliantly in capturing a culture, and failed miserably as a call for change. Anticipating the sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the author looks at Stone’s greatest challenge: creating a hero for a corrupted, collapsing world.

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