To me, the obvious choice of media material that screams business ethics is the popular movie, “Wall Street.” It also happens to fit right in with the discussion we have been having recently about stocks and corporate information with the Enron and Lehman Brothers cases. Charlie Sheen plays the main character, Bud Fox, in the 1987 film. Fox is a young stockbroker who finds himself working with Gordon Gekko, a major actor on Wall Street, after yearning to get an in with him for years. Right off the bat, business ethics is evident, when Fox uses inside information to get Gekko’s attention.
Fox resorts to several morally questionable acts to gain a competitive edge, such as spying. Gekko convinces him to spy on a British businessman to find out what his next financial step is. When he learns that he is about to purchase a steel company, Fox acts on this information and helps Gekko make a lot of money.
Insider trader plays a large role in this movie, as Fox constantly uses confidential information to make decisions about trading stocks. Fox makes so many questionable trades that the SEC starts to notice his behavior. This movie is a great depiction of the deceit that can so easily take place in the financial world. While it is tempting to use little known information to get an edge in the trading world, it is also illegal. It seems like it is obvious, but trading based on information gained without public knowledge is also ethically wrong. It gives individual people the ability to make a ton of money at someone else’s expense, without them knowing until after it happens. This is why the SEC was created, to catch insider traders before they scam too many people out of their money.