Wall Street sequel

It is the film some people have been waiting 23 years for. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to Oliver Stone’s iconic 1987 movie, is out in Britain tomorrow.

The original 1987 film is often remembered as a celebration of the ruthless, “lunch is for wimps” behaviour of Wall Street’s finest. In fact Stone meant it as an attack on what he saw as the outrageous “greed is good” attitude of American financiers. This was counterposed to the supposedly honest, respectable mainstream businesses such as airlines.

Given the scale of the recent financial disaster the film should have plenty of material to draw on. The original film was inspired by the behaviour of the likes of Ivan Boesky, an arbitrageur, Michael Milken, a prominent junk bond dealer, which now seems tame in comparison. (article continues below)

It is a sure bet that, even if it provides good entertainment value, the new film will include a simplistic message: capitalism should be more moderate. When Stone was recently interviewed on the Fox television channel (see above) he showed he does not even understand basic economic categories. For example, he claimed that productivity fell during the 1980s, when it rose. He then went on to confuse it with profitability.

None of this would matter if he was content to simply be a film director. But if he is promoting himself as a serious critics of capitalism he should at least know his economics ABC.

Let’s hope the new film is better than Stone’s ropey understanding of economics.