Behavior of Bud Fox

In the film Wall Street, the behavior of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is influenced by his ambition and moral conscience.  At the beginning of the film, Fox provides business mogul Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) with inside information. Gekko hires him, then continues to fuel Fox’s ambition by providing him with a house, car and by introducing him to a beautiful blonde (Daryl Hannah).  In exchange, Fox continues to provide Gekko with inside information about Bluestar, where Fox’s father is employed.

Fox is also asked to convince his father to gain union support for the purchase of Bluestar by Gekko.  In this part of the film, Fox’s actions are motivated by his desire to succeed and make money.  Later in the film, when Fox realizes that Gekko’s plans for Bluestar will result in the unemployment of the entire staff of Bluestar, he begins to plot against Gekko.  His ploy to artificially lower the value of Bluestar stock is influenced by his guilt at having contributed to the demise of Bluestar.  At this point in the film, Fox’s actions are motivated by his moral conscience.  Because he feels responsible, he deceives Gekko.

Fortunately, individuals such as Fox who are initially motivated by ambition and greed often contribute to the breaking of their corporations following an ethical dilemma. These include top executives who initially profit from the actions of their corporations, then agree to testify as to the illegality of the corporation’s actions.   An example of this is Michael Kopper, who made millions from Enron Corp, but later pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution in a conspiracy and fraud case involving Enron and Merrill Lynch Co.

As is evidenced by the widespread success of Supersize Me, documentaries have the ability to draw the public attention to issues.  Documentaries are considered to be exposés. Those who watch documentaries are likely to believe that the content of these movies are based completely on factual information and are not in any way sensationalized.  The film Supersize Me focuses on Mcdonalds, but is really an attack on the entire fast food industry.  The documentary targets corporations who produce and sell fast food products.

The film deals with the corporate responsibility of Mcdonalds and other fast food corporations with regard to the health of their customers.  The film questions the marketing practices of Mcdonalds and the contribution of fast food products to the prevalence of obesity in America.

The documentary The Corporation, defines corporations as a legal entity that has the same legal personality as an individual.  The basis of this definition is a statement made by United States Supreme Court Justice Morrison R. Waite, who in 1886, wrote a ruling allowing corporations to have the same rights as persons under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The film evaluates a corporation using diagnostic symptoms for psychopathy from the DSM-V.  Using these standards, according to a psychologist, the corporation is considered to be a psychopath.

The unorthodox application of diagnostic symptoms to corporations allows viewers to evaluate corporations from a new perspective.  The documentary also contains interviews with famous personalities such as Noam Chomsky, and through these interviews, assesses past corporate actions to show the viewer that what really happened is morally reprehensible.

There are several ethical dilemmas in the film. Corporations are described to disregard the feelings of other people, and are incapable of maintaining human relationships.  In addition to this they are incapable of experiencing guilt and fail to conform to social norms.

Aside from corporations, major entities that employ people and impact the economy include the government, international organizations such as the United Nations and non-government organizations such as Unicef.  These organizations impact the economy by raising awareness of issues and thereby influencing policy change.

In exposing corporate practices to the public, activists and journalists help to ensure that businesses act in an ethical manner.  An example of this is the movie The China Syndrome in which Richard Adams (Michael Douglas) secretly films the control room of a nuclear power plant. However, they are prevented from airing the footage as their director is afraid of being criminally prosecuted.  Later in the film, one of the plant’s supervisors enlists the help of Adams and news anchor Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda).

An educated population can exacerbate or eradicate activism.  At times, an educated population can use skewed interpretations of certain issues in order to support their cause.  In other instances, an education can allow a person to be more open-minded, and therefore less susceptible to activism, as they may learn that their previous view was prejudiced.

Columbus University, as depicted in the movie Higher Learning, can be considered a microcosm of society.  The movie’s characters deal with a variety of political, social and racial dilemmas.  One character expects to be given special treatment because of his athletic ability, but his professor tells him that race and athletic ability have no bearing on academic evaluations.

Another character is raped, and in learning to cope, finds herself to have lesbian tendencies.  Still another character, who has trouble fitting in at the University, is recruited by a white supremacist group.  These experiences of these characters occur not only at college campuses, but in general society.  The political, social and racial issues facing students, do not necessarily cease to be irrelevant upon graduation, but affect the lives of many long after they leave college.

The government views some activists as terrorists as they resort to violent means in order to attract attention for their cause.  Some activists resort to widespread killing or destruction of government or private property in order to illustrate their views on an issue.   Since these actions are detrimental to innocent people, these activists are equated to terrorists.  In contrast, other activists are more peaceful in their protests.  They create websites, conduct peaceful rallies and publish materials that explain their views and generate public awareness.  Because these actions are not harmful to anyone, they cannot be considered to be terrorist activities.

In American History X, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton), is the second-in-command in a white supremacist group.  He recruits several young men in the community join the group and engage in anti-black activities, promising them protection from non-white gangs.  Derek’s role shows that leaders have the capacity to greatly influence the ethical behavior in a community. Together with other members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Derek damages a grocery store owned by a Korean man.  Leaders can influence others in their community to emulate their unethical beliefs and actions.

Similarly, in The Magnificent Seven, Chris Adams (Yul Brenner) leads his group of seven gunfighters.  At one point in the movie, the gunfighters want to leave.  However, Adams is able to convince them to stay.  Even after the gunfighters are captured and betrayed by the farmers they were protecting, Adams convinces them to attack the bandits. This shows the importance of leadership on the actions of the community.  Despite the fact that the gunfighters are reluctant to stay, their leader is able to convince them to do the right thing.

Two examples of leadership styles are autocratic and democratic leadership.  Under autocratic leadership, the leader determines what needs to be done, when and how it should it be done.  Under democratic leadership, the leader provides the group with guidance, but allows others members to contribute to the decision-making process.

In American History X, both the DOC and the Aryan Brotherhood are run through autocratic leadership.  The leaders of both groups dictate the group’s actions and targets.  Those who disagree are banned from the group and are penalized, as is shown by Derek’s rape.

In The Magnificent Seven, the gunfighters are more democratic.  Adams willingly listens to the opinions of the other gunfighters, and Harry, who disagrees with the group, is not coerced into stay nor is he penalized for deciding to leave.

The personal history of an individual greatly influences the kind of leader they choose to follow.  In American History X, Derek is greatly prejudiced by his father’s racist views.  When his father is murdered, his racism reaches a whole new level and he begins to blame racial minorities for the death of his father, and for the majority of crime.  Derek’s personal tragedies and history make him more vulnerable to Cameron Alexander, the leader of the DOC.  In the same manner, Danny is also induced into joining the DOC because of the same experiences and because of his brother’s arrest.

In The Magnificent Seven, Adams is approached by the village leaders because of he is a veteran gunslinger.   He was asked to lead the group because of his experience and reputation.

All businesses need highly specialized leaders and employees.  The nature of the business dictates the manner of required leader and employee.  For example, a service-oriented company would require leaders to have experience in human relations, and employees who are trained in customer relations.

In Touching the Void, Yates’ decision to cut the rope was not a reasonable one. Yates could not see Simpson, but he could feel all his weight on the rope, and was being slowly pulled down the mountain.   Based on the available information, a person can be expected to be able to make the best decision for all parties involved.  When Yates cut the rope, he did so in order to preserve his own life, without considering that of his injured partner.  Yates could have chosen to hang on for longer and hope that Simpson would be able to climb his way back up.

Despite the fact that a person has no goal of “being a better person,” there is still a possibility that the person will be ethical.  A person decisions are not always made based on their goals, but also based on the amount of empathy they have for others around them.  Despite the fact that a person may not have such a goal, he or she may still choose to make sound ethical decisions because they are sympathetic to others.

In evaluating whether a person is a “good employee” or “competent person” it often difficult to measure a person’s progress or define a certain standard for comparison.  This is because a person’s performance can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as the opportunity available and the person’s skill and ability.

The Smashing Machine, describe the quest of Michael Kerr, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion.  Throughout the movie Kerr competes in a variety of competitions.  The film briefly discusses how MMA competitions act as businesses in the sense that profit is the motivating factor behind the coordination of such fighting events.  Another profit-centered aspect of MMA which makes it similar to businesses is that competitors participate to win prize money and gain endorsement contracts.

The documentary describes how the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the United States faced difficulties with disapproving politicians and reluctant television channels.  Because of this, no holds bar fighting was banned by most major city.  Consequently, MMA suffered major loss of TV exposure.  In contrast, Pride Fighting Championships in Japan holds fights in massive stadiums averaging about 50,000 spectators per show.  The fights are also shown on national television.  Unlike businesses, UFC, Pride Fighting and other similar institutions capitalize on physical brutality.  In Japan, the fights are shown the public in their entirety and face little government regulation.  Businesses are often subjected to strict government requirements.

Despite the fact that there is little or no profit to be made, some occupations seem unbannable due to the amount of enjoyment gained by participants.  MMA is an example of this.  In the documentary, Kerr describes fighting as orgasmic and claims that there is no other high comparable to that of fighting.

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