The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street
Based on a true story that took place during the early 1990’s Wolf of Wall Street is about Jordan Belfort’s story. Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, partnered with a close group of friends and formed their own brokerage firm Stratford-Oakmont. Their company grew at an extreme rate going from a few close friends and expanding into a large major firm on Wall Street. As the company grows larger and more influential, Belfort and gang’s partying becomes larger and more lavish. They all become very lost the lifestyle of drug abuse and alcohol. As the company grows and the partying along with it so does the attention generated from outside sources. With all eyes on Belfort’s quick rise to riches he is featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine where he earned the title “The Wolf of Wall street”. The FBI takes interest when Belfort secured the IPO of Steve Madden, Ltd making millions in just three hours. In order to hide the money he had made illegally Belfort opens a Swiss bank account. Saurel, one of Belfort’s employees was arrested in Florida two years later and tells the FBI everything ultimately leading to his collapse. Belfort agrees to wear a wire and collect information on his colleagues in exchange for leniency from the courts. While wearing the wire he slips Donnie a letter the next day warning him not to incriminate himself. When the FBI found out Belfort was then arrested and sent to prison for breaching his cooperation agreement. It is clear that Belfort had made a few unethical decisions throughout this event in his life. John Mills, an advocate of the utilitarianism theory, says that happiness and pleasure are the only things of natural value and people should seek these feelings since it is something all are capable of obtaining. In order to better understand utilitarianism and its application here we should look at the effect on the clients. Jordan Belfort and company and obligations to their clients, they were to advise them on smart investments. However they did not, they advised them to invest in stocks that the company had already accumulated causing the price of that stock to rise. Once the price was high enough Jordan would sell the stocks and make money off of them, this would cause the clients to lose all they invested. These actions go against Mill’s theory of utilitarianism and in turn are unethical. The employees of Stratton Oakmont, another good example of utilitarianism’s application, did benefit from the illegal activities of the company. In the end this happiness that came from the companies wrong doings were out of a job and some facing criminal charges when the company was shut down. The final example would be Belfort and his partners who lived a lavish life from the illegitimate millions they were making were certainly happy for a short time. However most are now either in prison or paying back the millions they scheming people out of. So as you can see their actions were unethical in terms of mill’s theory of utilitarianism. The actions of these men lead to the unhappiness of their clients and in the end the men themselves were not happy while serving time, paying back money or looking for a new job. Another theory that pertains to this movie that was covered in the text was developed by Immanuel Kant which is a deontological moral theory states that , the rightness or wrongness of an act does not determined by their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty. What Belfort did goes completely against this theory, instead of looking out for the best interest of the clients of his company and helping guide them to invest their money in a financially responsible way. Instead Belfort deceived these people into investing in stocks that he would benefit from. By doing this he was not fulfilling his duties was a stock broker and was unethical. Belfort could have helped people invest their money into...
References: The Wolf of Wall Street [Motion picture on DVD]. (2013). USA: Paramount Pictures.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.imdb.com
Rosenstand, N. (2000). The moral of the story: An introduction to ethics (3rd ed.). Mountain View, Calif.: Mayfield.
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