The 1980s has been called the me generation, the decade of materialism, and was responsible for the greatest number of mergers and takeovers in the history of the US market. People were transformed by the power of money, and tried to take advantage of the opportunities in the stock market. The stock market has never guaranteed a profit, but there were those willing to take the risk. People have lost millions from speculating on what was supposed to be a sure thing in the stock market. People would bet their childrens college fund, and their retirement money on a stock tip, only to find bankruptcy the next day. But the growing desire for power and money caused people to achieve success by any means necessary, regardless of the legality. Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken bet their money, but they always seemed to win, even when others would lose. It turns out that they had many sure things, only with one problem: they were all illegal. Boesky and Milken characterize the rest of the financial world at the time, and Wall Street is the movie that exemplifies the such attitudes of the 1980s from Oliver Stones accurate point of view.
Boesky and Milken had a great system. They would befriend executives in blue chip companies or merger and acquisition lawyers , hoping they would be given information regarding takeovers and mergers of companies before the common public. When Boesky and Milken received such information, they would strategically buy a massive amount shares in a particular company, and simply wait for the corporate announcement to drive the price of their stock up. In an effort to alleviate the Securities and Exchange Commission, Boesky and Milken spread their purchases over a period of time, and each was funded by different offshore and domestic banks to misrepresent the number of buyers. When a company would makes its corporate announcement about the merger, the public would then begin buying the shares, causing the price to skyrocket. Boesky and Milken had purchased the stock so long ago and at such a low price that their profit expectations were quickly met, so they wanted to sell everything they had at the same time everyone wanted to buy. Because they owned such a massive amount of stock, there was no liquidity in the market in the market as Boesky and Milken were willing to sell for much less than the market value, and their profits soon became the loss of the public. It is part of human nature to follow the trend of the hour, but these two knew the trend before it occurred and were able to profit, at least in the short term. Following the trend creates a chaotic cycle of winners and losers, where everyone gets a taste of both worlds sooner or later. In the case of the 1980s this cycle was shown when the stock market took a huge fall, the fourth largest in history, when everyone thought that equities were unsafe because of the corruption
Ivan Boesky started as an honest man with a reputable position in the market, but the process of building himself up one of the richest men Wall Street caused an inverse relationship between his bank account and the quality of his character. His earnings alone totaled 100 million dollars in 1986, and his net worth was more than double that. Such a sudden rise in wealth started to make many wonder how he did it.
Michael Milken was in charge of all junk bonds trading at the well known investment firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc. The junk bonds market(high risk, high yield bond) could have made any man rich if they played it perfectly, but such a feat is impossible because of the limitations of chaos in nature. Like Boesky, people started to wonder where his significant gains were coming from. Unfortunately, the Securities and Exchange Commission was among those questioning the sudden riches, and eventually they found the answer, charging Milken for, fraudulent conduct involving insider trading, stock manipulation, failure to disclose beneficial ownership of securities and numerous other violations. Milken believed there was not sufficient evidence to convict him, but was proved wrong,