In 1987, Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko famously decreed, “Greed is good.” Written to be a modern day imagining of Milton’s Lucifer in Paradise Lost, Oliver Stone created Gekko to be a warning of what he saw as the newly burgeoning greed and evil consuming the trading floors of the Reagan years. It is perhaps the greatest irony that so many took Gekko’s words to heart; not as a dire prophecy of the direction American life was headed in, but as an inspirational quote to earn, earn and earn.
Yet, over 30 years later that line no longer really applies. In the 21st century greed is still ubiquitous, but now it is expected, a lifestyle. As seen in films like The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers, materialism has become heroic.