Oliver Stone, Central Banking Apologist
By Staff News & Analysis - September 25, 2010

Warning!! Spoiler alert! I'll say it again, spoiler alert!! – Stone isn't even true to his own critical-of-casino-capitalism convictions. For the first 90 percent of the film, we get a bleak portrait of deep corruption. … the real star is money itself, spreading its tentacles "like a cancer," as Gekko says with a smirk. And yet at the end of the film, Gekko miraculously switches from knowing villain to do-gooding hero. Moreover, Gekko the Good gets help from a liberal website, thumping the tub for – what else? – green energy. So the movie ends with the main characters being rich and liberal … [But] Stone is right about one thing: Money, and its cancerous effect, never sleeps. – Fox News

Dominant Social Theme: Wall Street is a terrible place.

Free Market Analysis: This new Oliver Stone financial film, "Money Never Sleeps," (a follow to his big 1980's hit "Wall Street") is notable for what it leaves out. Even with immense pressure on the Federal Reserve from a variety of sources, Oliver Stone apparently fails to put recent central banking actions into proper perspective as regards the economic crisis. Free market view: Without the Fed and attendant, overwhelming distortive regulations, no financial problems.

Generally, we think this is realized by many today thanks in large part to the truth-telling of the Internet. The Fed (and central banking generally) is not in fact in good odor. Ben Bernanke was re-elected with the fewest votes in recent history. There is a powerful movement to subject the Fed to a thorough audit. Additional dominant social theme: "It is not the fault of powers-that-be but a market failure, one based on the greed of Wall Street tycoons."

Yet this is simply not true. What blame does not reside with the central bank, certainly must reside with various regulations and regulatory authorities. While regulations can never make things better, they can certainly make them worse. And US regulations generally, are beginning to resemble those of any other controlled, closed society at the end of its viable lifecycle.

The combination of Federal Reserve monetary stimulus over decades and the incredible amount of federal regulation in the United States has created a kind of Soviet-style, top-down economy. This is a direct result of power elite meddling in what was once a republic. Pre-Civil War these "united States" were relatively free of federal interference. But post Civil War, the federal government's oversight began to be felt.

The Teapot Dome and Tammany Hall scandals occurred almost right away. With states no longer able to leave the union, there was no effective check on the political class. Today, the damage that was done is such that words almost fail to describe it.

Unemployment in the United States is somewhere between 20 and 30 percent. The manufacturing sector of the US has been outsourced to a variety of other countries. The public sector alone numbers in the tens of millions and its benefits far exceed those of the private sector except for a handful of top executives.

Almost 40 percent of Americans are on foods stamps and other forms of welfare. The national debt reaches the moon (literally) and the federal government shows no signs of slowing down its endless torrent of regulations or the (non-existent) money appropriated for them.

The powers-that-be are quite aware of the frustration building in the country and the result has been an explosion of civilian and military policing and, under Homeland Security, the gradual erection of a quasi-police state. America now begins to resemble a genuine authoritarian environment. It is oppressive at home and brutal abroad.

The building blocks of such expansionary entities are generally threefold: a graduated income tax, a central bank and a military-industrial complex. In modern times, these are always the armaments of empire. The taxes pay interest on the debt and force the population to use the designated currency; the central bank prints money at will and the military-industrial complex spends it on wars of mischief and conquest.

Oliver Stone seemingly sees none of this. (No, we haven't seen the movie so feel free to correct us if we are wrong; but we've read the reviews and would be very surprised if his take is otherwise.) From his perspective, then, it is apparently the quasi-private elements of Wall Street that are to blame. How on earth, in this day and age of Internet truth-telling, does he reach the conclusion that only "private" forces are at fault for America's multiple collapses?

Always, Oliver Stone seems a propagandist and apologist. And somehow, he always manages to get the most controversial projects green-lighted, including one about 9/11, another about the Kennedy assassination and, of course, two Wall Street films, featuring private greed and marketplace corruption.

In between he composes left wing documentaries to burnish his "anti-establishment" credibility. But Stone can always be counted on to deliver; his movies present alternative points-of-view, just not credible ones.

One so successful and perspicacious as Oliver Stone must know generally where the truth lies. Would it be any news to him that the United States is over-extended from a monetary and military standpoint? Or that Fed money printing was the proximate cause of the economic crash. It should not be too hard to figure this out. The Internet is full of such analyses.

Yet the causes of the current crisis, according to Oliver Stone, are apparently deregulation and a "greed is good" mentality; the solution is sensible regulation and the recognition that the government can act as a logical arbiter. It is almost beyond belief that such a script could be written, peddled and produced in the current day and age.

It shows what we have observed before: the power elite is out of ideas and out of solutions. This sort of promotion might have worked in the 20th century but too many understand what is going on in the 21st. Thus, in our view, the promotion (the message inherent in the movie) may backfire (as so many others are) because it is transparent and obviously questionable.

After Thoughts

We read the movie has a quasi-happy ending, with the protagonist finding redemption in financing "green" global, energy solutions. This is perhaps the most predictable meme of all. The film likely begins with misdirection and ends in a fairy tale.