Homage to Gordon Gecko…



“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.” [my emphasis]

(Wall Street, 1987)


I guess that’s the thing about WordPress and my Microsoft plug-in: I never know what it’s going to look like before I publish a posting.


OK, Gordon Gecko probably never really thought about greed for knowledge without the economic underbelly. As the weekly discussions in 5033 return to this topic, something this evening struck a Gecko-ish bell in the back of my head. This quote from the movie, however, has stuck with me the past twenty-plus years (oh, my!) – or at least the “greed is good” part. Looking at this full extract – and a medal or mention of honor to anyone who recalls where Gordon Gecko gave this speech, would Gordo have fallen in line with Fritz Machlup?


While looking for some witty connection to Fritz Machlup (outside the Wikipedia entry), I did uncover something interesting – in California (go, prune pickers!). The Online Archive of California:

A core component of the California Digital Library, the Online Archive of California (OAC) is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California. The OAC is available to a broad spectrum of users -students, teachers, and researchers of all levels. Through the OAC, all have access to information previously available only to scholars who traveled to collection sites.

The OAC includes a single, searchable database of “finding aids” to primary sources and their digital facsimiles. Primary sources include letters, diaries, manuscripts, legal and financial records, photographs and other pictorial items, maps, architectural and engineering records, artwork, scientific logbooks, electronic records, sound recordings, oral histories artifacts and ephemera.

Describing primary sources in detail, finding aids are the guides and inventories to collections held in archives, museums, libraries and historical societies. Finding aids provide detailed descriptions of collections, their intellectual organization and, at varying levels of analysis, of individual items in the collections. Access to the finding aid is essential for understanding the true content of a collection and for determining whether it is likely to satisfy your research needs. (From the About page)


This interesting collection of collections (a meta-collection?) houses a nicely searchable reference for most (if not all) of the important archival sources in California. Machlup’s archive, for instance, is housed at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.


What would Machlup have made of Gordon Gecko’s interpretation of human knowledge evolution – at least from an incentive perspective? Just a late night musing…


One Response to “Homage to Gordon Gecko…”

  1. Wow Article , I thought it was grand

    I look ahead to more interesting postings like this one. Do you have a subscription I can subscribe to for new postings?

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