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Margin Call Essay

“Margin Call” is the movie uncovering the life of the Wall Street and giving insight into the contemporary business environment, which often raises a number of ethical issues. At the same time, the movie reveals the essence of the contemporary profit-driven, consumerist culture and the impact of the pursuit of wealth on the social life. In fact, the movie shows the ethically questionable behavior of top executives, who hided the presence of toxic assets to preserve the marketing position of their company and to maximize its profits. In such a way, the movie reveals the consumerist nature of the contemporary society since consumerism plays the dominant part in decisions taken by individuals and policy makers. Therefore, the movie depicts the contemporary society and the contemporary culture as consumerist and profit-driven ones.

In fact, the film depicts the story of a large corporations and the story line focuses attention of the audience on the behavior, actions and motives of top executives of the company. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the movie shows top executives, who conduct complex schemes to hide from the public that the company owns toxic assets. This fact is uncovered by a newcomer, who turns out to be an outsider within the company, who is eventually seduced by the prospect of the further promotion, while top executives try to do their best to settle the case.

In this regard, the behavior of top executives can be viewed from different theoretical perspectives. For instance, their behavior may be viewed from the utilitarian perspective since they attempt to focus on the common good of the company and hide the truth from the public because the revelation of the fact that the company owns the toxic assets could affect drastically the marketing position of the company. The publication of such information would provoke the great scandal, which would likely lead to the ruin of the company. Therefore, top executives could justify their behavior by the intention to preserve the company from bankruptcy.

On the other hand, the actions of top executives of the company could be viewed from the social conflict perspective. In such a context, the movie reveals the contradiction between the contemporary consumerist culture and its profit-driven philosophy, on the one hand, and the social justice, on the other. To put it more precisely, the contemporary culture is vulnerable to the impact of consumerism that forces individuals to ignore everything but their profit and well-being. In this regard, top executives act accordingly to such consumerist philosophy. On the other hand, the top executives ignore interests of the society since toxic assets of the company are dangerous for the entire society and the case cannot be settled down for the sake of profit of the rich. However, the film shows that the case has been eventually settled that reveals the fact that the social justice is still unachievable and the rich still maintain the dominant position in the society and can take decisions that determine the life of the entire society.

Thus, the movie “Margin Call” reveals the contemporary consumerist culture and its destructive impact on the life of the society. In fact, the movie uncovers schemes of top executives that are profit-driven and concerned only with their wealth, while social interests are of little, if any, importance.



Chandor, J.C. (2011). Margin Call. Lionsgate Roadside Attractions.

Eagleton, T. (2000). The Idea of Culture.  New York: Willey-Blackwell.

Lusing, N.W. and J. Koester. (2006). Intercultural Competence. New York: Random House.