“Greed is right. Greed works. Greed, in all its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.”

It is one of the most famous movie soliloquies of the 1980s. Corporate raider Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in the film “Wall Street” summed up an era with three little words: Greed is good.

The sequel currently is playing in Detroit. General Motors is the hapless Teldar Paper, bleeding red ink and under fire from shareholders. Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who owns 9.9% of GM shares, is cast as Gekko.

But Kerkorian’s latest maneuver, intended or not, has the potential to do something that Gekko never dreamed: add real value.

Cynics think Kerkorian invited Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn to form an alliance with GM simply to force out current GM CEO Rick Wagoner.

That may be true. But now the idea has gone public, Ghosn has said he does not want to run GM, and he and Wagoner have agreed to analyze a 3-way tie-up. Kerkorian, Ghosn and Wagoner are stuck.

Now they have to come up with some really good ideas.

Some analysts think this Kerkorian brainstorm just may be allowed to fade away, but if that happens, Wagoner will look recalcitrant, Kerkorian will be embarrassed and Ghosn will look like a pawn.

Given the size of the egos involved, that’s unlikely.

Instead, in keeping with Ghosn’s style, a series of specific initiatives and deadlines probably will be announced.

GM and Nissan might agree to a production operation similar to New United Motor Mfg. Corp., the joint venture plant GM has been successfully running with Toyota for 20 years. Or there might be collaboration with Renault on diesel technology.

They will be achievable goals. Attention has been focused on its failures, but GM has dozens of highly successful alliances with other auto makers.

Besides NUMMI, it also is collaborating with BMW and DaimlerChrysler on a dramatically new hybrid-electric propulsion system. Additionally, GM also has successfully partnered with Ford and Chrysler to develop and manufacture transmissions.

Any eventual plans Ghosn and Wagoner might announce may not spur double-digit spikes in GM’s stock price, but they undoubtedly will be good for General Motors. And what’s good for GM is good for Kirk Kerkorian and vice versa. Now there’s a vision.

dwinter@wardsauto.com