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attitudesAmerican Attitudes Toward Business

The Media. Americans live as well as they do because people take risks and start businesses, and for no other reason. All America’s wealth began at some point as a result of entrepreneurial activity. Yet, now that the United States is not as young a country as it used to be, many people not in business have lost touch with America’s entrepreneurial roots. In popular culture, and especially in movies and television, greedy businesspeople are made into villains. A perfect example was the popular American film Wall Street, which portrays unscrupulous, money-hungry financiers. Another is the classic American family film It’s a Wonderful Life, in which the villain, Mr. Potter, is a heartless banker who only cares about money. Other movies and television dramas show conflicts between sympathetic everyday Americans and greedy businessmen or property developers who want to take away their homes or farms. The people who write and promote these dramas rarely consider that someone had to take a considerable risk to create the businesses that pay their salaries, or to build the very homes in which they live.

Real Life. Of course, in real life, each business is different. Each business has an individual culture and identity just like a person; businesses are run by people, after all. Many businesses operate in harmony with their communities, with the environment, even with the government.

While Hollywood may continue to churn out unrealistic portraits of businesspeople, America has entered an age in which the individual entrepreneur is highly regarded, even considered a hero. As large companies sink, small, flexible businesses survive and prosper. In many cases, immigrants are key players. Even in times of economic difficulty and recession, determined entrepreneurs succeed in America. Despite the dramas they watch, Americans want them to succeed.

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