In these days of red states and blue states, polarizing cable news networks, and increasingly vitriolic rhetoric from both sides, I want to make a case that one of the problems that needs to be confronted is the demonizing of business in popular culture.
Words like “profit” rarely have a positive connotation. “Big Business” is a political tagline that liberals use to illustrate points, and never a phrase you’ll hear defended. The assumption is that being “big” makes a business crooked. There can’t be millions or billions of dollars of profit without somebody being greedy or oppressive.
To illustrate my point: name one benevolent businessman (who was still a businessman at the end of the film) in a movie. Now, name 5 crooked businessmen in films. Or, just go and search “Businessman” at IMDB.com. Better yet, I’ll save you some time. Here’s the top 8 “partial matches” to accompany the word “businessman” at IMDB:
So it looks like your options in film are either to be an evil businessman or to be an Asian businessman. And you might even still be evil if you’re Asian.
I just finished a fascinating little book (via the Kindle app for my phone/computer) by Wayne Grudem called Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business. I cannot more highly recommend it. It walks through the biblical underpinnings of business (without ignoring the potential in each category for corruption and sin). It’s a quick read, but well worth your time. In it, Dr. Grudem makes a compelling, concise case for not just moral neutrality when it comes to business, but the inherent moral goodness of business.
What do you think? Is it possible to be a businessman or businesswoman who is morally upright?