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Jennifer Lawrence’s New Movie Is Misleading The Public About The ‘Evil’ Free Market

I saw the new movie Joy this past weekend.  Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the main character “Joy”, was beautiful, and close-ups of her face were featured endlessly throughout the film.  
However, I’m concerned that this film scandalizes our youngsters -– today’s dominant moviegoers -– by depicting business as uniformly evil, conspiring, deceitful, etc.
The main character Joy’s father, played by Robert Dinero, is portrayed as a psychopathic, abusive, unsuccessful, small-business owner.  Like his business dealings, his family-life is a wreck and he’s a real jerk. 
The businessmen and women that Joy must deal with in pursuit of her business objectives are consistently corrupt, unscrupulous, dishonest, controlling and manipulative. However, Bradley Cooper’s QVC executive was a refreshing exception. 
Having spent fifty-five years in the business and investment world, I can assure you that the vast majority of successful business enterprises prosper by focusing on meeting the needs, wants and expectations of the public at large – versus the profit-first predators depicted in this flick, who were out to line their pockets at any cost – including the destruction of people’s lives.  
My first employer after I graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in electrical engineering — during my indoctrination/orientation period – emphasized that the company’s success was predicated on its ability to meet the needs, wants, and expectations of the public. Simply meeting needs is never enough – creating and satisfying wants is the most important thing that matters in achieving business success (according to Parade Magazine publisher and salesman extraordinaire Arthur “Red” Motley.)  Incidentally, my blue-chip employer has gone on to achieve industry leadership and financial excellence to the present day.
Youngsters need to understand that business is not an evil endeavor.  Depicting it as such is scandalous.  The vast majority of businesses meet the needs, wants and expectation of the public they serve.  They do good, not evil!  Why is Hollywood so obsessed with smearing everything associated with business?  Frankly, the competitive, free-market system is one of mankind’s greatest discoveries – a gift that keeps giving – The American Prosperity Machine*. 
Joy misrepresents the real Joy Mangano’s education history -– claiming that she abandoned her plans to attend college; when in fact she graduated from Pace University with a  degree in business administration. The truth is: Mangano’s college education played a key role in preparing the real Joy for business success.  Another thing kids need to understand, and which this movie might slight, is that a proper education is important for their future success.

The story related in Joy might be entertaining, even inspiring – but nobody should take their impressions of the true nature of business from this movie.
*The American Prosperity Machine:   Traditional Judeo/Christian principles and values . . . the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness,  private property, and limited government . . . freedom of speech, action, religion and family governance . . .  an educated and informed society . . . freedom from gender and racial discrimination . . . affordable healthcare . . . the rule of Constitutional Law . . . the peaceful settlement of disputes . . . honest elections and presidential leadership . . . patriotic, truthful, checked & balanced, limited government  . . .  a strong military . . . cost-effective national defense . . . secure borders . . . the right of citizens to own and bear arms . . . free, competitive markets and institutions . . . properly-regulated, free-enterprise . . . balanced trade . . . private property rights . . . low cost, domestically supplied energy and natural resources . . . controlled immigration . . . individual responsibility and ingenuity . . . entrepreneurialism . . . a strong work ethic . . . full employment . . . fair pay . . . appropriate safety nets . . . low taxes . . . a strong, reliable currency . . . financial availability, mobility, and responsibility (balanced budget, minimal debt) . . . Competitive, Free-Market, Free-Enterprise, Constitutionally Limited Government  . . . and American Exceptionalism.    

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William Pauwels

William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.

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