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The figure of the "entrepreneur" as. an American hero is a popular one. The entrepreneur is defined as one who assumes the responsibility and the risk for a business operation with the expectation of making a profit. The entrepreneur generally decides on the product, acquires the facilities, and brings together the labor force, capital, and production materials. If the business succeeds, the entrepreneur reaps the reward of profits; if it fails, he or she takes the loss.

They are generally romanticized as individuals who build something from nothing, and it is generally believed that this is the way America was built and became a great nation. They are related to similar heroes-explorers who opened up the West and settled these open lands. They are considered rugged individualists whose wealth and success is entirely "self-made." The popular novels of Horatio Alger in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had as a central theme the poor city boy or poor country boy becoming wealthy as a result of his honest hard work and self-reliance. Behind this mythology is the common understanding that United States is a land of equal opportunity and everyone has an equal chance to succeed.

In Alger's first published novel, Ragged Dick, a poor city boy who shines shoes for a living becomes Richard Hunter, a successful and wealthy businessman. He goes "from rags to riches" and fulfills the American Dream. According to Alger, Dick "knew that he had only himself to depend on, and he determined to make the most of himself... which is the secret of success nine cases out often." People rarely read Horatio Alger these days, but this concept of individualism is still very much a part of the American psyche.

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1056

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