How has Bill Gates shown utilitarianism in business?

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As the developer of such products as Microsoft Windows, Bill Gates has contributed much to the forces that have changed society over the last four decades. Few technologies have been as transformative, meeting the needs of more people, than those marketed by Microsoft. In this sense, the career of Bill...

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As the developer of such products as Microsoft Windows, Bill Gates has contributed much to the forces that have changed society over the last four decades. Few technologies have been as transformative, meeting the needs of more people, than those marketed by Microsoft. In this sense, the career of Bill Gates would be in line with the principles of utilitarianism, at least for those who accept that the profit motive and the desire to do the greatest amount of good are not mutually exclusive. It is in the philanthropic work that Gates has done, however, that we see a profoundly utilitarian approach, at least in philosophy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has sought to use the resources and global exposure Gates can provide to attack very large problems—disease in Africa, education reform in the United States, and sustainable farming practices. While some of these measures, especially his influence on education, have met with some controversy, there is no arguing that he has chosen to use his enormous wealth to attempt to do good for the most possible people. In this sense, his philanthropic work is utilitarian in nature.

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Bill Gates's products use a great definition of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism, as described by Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill, can be defined as seeking the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Gates's Windows operating systems have been around for over twenty years and they continue to be some of the most common computer operating systems in the world. Microsoft has branched into the gaming world as well, but it mainly is rooted in computers for business and personal use. By creating this system, Gates has allowed millions of workers to be trained in the use of a single operating system that is user-friendly and nearly universal. Computer programmers design specific programs that will be compatible with the operating system, thus creating more jobs for more people. Gates, as a result of this, has become quite rich. In the process of helping other people understand and use technology, Gates has expanded his own wealth.

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