IsBill Gates a Modern Day Hero?
Hehas been christened one of the most influential figures in thecontemporary human society, a feat that does not seem to be much of ahassle given his ranking as the richest man on the planet. In spiteof being well recognized in the world of technology, he has alsoearned a name for himself as a philanthropist, as well as thefinancier of numerous vaccines’ studies and development. Fewindividuals have managed to fit the description of business magnates,computer programmers, inventors, investors and philanthropists, butWilliam Henry Gates has become all that. Originally, Bill Gatescreated his reputation and popularity as the co-founder of Microsoft.In the course of his career in the company, he managed to take upnumerous positions and carved a name for himself as a reputableentrepreneur in the personal computer revolution. As much as he leftthe company some time ago and chose to concentrate on his foundation,Bill and Melinda Foundation, his influence continues being felt notonly in the computer world but also across other fields including theworld of vaccination. However, questions have been asked on whetherGates fits the bill as a modern day hero. It may be acknowledged thatheroes come in numerous sizes and shapes but they share a commonthread they always commit themselves to influencing and enhancingthe quality of lives of the people around them. While there may bevarying opinions, it is evident that Gates is a hero considering hisefforts to change the capacity of the globe to harness and access thepower of technology.
Ofcourse, it is imperative that one acknowledges that Bill Gates hassome inadequacies that threaten his nature as a modern day hero.First, as much as Gates has managed to steer the Microsoft companyfrom the ground to the top of technology world, it may beacknowledged that he has done that using some unfair businesspractices (Lesinski48b). Indeed, the company has been christened “Velvet Sweatshop”as a result of accusations of overworking its employees causingburnout within a few years of working in the company. In a 1992lawsuit, the company was accused by more than eight thousand formerand current employees of flouting labor laws and keeping a largeproportion of its employees as temporary workers or casual employees(Lesinski49b). After being defeated in the lawsuit and several appealreversals, it chose to settle the suit for a total of US $93 million.It is noted that after the lawsuit, the company resorted topreventing contract employees from taking part in team morale eventsor other activities that may cause them to be seen as “employees”(Sherman59). Essentially, the growth of the company that would have propelledGates to the position of a hero I built on the devastation of otherpeople’s lives.
Inaddition, there have been concerns regarding the quality and effectsof the vaccines that Bill Gates Foundation has been financing. It maybe noted that Bill Gates effort to eliminate polio by financingvaccination of children was a particularly noble gesture. However, itis imperative that he takes responsibility for the devastatingeffects that the polio program has had on the health of the samechildren that it was supposed to protect. Indeed, the vaccination mayhave caused additional 47500 new instances of Non Polio Acute FlaccidParalysis, an ailment that was twice as fatal as the polio (Lesinski56a). The incidence of the ailment was directly proportional to thenumber of doses of the oral polio vaccination (OPV) administered. Itis also questionable why the OPV would be administered to Indianchildren yet the CDC had dropped it from the vaccine schedule in theUnited States as the agency determined that it was causing polio(Lesinski55a). As a knowledgeable individual that has immense informationresources at his disposal, it beats logic that he would allow andeven finance such a vaccine to be used. The devastating effects arethat the polio vaccine campaign in India resulted in 47,500 cases ofdeath and paralysis in 2011 alone.
Nevertheless,these episodes do not cloud the stature of Gates as a prettyremarkable individual and a hero. Statistics have shown that hisresearch and global health initiatives have allowed for the saving ofover six million lives. Researchers have acknowledged that since theestablishment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 1994, thecouple has given away approximately 35 percent of its net worth (or$30.2 billion), a large proportion of which has gone to global healthinitiatives (Lewis 6). Even more intriguing is the fact that thecouple would be giving away 95 per cent of their vast wealth by thetime they die, which is no mean feat for an individual who has earnedevery penny of the money that he has. This cements the fact that heacknowledges that the real value of money, wealth and living rests innot only safeguarding the happiness of oneself but that of others.
Inaddition, Bill Gates has sought to save the supply of water andsaving the world through the conversion of human excrement intodrinking water. Gates has been supporting the development of a newform of low-cost sewage treatment plant that is suitable forutilization in developing countries (Lewis 1). This processor worksthrough heating the excrement so as to produce or expel water vapor,which would then be taken via a purification system that creates safedrinking water. Meanwhile, the remaining solids would be utilized asfuel in the generation of electricity. It may be acknowledged thatthis technology particularly targets populations in underdevelopedand developing countries where access to clean and safe drinkingwater may be a bit problematic (Lewis 2). This creates a picture ofan individual who sacrifices for the welfare of the less fortunate,in which case he fits the perfect profile of a modern day hero.
Further,one would examine the main venture that brought Bill Gates all thefortune and gave him the capacity to change the world Microsoft.Bill Gates managed to establish the business from scratch anddedicated his talents and intelligence on computers to good use. Inessence, he managed to operate one of the most mission-drivenbusiness entities in the contemporary human society with the solemission of putting a computer in every home and every desktop.Essentially, Microsoft, under Bill Gates, carved a reputation foritself as a company that was supposed to make concrete modificationsin the globe for the better, thereby making its founder one of thegreatest visionaries that ever graced the contemporary human society.It may also be acknowledged that his knowledge and intelligenceinspired an era of home computing. In the 60s, Gates and his friendAllen leant some fundamental programming language called BASIC whilestill in Lakeside School Seattle. The popularity of BASIC emanatedfrom the fact that it was considerably easy for beginners to utilizebut incorporated functionality that advanced coders could stretch andcustomize. As much as BASIC had been designed in 1963, it was onlywhen Allen and Gates come up with a version for Altair 8800 that itstarted moving, with the two selling the code to MITS for $3000(Gateset al 45). The programming language triggered the home computing bookthat continues to this day. In this regard, it would be safe toinsinuate that Bill Gates was the pioneer for home computing, withhis subsequent inventions of operating systems being incorporated inalmost every other computer across the globe (Gateset al 49). Indeed, research has indicated that the numerous versionsof Windows may be found on more than 90 per cent of the computersacross the globe. The Operating system also powers other gadgets suchas retail displays, cash machines, set-top boxes, mobile phones, PDAsand business servers, marking its niche and status as a game changerin the world of technology (Becraft67). The fact that the products incorporate relative ease of usagehas made it easy for a large number of individuals and entities toenhance service provision in the modern world. Essentially, it wouldbe safe to state that Bill Gates is a modern day hero as hisinventions have made life better for all people across the globe.
Inconclusion, it is often difficult for individuals in the contemporarymodern society to come up with or identify a person that fits thecharacteristics of a hero. Of course, the term hero often invokesimages of individuals with guns saving people from danger rather thanbillionaire software moguls. However, Bill Gates seems to fit theprofile of a modern day hero given his dedication to make the livesof other people better and enhance the quality of lives. Bill gatesis popular for his work as a software programmer in Microsoft, acompany that he co-founded and went ahead to become the chiefsoftware architect and CEO, and chairman before he exited and choseto concentrate largely on his foundation. It may be acknowledged thatthe work that he accomplished at Microsoft made a fundamental changeor modification to the lives of the modern society, with hisinventions being incorporated in almost every computer and gadget inthe modern society. Essentially, it may be safe to underline the factthat his inventions have enhanced the convenience and efficacy ofcommunicating in the modern society. In addition, his wealth has beenused in the elimination of ailments through research and developmentof medication and vaccines. Indeed, it has been acknowledged that atotal of $30 billion of his wealth has been dedicated to modernhealth initiatives, which is approximately 37 percent of his entirewealth. This means that he has found the true meaning of living andwealth, which is to enhance the quality of life of the people thatsurround an individual. It is evident that his wealth is aimed atsolving real world problems for all people, a trait that makes him amodern day hero.
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Gates,Bill, Nathan Myhrvold, and Peter Rinearson. TheRoad Ahead.New York: Viking, 1995. Print.
Lesinski,Jeanne M. BillGates.Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co, 2006. Print.
Lesinski,Jeanne M. BillGates: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2009. Print.
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Sherman,Josepha. BillGates: Computer King.Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press, 2000. Print.