Elitism and Institutional Power

The elitist theory is a political science premise based on the idea that all political power is held by the elite few with members consisting of individuals from old family wealth and large economic institutions (Dye, 2002). In United States, the consensus may agree that power is held by a select few. Money influences almost every sector of American life and politics in no different.

Those with money are more likely to gain influential power that can sway political ideas. This country is a catalog of moguls and tycoons that have influenced American politics to agree with their agenda. The elitist theory defines these relationships between those who influence and the political process as a way to keep the elites’ interests intact and forefront. The story of the cofounder of Microsoft has several aspects that consent to the elitist theory and some that do not endorse the theory. Power Origin

William H. Gates, better known as Bill Gates, is an American businessman, technology developer, author, and philanthropist that has obtained his elite status through self-made wealth, which has allowed immediate access to policymakers and other elite figures in the world. In 1975, he cofounded Microsoft Corporation, the computer technology and software developing company that has allowed the mainstream application of computers for personal and business use. Microsoft is a multinational company with a netted revenue over $50 billion for the fiscal year ending July 2007 and nearly eighty thousand employees worldwide (Microsoft Corporation, 2007).

The company’s success has propelled Gates to be ranked one of world’s richest men, third in order as of 2008 and given him an elite corporate status (Forbes.com LLC, 2008). Gates presently holds the position of Chairman, but held the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Software Architect positions until 2007 when he began transitioning out of the company’s day-to-day operations. He presently concentrates his time toward philanthropy and campaign work to raise awareness for education and healthcare both on a national and global level (Microsoft Corporation, 2007). Status Strategy

Bill Gates maintains his status and influence as an elite figure through networking with other elites and direct political participation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation founded by Bill Gates in 1994 works globally on poverty, hunger, and healthcare issues and nationally on education and poverty issues (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2008). His philanthropy encouraged another elite figure, Warren Buffet, to bestow 10 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock that will accumulate to over $3 billion over the donation’s lifetime (Loomis, 2006).

Gates also regularly gives speeches to the government, business, and nonprofit sectors to encourage education reform that will enable the United States to stay an economic force worldwide (Microsoft Corporation, 2007). He draws on his elitist status to attract for his humanity concerns and advance this movement. Public Policy

In 2006, The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center named Bill Gates the most influential person on education policy over the last decade in a research study examining the factors manipulating the policy in the United States (Editorial Projects in Education, 2006). Gates provides testimony to federal government committees on the importance of education reform to promote capitalism and economic primacy in the United States (Microsoft Corporation, 2007).

This may seem ironic in comparison to his much criticized and court challenged business practices regarding Microsoft. Nevertheless, Gates has crusades the government to put an emphasis on science and technology education and providing lower classes the resources to education in the United States through his depositions and written work. Last year, Gates created an education advocacy group along with Eli Broad at a cost of $60 million to persuade presidential candidates and the public that education is at the forefront of the debate (Herszenhorn, 2007). Social Mobility

Gates life story provides an appropriate example of social mobility. He was born into an upper-middle class family with his father’s profession being a lawyer and his mother’s occupation in education. Although his family provided better educational and wealth resources than most Americans, he was by no means born into a position of power or elitist standing.

As a child, he excelled in math and computer programming. Gates acquired his elitist status through establishing and extending the world’s most well known software company, Microsoft. Without this notable achievement, he would not have his power to influence education policy within the federal government and the business sector of the United States. (Microsoft Corporation, 2007) Elitist Theory

Gates’ business ventures in the software industry support the elitist theory to a certain point. Microsoft’s business endeavors and practices have led to various lawsuits in the last decade implicating that the company is a monopoly. This absolutely indicates collaboration on the elitist theory. In opposition, Gates employs his wealth and power stature toward his philanthropy and advocacy efforts strengthens the pluralist view. The evidence is his establishment of groups and foundations to work toward his goals for education and healthcare. Broad Public Interest

Taken as a whole, Bill Gates’ company and present work of charitable causes has positively affected broad public interest. Microsoft provided the technology that allows the computer to be a basic tool in today’s business office and a commonplace fixture in the American home. Gates’ advocacy for education and healthcare are unquestionably leading for better futures for citizens here in the United States and across the globe. References

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (2008). Foundation Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 6, 2008, from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/FactSheet/ Dye, T. R. (2002). Who’s Running America? The Bush Restoration (7th Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Editorial Projects in Education. (2006, December 13). Influence:

A Study of the Factors Shaping Education Policy. Retrieved April 6, 2008, from Editorial Projects in Education website: http://www.edweek.org/rc/articles/2006/12/13/influentials.html Forbes.com LLC. (2008, March 5). The World's Billionaires. Retrieved April 6, 2008, from Forbes.com website: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_William-Gates-III_BH69.html Herszenhorn, D. M. (2007, April 25). Billionaires Start $60 Million Schools