Developed by Jeremy Bentham and his disciple John Stuart Mill, utilitarianism sought to explain between good and evil and also right and wrong. In their explanation the good of the entire society was first so as to attain greatest happiness. This explained the ethical perspective of this theory where happiness is based on the actions of the individual (Shaw, 1999). In following their teachings society would always be at peace since the government would be in place to control the conflict of interest of the happiness of every individual.
In society the government must always stand for the greatest good for the greatest number of people; however in the U.S. there has been very clear instances where the government has resulted to protecting the interests of a few individuals. The rich in society has a major stake in the decisions made in government and they are made in such a way that they don’t harm their interests (Smart, & Williams, 1973). The society transformed to be capitalistic where individuals accumulate wealth leaving the gap between the haves and have-nots large. The society has turned to be individualistic, where man cares only for himself. The humanitarian movement believes in ethics, where individuals show sympathy and kindness and are impartial at all times (Minear, 2002).
Politics is a dirty game and the politicians are placed to protect certain interests of a few people. President Bush Jr. ordered invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, which has continued to be a major expense for the U.S. economy. This war was not to protect the benefits of the majority as it was to harm the economy and leave the country in deficits and debts. There are major corporations that benefited from this war in that they exploited the oil reserves in Iraq leaving the country millionaires. Ethically, this is not as utilitarianism would teach as it would recommend that the welfare and happiness of majority individual be covered. Even with the current call back of the army from Iraq and Afghanistan the economy has already suffered a lot from the expenses of the war leaving the middle and low income earners exposed to poverty (Kant, 2004).
The financial crisis of 2008, also acts as a past error that still haunts the country; in that financial institutions gave out mortgages without considerations of the securities. Ethically though it was a noble move the aftermath of the actions had not been weighed to know the consequences. The financial meltdown left many unable to pay their mortgages and hence they were left homeless, despite the fact that they had covered some payments to the banks. Bankrupt banks that collapsed made persons to lose their hard earned savings and would never access them again. The happiness of owning a home lasted for a small period of time as the crisis brought down to flames the dreams of owning a home to middle and low income earners. The major query is if the government protected the interests of the majority of the Americans would they have allowed such unethical and risky business from the banks? They stood and watched as financial institutions made money from the poor only to appear to save the institutions when others were already bankrupt (Payne, 2006).
The rough times have left the poor poorer and the rich richer, in that those in power accumulate wealth and resources leaving the poor with nothing (Wilson, & Brown, 2009). The society has transformed against the utilitarianism theory advocated for by Jeremy and Stuart Mill; that they practice man for himself but God for us all.
The government looks at the interest of the few who have wealth and forget the happiness of the poor who are majority. They have been left out economically, socially since they sometimes engage in crimes and drugs use to ease out their troubles. The rates of crime in suburbs have risen since they have no access to education which could transform them to be better people. This will never create an equal society where majority are happy since they live in abject poverty. The theory of utilitarianism and humanitarianism holds the key transform society in view of the fact that majority will be happy.