Will eccentric billionaire Elon Musk meet the challenge?
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he would sell Tesla stock and donate the money if the United Nations could prove that a percentage of his wealth could save millions of lives globally from hunger.
Musk made the request Sunday responding to a tweet from noted researcher Dr. David Eli who said 2% of Musk’s wealth is worth $6 billion and said that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) raised $8.4 billion.
“How come it didn’t ‘solve world hunger?'” David quipped.
Musk tweeted that “If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”
The comments come after WFP Director David Beasley reportedly said on CNN last week and in a series of tweets that “the world needs to wake up.” Beasley said a “one-time” donation from the top 400 billionaires in the U.S. could help save the lives of 42 million people this year.
“The governments are tapped out. This is why and this is when … the billionaires need to step up now on a one-time basis, $6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them,” Beasley said. “It’s not complicated.”
Beasley singled out Musk and Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, the two richest people in the world, saying they could each individually help those in need with a small portion of their wealth.
Musk currently has a real-time net worth of nearly $309 billion, according to Forbes, with his wealth surpassing the $200 billion mark two months ago. Meanwhile, Bezos has a real-time net worth of about $193 billion, Forbes said.
When news spread and analysts estimated that Musk may have surpassed Bezos as the world’s richest person, he tweeted at Bezos a silver second-place medal emoji.
Meanwhile, Beasley is pleading for their help. He said if the world’s top 400 billionaires chipped in, all it would take to prevent famine is .36% of their total net worth increases as 43 nations globally are “knocking on” famine’s door.
“I’m not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year,” Beasley told CNN last Wednesday. “We have a one-time crisis: a perfect storm of conflict, climate change and COVID. It’s a one-time phenomenon. Just help me with them one time. That’s a $6 billion price tag.”
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Beasley added that “The world’s in trouble and you’re telling me you can’t give me .36% of your net worth increase to help the world in trouble, in times like this? What if it was your daughter starving to death? What if it was your family starving to death? Wake up, smell the coffee, and help.”
Musk seemed open to the idea, but tweeted on Sunday to Beasley and Eli that the UN’s process “must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.
“Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where (the) money goes,” Musk continued. “Sunlight is a wonderful thing.”
“Let’s do it @elonmusk we need to start investing in solutions not keep throwing money at the problem! @WFPChief and I with @WCKitchen and many others ready to do it….but first we need to give voice to the voiceless….” Andrés said.
Beasley tweeted at Musk in response that while $6 billion will not solve world hunger, “it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation.”
Beasley also tweeted to Musk that with his help, “we can bring hope, build stability and change the future.
“Let’s talk: It isn’t as complicated as Falcon Heavy, but too much at stake to not at least have a conversation,” Beasley said. “I can be on the next flight to you. Throw me out if you don’t like what you hear!”
On Monday, Beasley tweeted again for Musk’s assistance.
“Instead of tweets, allow me to show you. We can meet anywhere—Earth or space—but I suggest in the field where you can see (World Food Programme)’s people, processes and yes, technology, at work” Beasley said. “I will bring the plan, and open books.”