You either love him or hate him, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. But what if Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, ended world hunger with the wave of his hand? His multi-billions-of-dollars have been heavily criticized. Now the Tesla boss is making a proposal of sorts.
The head of the United Nation’s World Food Programme announced that if the top billionaires could only donate a tiny portion of their largess, death by hunger would be eliminated. Musk was listening. Now, he says that if the UN can show how the money will be spent and why then he’ll sell some of his Tesla shares to contribute.
The UN says Elon Musk to save 42 million starving people
David Beasley, director of the UN, says that 42 million people could be saved with a one-time donation. “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?” he said. “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’s Twitter reply, “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.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that.
With a net worth of $151 billion, according to Forbes, a $6 billion contribution would be about two percent of Musk’s net worth. Musk continued the thread, “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.”
Elon Musk wants to know why the $8.4 billion raised in 2020 didn’t stop hunger
The question raised by some, including Musk, is why the $8.4 billion donated to the UN in 2020 didn’t stop world hunger. How will $6 billion do it now? “The $8.4 B you refer to covers what we need to reach 115 million people in 2020 with food assistance,” Beasley says. “We need $6B plus NOW on top of our existing funding requirements due to the perfect storm from the compounding impact of Covid, conflict, and climate shocks.”
That “perfect storm” added COVID to the existing conflict, climate change, disasters, structural poverty, and inequality, as spelled out by CBS News. “$6B will not solve world hunger, but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration, and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation. An unprecedented crisis and a perfect storm due to Covid/conflict/climate crises,” Beasley tweeted.
“Let’s talk-it isn’t as complicated as Falcon Heavy, but too much at stake to not at least have a conversation. I can be on the next flight to you. Throw me out if you don’t like what you hear,” Beasley wrote. Musk replied, “Please publish your current and proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where the money goes. Sunlight is a wonderful thing.”
43 countries are “on the very edge of famine and risk starvation.”
The UN has an emergency food assistance plan that works in 43 countries. These include Zimbabwe, Yemen, Venezuela, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Honduras, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central and African Republic, and Afghanistan. It describes these countries as “on the very edge of famine and risk starvation.”
Famine is declared once malnutrition multiplies to the extent that dying and starvation begin. The UN food program built up a food assistance network in Yemen in 2015 that saved a million people and saved an additional 1.5 million in 2019.
Both the UN and Musk tend to make things happen. Let’s hope their magic comes together to end starvation. And also here’s hoping that other billionaires can support large donations to increase the good the UN can do.