Elon Musk Answers UN Challenge on Hunger Donation

Tesla founder questions whether $6B will solve the problem
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2021 5:55 PM CDT
Elon Musk Answers UN Challenge on Hunger Donation
Elon Musk, shown speaking earlier this month in Germany, set conditions for a donation to combat hunger.   (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

Challenged by a United Nations official to donate enough money to help solve world hunger, Elon Musk responded with a challenge of his own. David Beasley, director of the World Food Program, had called on Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others among the world's wealthiest people to make a one-time donation, per CNN. The total he mentioned in an interview last week was $6 billion—"$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." Musk answered Sunday in a tweet. "If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6 billion will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it."

Musk added an insistence on open source coding, "so the public sees precisely how the money is spent." No problem, Beasley tweeted. He shared an article with Musk about the threat of mass starvation driven by a combination of climate change, disasters, conflict, structural poverty and inequality, per CBS. "6B will not solve world hunger, but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation," Beasley wrote in another tweet.

Bloomberg's Billionaire Index listed Musk on top as of Monday, with a net worth of $311 billion, per CNN. The net worth of American billionaires has risen sharply during the pandemic, with one estimate showing it at more than $5 trillion now. As Musk and Beasley traded tweets, the official offered to get on a plane so the two could talk about the issue. "Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where money goes," Musk answered. The agency says people in 43 countries are "on the very edge of famine." Tesla, the company Musk founded, hit a valuation of $1 trillion last week. (More World hunger stories.)

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