Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has retorted to a UN official’s assertion that a one-time $6 billion payment will help end world hunger, claiming he’ll donate the money if the UN publishes their detailed spending plan.
Last week, World Food Programme (WFP) head David Beasley claimed that a “one-time” donation from the top 400 billionaires in the United States, whose net worths are constantly increasing, might help save the lives of 42 million people this year.
“The world’s in trouble and you’re telling me you can’t give me 0.36% 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.”
“$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated,” Beasley added, addressing the world’s two wealthiest individuals, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
The Tesla CEO reacted to claims by David Beasley, the UN’s World Food Programme head, who said that a donation of just 2% of Musk’s $311 billion fortune would help end world hunger and save 42 million lives.
According to Forbes, Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has a net worth of $151 billion. He responded to a tweet that questioned the company’s data, reported CBS news.
“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,” Musk wrote. “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.”
Beasley stated that the firm has transparency and open source accounting mechanisms in place. He said, “Your team can review and work with us to be totally confident of such.”
According to Beasley, many countries are “knocking on famine’s door” due to the combined consequences of climate change, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other challenges.
Beasley also responded to questions about the group’s existing spending, including $8.4 billion in 2020. “The $8.4B you refer to covers what we needed to reach 115 million people in 2020 with food assistance,” he said. “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.”
“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 said in another tweet.
He also stated that the organization could provide hope, develop stability, and transform the future with Musk’s aid.
“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!” he wrote.
Celebrity chef José Andrés also tweeted at Musk to please step up.
“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.
To which Musk replied: “Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where the money goes. Sunlight is a wonderful thing.”
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.”
According to the WFP, famine is proclaimed when malnutrition is widespread, and people are dying of starvation due to a lack of sufficient, nutritious food.
Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe are among 43 nations where people are “on the verge of hunger.”
Throughout the pandemic, calls for greater attention on tackling wealth disparity intensified as global stocks rose, benefiting primarily the wealthy who already own vast amounts of equities, reported NY Post.
Recent advancements in the so-called billionaire space race have re-ignited the debate over inequality, with critics arguing that Musk, Bezos, and other billionaires should focus on fixing Earth problems rather than establishing private space initiatives.