Elon Musk and Solving World Hunger

By: Roni Leider  |  November 17, 2021

By Roni Leider

With a net worth of over $300 billion, entrepreneur and business magnate Elon Musk says he is willing to consider a UN proposal presented by the UN’s World Food Programme’s (WFP) director, David Beasley, regarding potentially solving world hunger. Beasley has previously stated in a CNN interview that billionaires need to “step up now, on a one-time basis”, making direct reference to Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, two of the wealthiest men on earth. Beasley continued by saying, “$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated.” Musk later added that he would only consider the proposal under the conditions that the public gets a transparent view to see exactly how this money would be distributed via “open source accounting.” 

The program has already detailed the distribution of the proposed wealth that Musk would be donating. Beasly replied to Musk’s tweet concerning the “open source accounting” of the programme, writing that the financial statements and operational documents of the WFP are all public, and that the WFP is “an open book.” To this, Musk replied “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 World Food Programme is the world’s largest global humanitarian organization and works in over 80 countries to create solutions that will actively combat world hunger. They are attempting to meet the needs of the masses faced with starvation and famine in impoverished nations. Generally, they are efficient in accomplishing their humanitarian development goals. In 2020, the program has provided food assistance to Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

According to CNN, only 2% of Musk’s wealth could assist in ending the hunger. 

The WFP is funded through the UN member states and the public, and this year the organization has only secured approximately 75% of its requirement. The money is absolutely crucial for the organization to prevent famine, help stabilize nations, and support mass migration. Beasly tweeted the calculations of the plan, stating, “$.43 x 42,000,000 x 365 days = $6.6 billion.” The $6.6 billion would ultimately avert a crisis for 42 million people in 43 countries. This contribution by Musk would assist in filling the gap and help the organization reach its needs.

Musk proceeded to poll his 63 million twitter followers, asking them whether he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla. With over 3.5 million votes, 58% of votes were in favor of the share sale. The share price of the sale decreased significantly, compared to before the tweet. This follows a proposal by US Congressional Democrats to target stocks of the extremely wealthy as a means of taxing them. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, tweeted, “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period.” In response, Musk dismissed Sanders, saying, “I keep forgetting you’re still alive,” and then followed with a tweet saying, “Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word…” Musk, however, did state that he would agree with an estate tax, as well as on extravagant consumption. This seems to typify ongoing rhetoric between corporate America and the progressive left.