Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has fired back at a United Nations official’s claim that a one-time donation of about $6 billion will help solve world hunger, saying that he’d pony up the cash if the UN publishes their precise spending plan.
The Tesla CEO reacted to comments from David Beasley, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme, who told CNN that a donation of just 2 percent of Musk’s wealth — which stands at a whopping $311 billion — would help solve world hunger and save 42 million lives.
“$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated,” Beasley said, specifically calling on the world’s two richest men, Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The combined effects of climate change, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues mean many nations are “knocking on famine’s door,” Beasley said on CNN.
The WFP released a report last week on Afghanistan, for example, saying that 22.8 million people, including 3.2 million children, are facing an acute hunger crisis.
“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 responded on Twitter Sunday.
“But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent,” the eccentric ultra-billionaire added.
Musk’s tweet prompted a response from Beasley, who wrote, “Headline not accurate.”
“$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.”
“I can assure you that we have the systems in place for transparency and open source accounting. Your team can review and work with us to be totally confident of such,” Beasley added.
It’s the latest criticism of surging global wealth inequality from Beasley and other advocates who say the world’s billionaires ought to be doing more to help the most vulnerable people in the world.
Calls for a greater focus on combating wealth inequality grew throughout the pandemic as global stocks surged, benefitting mostly the wealthy who already own large amounts of equities.
The recent progress in the so-called billionaire space race also put a renewed focus on inequality, with critics saying that Musk, Bezos and other billionaire should be more focused on solving problems on Earth than developing private space programs.
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