Musk Says Will Sell Tesla Stock if UN Can Describe How $6B Solves Hunger Crisis
David Beasley, the director of the UN's World Food Programme, issued a recent plea to billionaires.
The billionaire Elon Musk said he'd sell Tesla stock and donate the proceeds if the UN could prove that just a tiny percentage of his wealth could save tens of millions of lives.
Musk was responding to comments by David Beasley, the director of the UN's World Food Programme, who told CNN's "Connect the World" last week that a $6 billion donation from billionaires such as Musk and Jeff Bezos could help 42 million people who he said were "literally going to die if we don't reach them."
The index currently lists the Tesla CEO's net worth at $311 billion, meaning $6 billion would be 2% of his wealth. Such a donation would still leave him besting the world's second-richest person, Bezos, by at least $100 billion. Both men's net worth consists largely of stock in companies they founded.
But Musk is challenging the claim that the specific amount will solve the hunger crisis, saying on Twitter that if the World Food Programme could show its math, then he would "sell Tesla stock right now and do it." He also demanded transparency about how the money would be spent.
Beasley responded to Musk by tweeting: "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."
He also clarified that the UN World Food Programme had never said $6 billion would "solve world hunger," which is the wording Musk used on Twitter. "This is a one-time donation to save 42 million lives during this unprecedented hunger crisis," he tweeted.
Beasley has been repeating his call to billionaires, asking them to step up to address world hunger.
The world needs to wake up. We’ve got a global humanitarian crisis on our hands that is spiraling out of control. 42M people in 43 countries face famine NOW.— David Beasley (@WFPChief) October 27, 2021
All we need is $6.6B—just .36% of the top 400 US billionaires' net worth increase last year. Is that too much to ask?? pic.twitter.com/YMD7zuPwsf
$36 billion in one day - @elonmusk's net worth increase due to a @Tesla / @Hertz deal. Congratulations, Elon! 1/6 of your one day increase would save 42 million lives that are knocking on famine's door. Unprecedented crisis. Unprecedented wealth. Help!! https://t.co/n4hfpl5NRE— David Beasley (@WFPChief) October 28, 2021
"It's not complicated. I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year," Beasley said during his appearance on CNN.
"The top 400 billionaires in the United States, the net-worth increase was $1.8 trillion in the past year," he continued. "All I'm asking for is .36% of your net-worth increase. I'm for people making money, but God knows I'm all for you helping people who are in great need right now. The world is in trouble."