The Director of the World Food Program challenged Elon Musk, saying, “wake up, smell the coffee, and help.”
Elon Musk tweeted Saturday that if the UN could prove that $6 billion would solve world hunger, he’d “sell Tesla stock right now” to do so.
Musk was responding to comments by UN World Food Program (WFP) director David Beasley. In an interview with CNN Beasley challenged Musk and Jeff Bezos to “step up now” to tackle the issue.
Appearing on CNN’s Connect the World, Beasley said, “$6 billion to help 42 million people” who might die otherwise was “not complicated.” Six billion dollars is approximately 2 percent of Musk’s vast wealth. The Tesla founder responded on Twitter:
But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2021
Musk was tweeting at researcher Dr. Eli David, who had posted the following:
Beasley responded via Twitter. He assured Musk the WFP supported transparency and open source accounting. “Your team can review and work with us,” Beasley said, “to be totally confident of such.”
Beasley continued on to say that “$6 billion 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.”
Director Beasley addressed Musk and Bezos in stark terms during his CNN spot, saying, “What if it was your daughter starving to death? What if it was your family starving to death?”
He concluded with, “wake up, smell the coffee, and help.”
On Monday Musk still topped the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, his fortune sitting at $311 billion, with Jeff Bezos a distant second at $195 billion. Americans with super-deep pockets have only gathered more mountains of money during the coronavirus pandemic, and CNN reports the collective wealth of billionaires in the US alone was in excess of $5 trillion at the end of October.
Elon Musk could probably aid world hunger with the change he cleans out of his Tesla cupholders, but it looks like shaming billionaires is the hardest road to travel when it comes to encouraging them to help those in need. Most, like Musk seemed to, will resent the call-out rather than reach for their checkbooks.