You often hear the argument from socialists and left-wing politicians about how billionaires are evil in part because they could give up some of their billions to solve world hunger. Usually, the billionaires don’t respond, too afraid of the bad PR that would come with arguing against it so they don’t come off as greedy or uncaring, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t your normal billionaire.
Last week, CNN released a report covering a claim by the United Nations director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, who said that if Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave up just two percent of their personal wealth they could solve world hunger.
“$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated,” Beasley told Becky Anderson of CNN’s Connect the World.
Beasley said that a donation of just two percent from his personal fortune would solve world hunger. CNN would later go on to correct their own article stating that Beasley believes it would help solve world hunger.
CNN went on to report that Musk is worth some $289 billion, meaning two percent of his wealth would equal out to around $6 billion.
Cyber security expert Dr. Eli Davis responded to CNN’s article first noting how much money Musk would give up if he did donate two percent of his wealth, but noticed something interesting about the UN’s claim.
“In 2020 the UN world Food Program (WFP) raised $8.4B. How it didn’t “solve world hunger?” he tweeted.
🔹 2% of @elonmusk's wealth is $6B
🔹 In 2020 the UN World Food Program (WFP) raised $8.4B. How come it didn't "solve world hunger"?
— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) October 30, 2021
A good point to be sure. It would appear that the UN is already gathering billions for that very purpose, even more than what they would require from Musk in order to make great strides in solving the world hunger crisis…so why isn’t it well underway to being solved?
Musk followed up with a one-two punch and responded as any billionaire should to these kinds of guilt-laden requests. Turning it around on the UN WFP, he asked them for a solid plan that would solve the problem once and for all.
“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,” he tweeted. “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.”
But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2021
Beasley would later respond with his own tweet.
“With your help we can bring hope, build stability and change the future. 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!” said Beasley.
Firstly, it’s interesting that Musk specifically asked Beasley to provide him the plan in an open Twitter thread and he refused to, wanting to meet privately instead. Secondly, it’s highly unlikely that Beasley could actually come up with a plan that utilizes Musk’s money in such a way that wouldn’t look bad to the general public.
The UN itself is notorious for wasting millions. A Sky News report in 2019 highlighted that large amounts of money gathered by the UN meant to solve the climate crisis are spent on plane trips, lavish hotel rooms, and expensive meals. A conversation between Dave Rubin and former Ambassador Richard Grenell was enlightening as it unveiled the constant monetary waste around the UN and how the money is actually managed.
Quick summary: It’s far more unorganized and disjointed than you think.
The point, however, that Musk really was trying to make was that there is no plan to solve world hunger because solving world hunger is a more complicated matter than just throwing money at people. Handing someone a meal and medicine is great, but once they eat that meal they’ll soon need another.
Infrastructure changes, national politics, and the environment all play a role in the solving of world hunger, and it’s highly unlikely that six billion dollars are going to solve it. It’s even more unlikely that the United Nations is going to solve this problem, especially given their bloat.
There’s little doubt that if Musk could solve world hunger he would, but given the UN’s track record of waste, it’s unclear how much of Musk’s billions would actually make it to those in need.