Elon Musk wants proof his US$6 billion can solve world hunger

The United Nations' World Food Programme petitioned the automaker CEO for aid, and he replied he's consider it—if he can crunch the numbers

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Elon Musk, the world’s richest man , challenged a United Nations official’s claim that just a small percentage of his wealth could help solve world hunger.

Musk was responding to comments by David Beasley, director of the UN’s World Food Programme, who repeated a call last week following an earlier tweet this month asking billionaires like Musk to “step up now, on a one-time basis.”

Beasley specifically called for action from Musk; and Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos, the two men atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Just US$6 billion could keep 42 million people from dying, Beasley said.

If the World Food Programme, using transparent and open accounting, “can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” Musk wrote in a Twitter post.


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Musk is CEO of the electric-vehicle company, which last week joined the handful of companies valued at more than US$1 trillion.

The US$6-billion amount would be just a small fraction of Musk’s current net worth of US$311 billion — and less than the US$9.3 billion his wealth increased on October 29 alone, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index.

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Tesla forms the vast majority of Musk’s net worth. He’s very rarely sold stock in the electric-vehicle maker, whose stock reached a record US$1,114 on Friday.

Musk, frequently outspoken on social media, has also been critical of attempts to tax U.S. billionaires.

He said on Twitter that a levy on billionaire wealth would only make a “small dent” toward paying off the national debt, arguing that the focus should be on government spending. Musk also said a billionaire tax would just be the start of taxing the merely wealthy.

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