Ask and ye shall receive. The ball is now squarely in Elon Musk’s court as the fight to end world hunger has just been ramped up a notch or two.
David Beasley, the director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme, has been engaged in a Twitter back-and-forth with Tesla CEO and the world’s wealthiest person, Elon Musk, whose net worth sits at approximately $288 billion, about Musk shedding some of that wealth to end world hunger.
To be clear, the back-and-forth between the two has not been contentious in the least, more like a challenge and then information gathering. It all started when Beasley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, was speaking on an interview with CNN last month in which he put forth to the billionaires of the world to “step up now, on a one-time basis” to wipe out world hunger. Beasley then went on to specifically call out the two richest men in the world: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Beasley then went on to say that giving $6 billion, which is 2% of Musk’s net worth, would end world hunger. To Elon Musk’s credit, he listened to Beasley and through Twitter, responded in kind by telling Beasley and the World Food Programme that if they could fully describe how they plan to use the $6 billion on his Twitter thread to solve world hunger, then he (Musk) would sell Tesla stock to make it happen.
Elon Musk added a caveat to his request stating that the response must be open-source accounting. He wants the public (and the world for that matter) to see exactly where the money is going and how it will solve world hunger.
Beasley then went to work on a 1,000-word executive summary explaining exactly how it would happen. The number went up to $6.6 billion but laid out in exact detail how the United Nations would handle deploying meals and vouchers to feed over 40 million starving people across the 43 countries that the UN says are “on the brink of famine.”
In the executive summary Beasley posted and linked to Elon Musk, the World Food Programme says $3.5 billion would purchase and deliver food directly. He said that $2 billion of the funds would be for “cash and food vouchers (to include the transaction fees) in places where markets can function.” Beasley said that $700 million more would need to be spent to manage new food programs that would be adapted to each specific countries conditions and to also make sure the food assistance reaches the most in need.
Finally, Beasley said another $400 million would need to be used to deal with supply chain coordination and for those in the programs “operations management, administration, and accountability.”Along with Beasley’s link to his executive summary, he noted in a tweet, “The world is on fire,” Beasley wrote. “I’ve been warning about the perfect storm brewing due to Covid, conflict, climate shocks & now, rising supply chain costs. IT IS HERE.”
He then told Elon Musk that he had asked, and the World Food Programme responded. “You asked for a clear plan & open books. Here it is! We’re ready to talk with you – and anyone else – who is serious about saving lives.”
The world was already at a world hunger crisis tipping point even before COVID began to dominate. Climate change and mass conflict in third world countries were taking their brutal toll leaving over 42 million people fighting for the basics in food.
So far, there has been no response from Elon Musk, but it hasn’t stopped people from chiming in with their two cents. Many have been critical of the money Beasley is asking for, wanting to know what happens next, thinking a one-time $6.6 billion payment won’t solve the issue at hand.
Not everyone, though, was questioning Beasley’s $6.6 billion request.
Still, there were more questions and comments concerning the future. Is the $6.6 billion the end-all or just a stop-gap? And will Elon Musk really go for it? You can read Beasley’s 1,000-word executive summary here.