[imagesource: Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters]
With a fortune of around $315 billion at present, Elon Musk can pretty much say and do whatever the hell he likes.
But is it possible that he’ll be putting his money where his latest tweet is, and give some of his big bucks to those in need?
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has seen his fortune skyrocket in the same manner that his own spacecraft has blasted into orbit.
As CNBC notes, his “net worth has ballooned by more than $140 billion this year, thanks largely to the skyrocketing value of his electric automaker”.
And now it looks like he might be willing to spare a couple of pennies to serve those in need.
In a Twitter thread from Sunday, Musk said that he might be willing to consider a proposal from the United Nations to alleviate world hunger.
Last week, David Beasley, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), said that a $6 billion donation from one of the world’s wealthiest people could help stop world hunger:
[He] told CNN that it was time for the ultra-wealthy to “step up now, on a one-time basis” in order to “help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them.”
He specifically mentioned Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the two richest men in the world.
Musk responded to this after the interview was quote-tweeted:
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2021
Beasley was eager to jump into the thread, probably hoping to engage heartily.
But then Musk, in his response, basically accused the WFP of doing things too shadily, saying:
“Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where money goes. Sunlight is a wonderful thing.”
In a separate tweet, Musk also asked “What happened here?” alongside a shared link to a 2015 Express report alleging that UN peacekeepers were sexually abusing children in the Central African Republic in 2014.
MSNBC hit back with a scathing report at Musk’s responses:
If he had taken two seconds, Musk would have realised that the program has already been clear about where the money goes. The WFP is funded entirely through donations from member states and the public and has raised only about 75 percent of the cash it needs this year. The remaining $6 billion that Beasley is trying to rustle up would cover the remaining gap in its budget.
Musk also would have seen that the World Food Program is already providing the transparency he’s insinuating doesn’t exist. I mean, I somehow doubt that he’s taken the time to read through the 2019 report from the program’s inspector general or the WFP’s annual performance report for 2020.
There’s also been criticism that the trolling scoff turned generous pledge is basically the equivalent of someone declaring that “I’ll eat my hat if…”, which has only gotten Musk attention and praise for something that is really quite half-hearted on his part:
Billionaires know that thanks to the astronomical sums in their stock portfolios, they can give away crumbs from their annual bounty and still be viewed as heroes.
At the same time, they’re constantly moving against any action that would have them contribute to society in the form of higher taxes or prevent them from amassing such fabulous fortunes in the first place.
So, yeah, even if he does end up following through with giving the money to the WFP, the dent will be shallow compared to what he could really do with his wealth.
But hey, at least he had fun on Twitter.
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