Elon Musk challenged to help world hunger; could it happen?


Elon Musk responded to a challenge from the World Health Organization to donate $6 billion to end world hunger with a response that leaves it unclear if he will accept the challenge.

Elon Musk’s tweet could save millions of lives. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla, an electric car manufacturer, he became the richest man in the world after Hertz ordered 100,000 Teslas, which put his net worth ahead of Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon. Currently, Musk’s net worth is roughly $290 billion while Bezos’ net worth stands at about $205 billion.

Starvation is one of the largest problems in our world. Around 690 million people worldwide are undernourished. which is approximately nine percent of the human population. Sadly, this number is rising rapidly.

The World Health Organization (WHO), along with the United Nations (UN), says that approximately “a tenth of the global population – up to 811 million people – were undernourished last year.” Also, food security is not prominent in many communities. This leads to a higher risk of being overweight, obese, or developing chronic diseases such as diabetes later in life. Malnutrition is a leading cause of death in many places around the world, especially in countries where poverty is common. 

This is where Musk comes in. As he was climbing his way up the list of the richest in people the world, CNN claimed that “2% of Elon Musk’s wealth could help solve world hunger.” In simple terms, if Musk donated $5.8 billion, malnutrition across the globe would come to a standstill. As Musk is worth around $290 billion, he could donate $5.8 billion for such a worthwhile cause with little overall impact on his wealth. All in all, his net worth will shrink to $284 billion, still leaving him the richest man in the world.

Musk tweeted on Oct. 31, that “if WFP [World Food Programme] can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.” The response came shrouded with conditions, so as reported by CNBC, “It is unclear whether Musk was serious about his offer, and a representative for Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC.”

The point that WHO ambassadors are trying to make: a small percent of the net worth of the wealthiest person in the world can save millions of lives across the globe, and ensure that families do not have to worry about if they will starve or not. 

 CNN also stated that “the WFP proposes dedicating $3.5 billion to buy and deliver food directly, $2 billion ‘for cash and food vouchers (including transaction fees) in places where markets can function,’ and spending another $700 million to manage new food programs that are ‘adapted to the in-country’ conditions and ensure ‘the assistance reaches the most vulnerable.’” Roughly 400 million dollars would be spent on “operations management, administration and accountability” and the coordination of the supply chain.

Olympic Heights sophomore Josh Artzi thinks that Musk is helping people in need of food. He also stated that Musk is using his own resources and money to give back to the community. There are also many more people across social media that agree with what Musk is attempting to do. All in all, Musk can save millions of lives with just a single tweet.

Many people believe that just because someone has a large sum of money, that they are very greedy and selfish. If Musk donates this money, he would represent selflessness and a desire to help others through his own personal success. He possibly hinted that he is willing to donate six billion dollars of his own money to help save the lives of millions. However, he has not yet made the donation. Now, many news outlets and UN representatives are taking this matter into their own hands by stating the countless ways that the money that Musk could provide would do.