Elon Musk’s offer to donate $6 billion to end world hunger sparks 'power play' controversy

Elon Musk has offered to liquidate some Telsa shares to help solve world hunger—but critics are condemning him

Elon Musk
(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Staff / Getty Images)

Elon Musk has recently offered to sell $6 billion of his Tesla shares and donate the money to the World Food Programme if the organization can explain how it will solve world hunger.

Elon Musk announced on Twitter, "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."

Although this may seem like a hugely philanthropic gesture from the billionaire, there are caveats to the promise and some are accusing Elon of dangling a carrot that is clearly out of reach, instead of just donating 2% of his wealth to charitable organizations. 

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Why is Elon Musk offering to donate $6 billion?

Elon's challenge was in response to a tweet from Dr. Eli David. The doctor posted an image of a headline that read, '2% of Elon Musk's wealth could solve world hunger, says director of UN food scarcity organization.' 

Dr. David's caption said, "Fact check: 2% of Elon Musk's wealth is $6B In 2020 the UN World Food Program (WFP) raised $8.4B. How come it didn't 'solve world hunger'?"

Elon replied to this with his promise to end world hunger if the WFP can prove $6 billion would be enough. He then added another tweet that demanded transparency about how the money will be allocated. "But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent," said the billionaire.

Leaping on this opportunity for funding, the WFP Chief David Beasley replied to this comment and explained, "Elon Musk! Headline not accurate. $6B will not solve world hunger, but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation. An unprecedented crisis and a perfect storm due to Covid/conflict/climate crises."

The Chief added, "@DrEliDavid, we’ve never said $6B would solve world hunger. This is a one-time donation to save 42 million lives during this unprecedented hunger crisis."

He continued, "The $8.4B you refer to covers what we needed to reach 115 million people in 2020 with food assistance. We need $6B plus NOW on top of our existing funding requirements due to the perfect storm from the compounding impact of Covid, conflict and climate shocks."

"Elon Musk, 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 David. 

"Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where money goes. Sunlight is a wonderful thing," responded Elon simply.

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Why is Elon Musk being criticized for offering to donate $6 billion?

Elon Musk has been criticized for his promise as many think that he is simply making a point with his tweet to prove that the WFP wrongly claimed that his wealth could end world hunger.

This was only emphasized when Elon turned the conversation back to criticizing the WFP. The billionaire shared a link to a news story about UN officials abusing their power in 2015 and asked, "What happened here?"

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However, social media users now think that because of the publicity, Elon will end up shelling out money to help world hunger.

"We know how this is going to end: Elon Musk is going to donate $6 billion to help solve world hunger—1.8% of his fortune. He'll write it off and pay $0 in taxes. He'll be named Time's Person of the Year as a great philanthropist while the average family pays a 14% tax rate," said Dan Price, author, and CEO of Gravity Payments.

Other celebrities have also hopped on the bandwagon and offered to donate money to the same cause if they gain enough support. Social media celebrity Jake Paul stated on Twitter, “Yo @elonmusk if you donate $6 billion to the UN to end world hunger I’ll also donate $10million if this gets 690k retweets.”

The tweet currently has 10.8k retweets, meaning that the social media star and boxer is a long way from donating the $10million he promised.

As the conversation on social media has been left open, it is unclear if anyone will benefit from these celebrities just talking about their wealth without actually having any plans to action aid.

A Youtuber named Matt Wallace suggested that a better tactic would be if Elon still donated the money to charity, but not to an organization that tried to portray him negatively.

This solution could mean that Elon is able to provide the aid he has casually dangled on Twitter, while still proving his point and criticizing the organization for trying to embarrass him for his billionaire status.