Could Elon Musk End World Hunger With $ 6 Billion? 5 questions, answers
Elon Musk hinted on October 31, 2021, possibly jokingly, that he might be ready to donate $ 6 billion of his fortune to finance the fight against hunger. But there was a catch: The United Nations should prove that it can solve world hunger “right now”.
His comments responded to a challenge Director of the United Nations World Food Program David Beasley lobbied Jeff Bezos and Musk – to “step up now, on an as-needed basis” to help solve world hunger.
“$ 6 billion to help 42 million people who will literally die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated, ”Beasley said in an October 2021 statement. CNN interview, a year after calling on billionaires to participate with $ 5 billion.
5. What fascinates you about this exchange?
Muscular the richest person in the world at the end of 2021, is a revolutionary entrepreneur. The UN is the world largest international organization, and its World Food Program won the Nobel Prize of Peace in 2020. Of course, there will be tensions, because they have completely different ways of thinking and doing.
Musk’s ethics are focused on innovation and individualism, while the UN is founded on diplomacy and pluralism. Musk is accountable to his shareholders. The United Nations must take into account and respect its 193 Member States. This obligation can bog down its many agencies with bureaucracy.
The standoff between Musk and Beasley, a former Governor of South Carolina Trump, selected for the UN post, represents a clash of these two worlds. Their public conversation may seem trivial, but it also highlights humanity’s most pressing and difficult task: overcoming world hunger. Almost 10 percent of everyone on Earth was undernourished from 2020, a sharp increase in 118 million people from 2019.
4. Why is it so hard to end world hunger?
There is enough food on Earth feed everyone. Millions of people go hungry not because of a global inability to produce enough food, although this could change as climate-related disasters, like extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, decrease agricultural productivity. These impacts of climate change will increase if society does not act quickly enough.
Today, hunger is the result of conflict, poor infrastructure, inequality and poverty. For example, after years of conflict in Yemen, more than 5 million people are on the verge of famine. And as the Syrian conflict turns 10, 12.4 million people – over 60 percent of the population there – struggle to get enough to eat.
I think Musk is reasonable in challenging WFP to produce a plan in return for his $ 6 billion donations. The UN agency, founded in 1961, has been working to end world hunger for decades. He raised a record $ 8.4 billion in 2020 alone, mostly from countries providing voluntary support, as well as gifts from individuals.
Yet world hunger, notoriously difficult to resolve, is still rife. About 40 percent of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet.
3. Should the international community delegate the management of these vast problems to the super-rich?
WFP says it needs a $ 6.6 billion beyond its annual budget to fight hunger in the world today. At least, in theory, the wealthiest people on Earth could easily afford to accomplish this feat year after year. The richest 1% of Americans alone had a combined net worth of $ 34.2 trillion in 2020.
Even if the rich had to pay, it takes more than money to solve hunger. Infrastructure is organized by governments, improving equality often requires mass civilian movements, and policy change and conflict reduction require intergovernmental diplomacy.
The best precedent for this kind of major gift was probably set by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has about $ 50 billion in its endowment and has contributed more than $ 3 billion to global efforts to eradicate malaria, HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis in the last two decades. Despite some success in the efforts it funds, such as the new malaria vaccine, winning these battles remains elusive – with over 400,000 people die annually from malaria.
All Americans, from the poor to the rich, have given $ 471 billion to nonprofits of all kinds in 2020, with many other priorities besides ending world hunger.
But not everyone cares enough about the suffering of the world’s poorest people to devote their fortunes to fixing it.
2. What is the right way for the World Food Program to follow up?
Musk behaves erratically on Twitter sometimes. He may not have made an actual offer. But, since Jeff Bezos used Twitter in 2017 to let the world know he was about to rise in power his charitable donations, it is worth paying attention.
Tesla CEO and PAM director Beasley may put their egos aside and see it as an opportunity to potentially work together. The UN can give Musk a plan with open source accounting, as he requested on Twitter.
If he does, the public can also hold Musk accountable for the commitment he made on social media. WFP is already doing publish results of his accounts, he would therefore not start from zero.
1. What could Elon Musk do against world hunger if he decided to make it his mission?
In 2012, Musk signed the Make a donation, a public promise to give at least half of your money During its lifetime. Since announcing his intention to become a major donor, Musk has given relatively little of his fortune to charity and he has not spoken much of his philanthropic projects. However, his donations increased in 2021.
Since November 2021, its the foundation’s barebone site has indicated its interest in funding research and advocacy in space exploration, pediatric research, science and engineering education, and the “development of safe artificial intelligence for the benefit of the world. ‘humanity”. The website did not list any beneficiaries or contact information.
If Musk is looking for a challenge, I think beating hunger is a lot harder than going to space. I would invite him to use his money, his influence and his innovation to tackle the world’s biggest problem. Because ending hunger would first require suppressing conflict, eradicating poverty, building much-needed infrastructure and slowing the pace of climate change, and that would be truly revolutionary.