Respect Poverty

UN expert asks Elon Musk to help millions facing starvation as his net worth jumps by $36B in a day

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Story at a glance

  • Elon Musk’s net worth increased by more than 600 percent since the start of the pandemic.
  • According to the World Food Program, there are 42 million people currently struggling with hunger globally.
  • Billionaires could collectively solve world hunger by donating .36 percent of their net worth increase from the past year.

As Elon Musk became the wealthiest man in the world this week, some are calling on the billionaire to take his wealth and help fight world poverty, as societies struggle with conflict, climate change and a global pandemic. 

David Beasley, executive director for the United Nations World Food Program, spoke with CNN on Tuesday and urged Musk to share his wealth with those much less fortunate than him. He pleaded with the billionaire on Twitter to make a one-time donation of $6 billion to help 42 million people currently at stage four, emergency level, of food insecurity as determined by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.

Musk isn’t the only one with ample wealth who’s able to donate. The Institute for Policy Studies found that U.S. billionaires saw huge increases in their wealth during the pandemic, collectively experiencing a 62-percent increase in net worth from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to August 2021. That’s a $1.8 trillion surge in personal wealth.

Notably, Musk’s wealth increased the most during the pandemic by $150 billion, a 600 percent increase in net worth. And according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Musk saw his net worth rise by $36.2 billion just this week, which catapulted him to the top spot of the wealthiest individuals in the world.


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Musk alone could fund Beasley’s plea for $6 billion with 4 percent of his net worth growth over the last 18 months. 

Collectively, Beasley said Musk and other billionaires, like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, would only need to donate .36 percent of their net worth increases to fight world hunger.

“I’m for people making money, but God knows I’m also for you helping people who are in great need right now, the world is in trouble,” said Beasley.

However, according to Forbes philanthropy analysis of 2021, many billionaires aren’t known for their charity. Musk has given away less than 1 percent of his wealth, along with 154 other billionaires. 


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