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Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, challenged a UN official’s claim that just a small percentage of his wealth could help solve world hunger.
Musk was responding to comments by David Beasley, director of the UN World Food Programme, who repeated a call last week following an earlier tweet asking billionaires like Musk to “step up now, on a one-time basis”.
Beasley specifically called for action from Musk and Amazon.com co-founder Jeff Bezos, the two men atop the Bloomberg billionaires index. Just $6bn could keep 42-million people from dying, Beasley said.
If the World Food Programme, using transparent and open accounting, “can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6bn will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it”, Musk wrote in a Twitter post.
Musk is CEO of the electric vehicle company, which has joined the handful of companies valued at more than $1-trillion. The $6bn amount would be just a small fraction of Musk’s net worth of $311bn and less than the $9.3bn his wealth increased on October 29 alone, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index.
Tesla forms the vast majority of Musk’s net worth. He rarely sells stock in the vehicle maker, whose stock reached a record $1,114 on Friday.
His fortune has also surged thanks to his stake in SpaceX, a private space exploration company that is valued at about $100bn.
Musk, frequently outspoken on social media, has also been critical of attempts to tax US billionaires. He said on Twitter that a levy on billionaire wealth would make only a “small dent” towards paying off the US national debt, arguing that the focus should be on government spending. Musk also said a billionaire tax would just be the start of taxing the merely wealthy.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.