OPINION: Elon Musk expected to be first trillionaire: What does that mean for us?

World-famous investor and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is expected to become the world’s first trillionaire by 2024, according to data collected by Approve.com

To many, especially college students, news of yet another billionaire’s rapid financial gain is nothing to write home about; however, how Musk obtained such massive net worth and what he plans to do with it remains yet to be seen and may have global impacts.

Musk, as the world’s richest individual, is the largest contributor to the global wealth gap. The South African native is rumored to have inherited much of his wealth through his father’s exploitation of emerald mines during Apartheid. This was a time of extreme racial segregation where, amongst other human rights violations, Black Africans were not given fair wages for their work. 

While Musk fiercely denies having inherited Apartheid “blood money,” eyebrows were certainly raised when Musk was caught paying Telsa employees $5 an hour, according to The Guardian. The very same practices that were used to oppress African people — practices that Musk denied having involvement in — were being utilized to fatten his already overflowing wallet.

While the origin of Musk’s wealth seems grim, there may still be hope for him to redeem himself. In October of 2021, the now-owner of Twitter tweeted that if the United Nations’ World Food Program could outline a plan for how two percent of his net worth could be used to end world hunger, he would produce and donate the needed funds, according to abc.com

Unfortunately, after spending $44 billion dollars to purchase Twitter, it has been noted that the UN World Food Program has yet to receive a single cent from Musk, even after they provided data that the two percent of Musk’s fortune, $6.6 billion dollars, could be used to provide hunger security to 42 million vulnerable people, according to weforum.org.

If you ask the average South African what Elon Musk has done for them, they’d likely laugh in your face. If you ask the UN World Food Program about Musk’s commitment to ending world hunger, they would probably have the same reaction. 

While Musk is not obligated to be charitable, one would hope that after receiving and gaining so much he would feel inclined to help those who served as the stepping stones to reach his almost-trillionaire status. 

Maybe by 2024, we will see some of his wealth given to those who need it for more than status and power.