- Elon Musk said Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company “Act of charity”.
- “If I say philanthropy is the love of humanity, it’s philanthropy,” Musk said of the companies he leads.
- It’s unconventional, because all four companies are for-profit.
Billionaire Elon Musk has said the companies he founded or run are “charities” because they seek to improve the future of humanity.
Musk made the remarks in a video interview published Monday with Chris Anderson, TED’s chief conference organizer.
Asked by Anderson what he thought of the billionaire’s philanthropy, Musk said: “If you care about the reality of the good rather than the realization of it, philanthropy is very difficult.”
He added, “SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company are philanthropy. If I say philanthropy is the love of humanity, they are philanthropy.”
Although philanthropy has become associated with generous donations by the wealthy, the phrase is derived from the Greek meaning “love of humanity”.
Musk said electric car maker Tesla is “accelerating sustainable energy” while his space exploration company SpaceX seeks to “ensure humanity’s long-term survival with multi-planetary species.”
Meanwhile, the micro-brain chip company Neuralink is trying to “help solve brain injuries and existential risks using AI (artificial intelligence)” and the tunneling company The Boring Company “is trying to solve the traffic problem, which is hell for most people, and that’s also love,” he said. mask.
Musk’s philanthropy is unconventional. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines philanthropy as “goodwill toward fellow members of the human race” and more clearly: “an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes” or “an organization that distributes or supports funds intended for humanitarian purposes.”
Philanthropy is widely understood as the latter and is directed specifically at charitable and non-profit organizations.
Musk’s companies, although he presents them as providing goods and services useful to humanity, are for-profit enterprises and have helped him become the richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $251 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
This isn’t the first time Musk has indicated that he thinks direct giving is a waste of time.
In an interview with Matthias Dobfner, CEO of Axel Springer last month, he said: “If you care about the reality of doing good and not the perception of doing good, it is very difficult to actively donate money. I am interested in reality. Perception is damned.”
In 2021, Musk also challenged a claim by the head of the United Nations World Food Program that a one-time donation of $6 billion by the world’s billionaires could alleviate world hunger. Musk said that if the UN could prove its accounts, he would sell Tesla stock and “make it.”
A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission published in February showed that Musk donated more than 5 million shares of Tesla stock to charity in November. The filing did not specify which, but indicated that the trust was involved in the transactions.