What is Black Economics?
A working definition
Black Economics is a field of study and discussion in social science blending elements of economics, social science, Black history, Black culture and politics. The goal of Black economics is to support the prospering, achieving, flourishing, and living up to the full potential of Black people while maximizing Black happiness. The field covers Black wealth, jobs, income, and wages but also policy and politics.
Black Economics is a field of study and discussion in social science that blends elements of economics, social science, Black history, Black culture, and politics. The goal of Black economics is to provide the intellectual framework, the ideas and facts, to support the prospering, flourishing, and full achievement of the potential of Black people while maximizing Black happiness.
Black economics is built on top of basic economic ideas but with a heavy focus on issues affecting Black people. Black Economics covers such topics as labor economics, discrimination theory, and government intervention in markets. Classical economics is the study of scarcity, resource allocation, and the mechanisms of economic systems. Basic economic theory was developed during 1770’s with the publication of Adam Smith‘s “Wealth of Nations” and others. Many others contributed, but the next big breakthrough was John Maynard Keyes‘ “General Theory.” Keynes said that markets were political creations and government should intervene when times were bad, like during the Great Depression. Interestingly, most modern economic theory was developed by White men of means.
Black Economics takes few departures from classical economic theory, but instead applies them to the situation of Blacks in the US. It uses many different fields such as labor economics, finance, and cooperative economics. Black economics applies mainstream economic theory to the situation of Black people in the real world. The Major emphasis of Black Economics is on changing public policy and private consumer behavior to benefit Black people.
Economics and Race
When you discuss Black Economics you must also discuss race. “Race,” is a social construct and does not biologically exist. Throughout history, “Tribe” not race was the social marker. The Romans knew tribe but not race. Race was invented in the 1700s to justify colonialism and slavery. And race is also rarely featured idea in mainstream academic economics. It simply does not exist. The field of economics is one of the Whitest and Malest of all academic fields. Worse, many of the most important economic ideas were developed during the time of colonialism and “scientific racism.” It was during this period of colonialism that many of our current racial theories were developed that continue to permeate society. Large-scale racism did not have a large impact on the economies of nations until the 1700s. After which, race and ethnicity became one of the defining features of a modern economy in the US and later the world.
So what is Black Economics in practice?
Black economics is a collection of social science ideas and concepts linking the fortunes of the Black Diaspora with economic success.
The central, unifying idea of Black Economics is: What would society and the economy of a society look like if we wanted to maximize Black happiness? What might be different? What would change?
Black Economic Topics
There are many varied and interesting sub-topics included in Black Economics
There is one area of pure economic research that Black Economists focus on called “Stratification Economics.” It is similar to the legal concept of Critical Race Theory. Stratification Economics says that racism is baked into economic and political institutions in society which structurally limit Black success and prosperity. And then how do people behave under such a system? And what are the outcomes?
Other topics include
- How does the US economy work for Black people? How do they function in the economy? How do they behave to maximize happiness?
- Black Wealth and Black Happiness
- Black employment, wages, and incomes including skills, careers, and job training. And discrimination in the job market.
- Black Consumer Behavior
- Black Business, Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Access to capital funding.
- Black Economic Demographics
- US Black economics history. How slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and Reparations affected the Black community economically.
- Black economics and freedom and economic security. How much power and control does the average black person have over their individual lives and destinies?
- Structural and institutional racism in society.
- Property, land ownership and Black farmers.
- Social Justice issues such as crime, incarceration, re-entry, affordable housing, job discrimination and childcare.
- Economic and political power in society. The political and governmental impact on Black economic well-being.
- Government social safety net programs like public housing, TAANF, food stamps and unemployment benefits.
- Corporations and Financial institutions’ impact on Black economic well-being. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs
- A Black Educational View of Black Economics. What should we teach about Black Economics?
- Conservative Black Economic voices
- Entertainers and athlete studies
- How do we increase Black Opportunity in society?
- Promoting Black economic and financial literacy
In summary, Black Economics has two major components:
1. The study of how US Blacks function in the US economy.
2. Creating policy ideas that enable all Blacks, especially those who are left out, to prosper in a long-term, sustainable way.
It’s about getting our fair share of the fruits of society using economic and business knowledge.