December 21, 2004

The future of Black America.

What is the future of black America? This is a question that cannot be answered without first answering the question concerning the future direction of America itself. Thus, by examining the direction of America, one can glean an insight into the direction of black America, because we are joined at the hip.

To put it bluntly...Black Americas zenith has been reached. We collectively reached that pinnacle in the 1990s, in regards to economics. The primary reason for the fall being that America is now on a downward trajectory from its zenith and a lowering tide sinks all ships. This nation continues to lose comparative advantage in a relatively peaceful world, which has allowed economies such as China to develop and produce goods and services far cheaper than can we.

The current buzz phrase of causation is “globalization”. Theoretically, globalization is the free flow of capital, businesses, resources, goods and services around the globe. In other words, business and capital investors will seek the path of least resistance to profit, which most often means the cheapest sources of labor and fewer regulatory and or environmental restrictions. This puts America in general and the African American worker in particular, as the big losers in the physics of the transfer of energies and opportunities under globalization. This is because black workers are over represented in occupations, such as manufacturing, that will absorb the biggest transfer of production and jobs to cheaper labor markets.

In light the economic shift of opportunities under capitalistic imperialism, unemployment and poverty will rise for African Americans. There will be a shrinking of the black middle class as the ranks of the economic lower class makes up the difference, while the percentage of blacks in the upper class will remain stable. Compounding this will be a nation less progressive in its dealings with historical issues that were the catalyst and origin of many of the disproportionate problems faced by blacks. There will likely be a phasing out of programs like Affirmative Action fairly soon, as the fortunes of the white masses begin to diminish under globalization as well, although less profoundly than blacks.

Politically, blacks will lose leverage and clout, as we are no longer the nation’s largest minority group. The Hispanic population will eventually by pass the black population considerably, forcing politicians to shift their focus to Hispanic interest and concerns. Of course, anytime politicians give one group more attention, another group will get less attention and the primary losers will be African Americans, as white interest (and money) will still dominate the two party system. Thus, backs will have to “piggy back” or find overlap benefit from white and Hispanic interest as our pure and often unique in degree or kind issues, such as reparations, will not have a snow ball chance in hell of manifesting into fruition.

Educationally, regardless of the naysayer, blacks are better educated today than they have ever been. Black literacy rates, high school completion, college participation and graduation are at or near record levels. However, the problem is that a changing economy and world keeps increasing its education demands faster than blacks are able to increase their supply. Thus, in absolute terms, blacks continue to make tremendous strides in education, given where we started, but in relative terms, our growth has not kept pace with economic demands. Moreover, only 26% of all jobs demanded by the economy require college degrees. Therefore, although education will make people more competitive, only 26% of the labor pool, at any given point in time, will command those good paying jobs, regardless if 100% of the people are well educated. In light of this, the USA cannot educate its way out of this fix.

Socially, the loss of the sense of black unity and common goal and purpose, along with increased poverty, will make living in many of our poor black communities treacherous. I think that the availability of guns, the opportunity for money from drugs and illegal activities, increasing lack of opportunity and hope, will converge to make levels of violence unprecedented. This will lead to more draconian political responses that will increase the incarceration rates of blacks, as well as, make prisons a more brutal experience. There will be increased police brutality and human rights violation. However, many blacks who will be so tired and weary from crime will actually support these measures in the hope of increasing their safety and freedom to move about without danger.

In regards to race, racial tolerance will diminish as economic competition increases and becomes more of a domestic zero sum game. The root of slavery and Jim Crow was economic. White Americans have a history of using “seesaw” economics to elevate themselves as the opposite resultant of placing the weight of burden and exploitation upon non white peoples. It would be a naïve to trust the character demonstrated by whites in good times, will be the character they demonstrate during stressful economic times. The test of “true” character can only be gleaned under stress, which has been absence over the last 30 years economically. When it returns, one can expect a dropping off of racial tolerance in general, which will reinvigorate the level of racism among whites. Moreover, with a decreasing percentage of the whole white population, whites will come to feel threatened about their way of life, beliefs, history and so forth, which will give rationalization for bigotry.

In summary, the assumption that progress will always be forward in America will be proven fallacious. The nation as a whole will stagnate and the middle class will decline. Blacks will actually digress. However, these predications are extrapolations and some event or condition can manifest the “butterfly effect”, which can throw the predications way of its extrapolated course. However, given the probability of certain possibilities, the most probable are the ones that will only worsen the scenario. So what should black folks do? Unity is the only solution that will help us deal with the coming challenges.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Overall very possible. Personally I think that it would be a net good for America to drop 20% that would go to other countries. That extra two trillion plus would help more people in the third world than here. The biggest shame is that Africa has been shut off from globalization so it wont get the bounty from it.

I don't agree with safety of poor black communities being compromised. First the nature of crime has changed so violent crime will continue at reduced level. You have read my previous post on the economics of crime.

I also think black commuities have learned that they don't have to accept crime, and even if poverty returns crime like the 70 and 80s' wont return.

And if you are correct about middle class moving back to poor neighboorhoods then they will also require more accountability from police depts etc.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Globalizations main focus is Asia. It would do Africa well to start decreasing ties to the West and to start increasing ties to Asia, especially China. Yes, the US could withstand a lower standard of living. However, who will bear the biggest burden of this shift? It will not be the wealthy in America who can most afford it…that is for sure.

In regards to crime, it is theorized that crime rates are projected to fall off due to a reducing percentage of 15-24 year olds in the population. This is the most criminal prone age bracket. However, I think what people fail to take into consideration is COINTELPRO type programs from our government to keep the disenfranchised from becoming militant against the system. This is done by turning their discontent and anger inwards towards each other, via illegal drugs and guns. They will need to channel the energy of the discontented Alpha males away from anti-system militancy and into lucrative drug dealing or some other competitive activity that kills and or imprisons a considerable portion of the males that pose the greatest potential threat to the order of the system.

Around the globe, criminal violence is escalating. In a world were there is believed to be too many people and that there is a need for population reduction, arming the world with hand guns and small arms is a good way to reduce the population and the poor and discontented kill off each other in a competition for crumbs. The elites of the world would much rather have this take place than to have these people unify and fight against the system.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Increasing ties to china and india would be good for Africa. I would recommend India since it does have a democratic and now an entrepreneurial base, while china is effectively another multinational corporation.

I recommend reading "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid ..." to read some case studies. I think this is the article that preceeded the book.

about "However, I think what people fail to take into consideration is COINTELPRO type programs from our government to keep the disenfranchised from becoming militant against the system." Don't fear the CIA they are as incompetant as anyone else. visa vie Iraq and 9/11.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

That is because they lacked human intelligence...or in other words...SELL OUTS. This is why the CIA has failed so in the Middle East. However, there seems to be a ready supply of black sellouts to ensure that the FBI (CIA does not handle domestic issues) will be successfully in keeping the black community fighting and killing one and other....instead of fighting the system.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger EG said...

I'm not sure about the 26% of jobs requiring a college degree. Is that both 2 and 4 year college degrees? I would have thought the requirement to be higher but I may be underestimating the food service-type jobs.

Currently, the Hispanic population outnumbers the Black population when the illegals are counted. But you are correct; once they are legal (or their children or born in U.S.), they will be the largest minority group.

Although the globalization issue appears that China will be the top winner, there are several indicators that either India or Pakistan will be the long term beneficiaries. Three reasons:

1. China's population control of the 1970s and 80s has produced more males than females. Thus, China's population is aging faster than any other Asian country.
2. China's energy requirements will double in the next twenty years. That means the goods produced in China will become more expensive relative to the other countries.
3. China's bellicose stance on Twiwan will make China-U.S. relationship more strained. Some military experts predict an engagement between China and U.S. in the next 20 years over Taiwan.

If the U.S. forces free trade to mean un-subsidized trade, then the U.S. workforce can compete with most countries. Many of China's industries are heavily subsidized and they have pegged their currency to the dollar. The U.S. is attempting to get them to use either the Euro or the Taiwan Dollar.

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