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Economics for Black Folk…101

September 23, 2016

 

Okay, first of all, what do I know about economics?  In my opinion, everybody knows something about it. It is one of the formulated ways of looking at how we recognize the flow of resources used by individuals and communities, large and small.  Its root word is “economy”. Economy deals with a careful management of our resources. Yes, money has been one of the resources we cherish, but I am not so sure it has been placed in its proper perspective when we talk about economics.

 

I would like to view economics from a holistic perspective. Our most precious resource is our “self”…that is, our mind, body and soul. Breaking it down a little more, we would be talking about; the mind (what we think), the body (what we physically are) and the soul (the environment and atmosphere we as an individual “self” exist in). This “self” I speak of is created and maintained within a void of cosmic realm some call spirit. If you are able to read this paper, you are one of many who have a “self” life. You are a living being. Like all living creatures, here on our planet, we require the elements of; air, water, fire and earth to sustain ourselves. They are part of what I have observed to be a divine design many call nature.

 

Managing our “self being” is at the root of economics. Managing its economy is one of the first laws of nature…to survive. Sustaining our life well is accomplished by managing it carefully. Each life form has the potential for sustainability. Maximizing that potential from the perspective of economics is one of the challenges we, as black folks face today.

 

You will note that thus far, in this conversation about economics, I have not talked about money. That is because, in my opinion, money is not a primary element for economics. From a European perspective, it is. We have been raised to emulate this view and many of us are still wed to it. I said “us” and I do admit, it has been drummed into my physic as a goal and object to achieve in life.

 

From high school, most of my life has been spent working on some aspect of economic development. Accounting and various aspects of business operations have been areas I felt I had come to know best. A Master’s degree in community economic development with a 4.0 GPA and subsequent teaching and administration position in a university graduate school further honed my thinking on the subject of economics. As a consultant on the subject, I made my living. However, there came a point in my life when I began to challenge this monetary perspective as a primary pursuit in economics.

 

Observing nature inspired me to reflect on how connected all life forms were. There seemed to be an independent life for each creature, yet it was also dependent upon the life forms around it…at the same time. I wondered how that could be? This dichotomy began a thought pattern that has been a great paradox for me to try and understand about life. Simplistically, it is the way in which life exists. Yin and Yang, macro and micro, though opposite, function in balance. Examining this paradox more closely takes one into the preverbal “rabbit hole” of cosmic creation.

 

So what does this have to do with economics and black folks you may ask? To me, it suggests the same formula as other life forms exist in. We are independent individuals and we are a dependent collective of individuals at the same time. Our economy should be the “way of life” that was pre-designed. It should be in sync with nature.

 

There are some who propose “wealth creation” as a proper focus for black economic development. They think building our individual bank accounts with savings and owning land and property will help us the most. Buy black, keep our money in our communities has been a recent mantra. They see this as practicing black economics. Whereas I can agree there are some aspects of this philosophy I can support, by and large it resembles an emulation of what European societies have established. It perpetuates the idea of the “golden rule” and encourages its participants toward the pursuit of personal gain. Do we really think their economic system is working well for anyone other than the 1%? So why would we want to construct a black economy that is modeled on theirs? To me that defines insanity.

 

In nature, living organisms seek individual growth but, understanding that they do it to sustain the whole. So, here’s that paradox again. Do for individual self but do for whole-self also…both at the same time. Sustainability of economics comes with learning how to do both activities at the same time. We must intentionally think of the impact each view has on the whole. Each move we make should be cognizant of the two sides of the whole. Without one, the other side us useless.

 

We are taught in economics that there is a cycle where the energy of resource input is utilized by a community or whole body and recycled in another form that will in turn use and recycle this energy. Maintaining a balance in this cycle or economy allows and accommodates a sustainable amount of gain and loss. Because all cycles or economy’s are connected to each other on a larger scale they must be cognizant of the state of both individual and the larger whole cycle/economy’s. Too much loss will destroy the economy and too much gain will also destroy the economy. The key to a balanced economy or cycle is in how you absorb the loss or how you disperse the gain. When man is in alignment with nature there is nothing better than a thorough “smooth move”. When the colon eliminates a good deal of waste, there is relief felt throughout the entire body. The cycle is the divine design of the Creator.

 

The desire of many individuals in America has been to “keep up with the Jones’”. Once wealth is created, blacks or whites, they typically store it up in bank accounts; spend it on big houses, fine cars, jewelry and other self rewarding features. Too little of “wealth”, blacks and whites, is shared or spread. The gains of wealth by the “haves” could not have been made without the loss of economy of the “have nots”…but the wealthy perceive not. Consumption is a legitimate element in the matrix of economy. But over consumption causes an imbalance. Also, consumption of elements not needed or damaging to the whole can stunt growth or worst…destroy it. Ancient wisdom seeks need and keeps the ego of want in check.

 

In economies of various scales, there are always those in need. Conversely, there are those who have more than they need. A Nature Culture seeks and promotes balance on all levels at all times. Correspondently, an economy can exist within the body, mind and soul. A give and take of cells, a give and take of thoughts and a give and take of atmospheric energy. Creating a wise economy requires one to continually examine, analyze and make necessary adjustments to produce the optimum performance in the economy of “self”. As black folks become more and more conscious of the “self”, we must, at the same time, create our own narrative of past, present and future economics for ourselves.

 

Karim

 

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