Stuck on the Margins
In business there's this concept of a Marginal Producer. This is a company that has the highest costs in an industry compared to all the competition, so if prices fall too much or cost rise too much, they will be the first to go. So let's say your a manufacturer of bottles and the market price of bottles was $1.10 last year. If it costs you $1 to product a bottle, but your competition can produce at $0.75, they will make more money but you can at least make a profit and stay in business. But this year the price of bottles goes down to $0.90. You'll lose money if you try and keep selling bottles at $0.90, but your competition will still survive.
In 2017, the 100 companies in Black Enterprise's BE 100s list generated a total combined revenue of $27.5 billion. The top company...that's one single company...at the head of the Fortune 500 list, Walmart, made over 500 billion in revenue. Marginal producers are the first to go. The Black community is a marginal producer in the US economy, which is why we are the hardest hit by downturns and recessions. If every Black-owned business disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn't even make the news in the mainstream financial media. Everywhere in America we live on the margins.
WE AREN'T EVEN A BLIP ON THE RADAR OF THE US ECONOMY.
Everything we attempt without addressing this fundamental fact will do absolutely nothing to improve our situation or contribute in any meaningful way to Black empowerment or liberation.
It's not the money that's the issue, money is just an abstraction that represents value (time and energy). The $27.5 billion figure is one measure of capacity...and indirect way to gauge the resources we control. If we include the income generated by all Blacks in America, then that number would be much higher, but that's income from labor, not ownership. The money earned from that labor is not from resources we control and they can fire us from those jobs whenever they want. $27.5 billion says that out of the almost $20 trillion US economy, the top 100 Black owned companies represent roughly 0.14%.
Black people, you're playing at the margins. You have to think bigger and get out of this bubble. We're collectively impressed by Dr. Dre making a billion off of one deal or Diddy crossing $1 billion in net worth like that's something worthwhile. The wealth that these entertainers and athletes have is insignificant.
We don't need another luxury clothing brand, fashion boutique, liquor company, or athlete with a shoe deal. We need to dominate entire markets. Every single bar of soap, piece of clothing, bite of food, piece of furniture, drink of water, etc. that we consume should come from a Black-owned company or organization. We should own the fields that produce the hemp and cotton, the looms that turn that cotton into fabric, and the manufacturing facilities that turn that fabric into clothes. We should own the mines that produce the iron that gets used to make the steel that goes into the factory that produces the cars we drive and the factory that makes the batteries for those cars...because they'll be electric. We need to own cement plants, biofuels refineries, power plants, heavy duty construction equipment to build infrastructure, airlines, food production, water production, defense contractors, millions of acres of farmland...
Anything less is futile.
We need to come together collectively and invest in these things. Get over this petty distrust left over from slavery and Willie Lynch syndrome. We don't have time for such childishness. We have work to do people. The plan is outlined in In The Black 2050. We don't need everyone to agree or participate. With the amount of people that follow a D-list celebrity on instagram, we can turn our pitiful situation around in one or two generations. Let's get off the margins.