SUSU Economics: 8 Informed Reasons to Seriously Consider Buying Black
Our Million Money March is synonymous with cash mobs. If you are familiar with some of the viral flash mobs of the past, you know the mechanics. Every one shows up at one place and at one time to do some sort of dance, song or activity. But instead of singing songs, we come with a more powerful agenda. You bring your wallet with the goal of making efforts to support a business owner. Many have spoken about the importance of buying black and supporting black owned banks but where is the evidence? I believe it is important, you believe that it is important but why?
To answer these questions we’ll need to look at a couple of prime examples in our history, both the “buy local” initiatives across the world and economic empowerment efforts of our immigrants. Let’s first look at the buy local initiatives. In a later post we’ll explore the wealth building tactics that other communities have soundly executed.
It’s important to note that many buy local initiatives really meant buy from small business owners as opposed to other businesses and corporations that act more like an economic vacuum. They suck money out of the community never to return their profits to the people. These “buy local” initiatives are still widely used in impoverished and flourishing communities across the world. They ensure that the homogenous makeup of the community typically meant that when you bought local, you likely supported a business owner who was of the same culture, class and demographic of yourself. This is why buy black & buy local are so synonymous. The color of our skin, ensures that we have more in common in terms of our social acceptance and historical oppression than what we don’t have in common. Our similarities and differences goes beyond skin color but there is a historical narrative that encompasses our likeness in our blackness.
Some of the benefits of buying black are bulleted below. To cement these as facts, not only as thoughts and opinions, must of these points come directly from researchers, economists and think tanks from the buy local arena.
1. When you buy black, money stays in the hands of black people longer. Duh and of course. However, what if you think of a purchase as a gift. The extra income means the next black and brown brother or sister does not have to use his or her own dollar. This is the recycling mechanism of buying black. It also allows all of us to use each other’s economic strength in unison (Buy Local: How to Boost the Economy).
2. Regarding our first point, “That means those purchases are twice as efficient in terms of keeping the local economy alive” says David Boyle of The New Economic Foundation. This think tank compared the economic impact of buying from a local farmer versus buying from a chain supermarket. They found that communities that bought locally, in SUSU’s case buying black, saved twice as much money. Meaning their entire amount of economic savings and strength were twice as strong as communities that did not buy local. What would it take to double our own economic strength?
3. "Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going”, when you get out and spend at big corporations and chain companies… “it flows out, like a wound." –David Boyle of the New Economic Foundation. Moreover, when our blood and money leaves the community we see the entry of more corporations. This is why Main Street in city West looks just like Main Street in city East. By supporting these corporations and denying our support for local black owned businesses it sucks all the money out of the community as well as opens the doors for gentrification. SUSU Movement, aims to shine a light on our online black owned businesses and creatives. Imagine if we didn’t support these black owned online stores. We all just stopped buying black! What you’d see is revenue increases for corporations like Amazon. Amazon online would become an even bigger monopolizing conglomerate than it already is. We would essentially be supporting the gentrification of our online businesses. Something to remember this cyber Monday.
4. But I can’t buy black for everything! That’s likely true but by starting to do so in large numbers black entrepreneurs can begin to identify what gaps in services and goods exists in a given area and fill the need once there is the supportive signifier that this new businesses venture will be a success. Nobody is going to start a black owned printing/publishing agency if no one is buying from black owned book stores or comic book stores. We need to support first, then build where there are gaps! (Susan Witt, Executive Director of the E.F. Schumacher Society)
5. But it’s so expensive to buy black! Those corporations have the best prices! This is MOSTLY true but we need to think of the longer term effects here to really see the holes in this theory. While the cost of goods maybe cheaper now, the money simply rises to the top of the chain of the corporation, and a lot of the time across seas in over shore accounts that garnish greater yields through tax breaks. This is not only horrendous for the black economic empowerment movement it is detrimental for the entire US economy. Our spending is really a major factor in the class divide. When you are faced with the higher prices, it’s important to remember the black community as such, a community. If you spend a higher amount remember that you are putting the money right back into our own hands. This will take courage and faith! Also remember that the differences in prices fall away when you consider black employment as well as the relationship that is created through the transactional process. The Nielson report 2015 shows us that the leading employer of black people are black business owners.
6. Flexibility of black markets. With the growing global economy, demand, supply, manufacturing and employment we are all effected by the rise in fall of external non-American economies. As such, trends change and small businesses have a better level of adaptability than major corporations. Take a look at the car industry in Detroit. When our global economy changed that entire industry caved in as the car makers pulled their plants out of Detroit leaving a gaping hole in the local economy. Millions were effected, property value shrunk, crime and substance abuse increased. Small businesses were hurt too, but if there were more local businesses and less corporations that hole would not have been as devastatingly painful. Small businesses have much more adaptably regarding the swings of our global economy, that is, as long as they are supported locally.
7. Velocity and circulation speed of our money is a sign of a healthy economy. According to David Morris, Vice President of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit economic research and development organization based in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., when money moves quickly through an economy by buying black, that money passes through more people’s spending portfolio. When you buy black, chances are that you are not supporting a huge corporation or chain store, we just don’t have that many [YET!]. It’s much more likely that it is a small business with lower profits. Profits that go right back into operational costs, supplies, upkeep, advertising and paying employees-which increases the likelihood of those profits going right back to the black community.
8. To build on point 7, velocity of our dollar is a constant economic principle. Because of the financial sector in the states, we no longer see the same velocity. Yes there is more money in America, however our GDP is shrinking. While the financial sectors have succeeded in making America rich, money tends to stay away from the middle and bottom class because it is stuck to the ceilings of a majority of rich white males. This impedes the velocity of all our dollars, not just the black dollar. It is a wonder why we continue to feed the beasts that bites us?
"For communities, this is a hopeful message in a recession because it's not about how much money you've got, but how much you can keep circulating without letting it leak out."-David Boyle
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