Being 160 Years Behind, and Catching Up

Black Americans today have AS MUCH WEALTH as the typical Southern household in 1860.

This should be the headline, when viewing historical levels of wealth by major racial groups present in this country over the past 200 years…

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/1860-US-Average-State-Wealth_fig1_227450399

https://www.ifo.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2256.pdf

…”between 1860 and 1870, average total wealth decreased from $3,289 in 1860 to $3,018 in 1870″.

Meanwhile, white American wealth is about $140k today. That’s the equivalent of a 2.37% inflation rate, approx.

140k = 3289*(1.02373^(2020-1860))

Note, inflation over the past decade typically doesn’t exceed 2.5%.

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CUUR0000SA0L1E?output_view=pct_12mths

Generally speaking, white wealth has merely risen WITH the rate of inflation. Still, it took 160 years for the majority of American families to generate their wealth.

Moreover, it required extensive manipulation of government policy that has provided them a specific favorable racial advantage through Jim Crow, housing policy, and employment opportunities.

That said, black American wealth since 1860 has easily increased MUCH FASTER than the rate of inflation, and largely in the absence of comparable racial preferences.

Presume, that black household wealth at the abolishment of slavery was two dollars ($2.00).

As of 2016’s SCF data, black Americans have wealth estimated at $3,400.

https://www.nber.org/papers/w24085.pdf

On the upside… black household wealth has risen at an annual rate of about 4.76% over the past 160 years.

$3400 = $2*(1.0476^(2020-1860))

This is 100% faster growth of wealth than the [white] Americans who were also here in America 160 years ago.

This speaks to the incredible ability and proven past performance of a people to go from ‘zero’ in household wealth and grow at faster than average rates.

On the downside… there’s still a long way to go.

For all ‘intents and purposes’, there’s a negligible difference between the wealth of black Americans today and the wealth of [white] Americans just prior to the abolishment of slavery.

If effect, black Americans have the wealth of the typical American household of more than 150 years ago. Black Americans are 150 years BEHIND white Americans, in building wealth.

Investigate HOW this happened. It makes for a superb exercise for young people from economically disadvantaged families, to merely interview and ask family members HOW and WHY this happened.

Studying Economic History, from Family

Know the role of greed vs philanthropy.

Global Greed Rising, Only 2nd Time in Recorded History

With the exception of ‘gifts’ (eg, inheritances or philanthropic gifts to non-family), ALL wealth is only initially accessible through ‘earned’ income.

Edible Seeds: To Eat or Plant

EARNED INCOME is the fundamental common and underlying prerequisite for Social Security, Veterans benefits, dividend income, rental income, pension benefits, and some other ‘unearned’ income sources.

Many will argue that there’s no problem with debt and wealth inequalities, or even nothing wrong with income inequality.

Imbalances are natural – – someone will always have more.

The Distraction of the Wealth Tax

The injustice, however, comes if similar income opportunities become inaccessible by race and are inaccessible to people who otherwise were motivated, took the recommended steps to join the labor force, and were generally interested in contributing their talents to benefit community and society.

It appears that in recent years, some part (perhaps the majority) of income disparities can be explained by a ‘political favor’.

A Hall Pass to Discriminate

Meanwhile, it is generally impossible for an economically disadvantaged statistical minority group to beat out ‘monied interests’.

As such, there’s little likelihood of beating a political machine, at least within the next decade – and points to alternate sources for those disadvantaged people to approach.

Focus on the Fed

Instead, the options become more limited to reach a goal of eliminating the largest wealth disparities, which are currently, racial wealth disparities. Conversely stated, with some focused effort on a just a handful of useful strategies, the racial disparities in wealth CAN close.

Fortunately, black Americans are learning the averages (per household economics) to BEAT the averages.

Establish the Baseline ‘Risk’ Must Beat

Economically disadvantaged Americans KNOW how to use the poverty programs, to beat poverty!

Using Poverty Programs, to Get out of Poverty

Folks now KNOW where money flows to historically disadvantaged people, to position themselves and their family to be on the receiving end of those fund flows.

Bright Outlook for ‘Black Jobs’

People from the historically oppressed racial group of Americans KNOW how to find above average companies, over a long term basis.

Don’t Be Average

Best of all, an evolved and reformed ethic now opens the door more broadly for any American to dedicate their personal wealth to directly resolve economic disparities.

You Could Initiate a Workforce Diversity Program

‘Black American wealth since 1860 has easily increased MUCH FASTER than the rate of inflation’… With some coordination, the rate of black wealth accumulation can and will increase even faster. If 2x faster was achieved, perhaps even 20-30x faster is possible moving forward??

Can’t change what happened over the last 150 years, but each American certainly can take control of what happens to more favorably impact the household economics of historically disadvantaged Americans over the immediate next decade.

Author: pH14 Plan Staff

pH14 Plan is an economic development model for all U.S. households' participation. You can support this research by subscribing for more access, or contact us to make a gift.

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