Sunday, November 10, 2013

White Flight

This is a guest post by The Urban Blabbermouth. Comments are welcome!
I am currently reading one of the August issues of The Economist Magazine. I think that puts me some eight issues behind.  Anyway, the cover story inquired into the state of Civil Rights for Blacks in the US as part of the magazine's reflections on the fiftieth anniversary of the March On Washington lead by Dr. King.  In the story were some comments about more cities with Black mayors than ever before.  Got me to wondering why are there more Black mayors than there are Black CEOs.  By CEO, I mean the corporate leadership positions known as The C-Suites, i.e., the Chairman, the CEO, the CFO, the CIO, and so on.  Stumbled across some very interesting comments on the internet.
The most direct and simplest answer to the question of why there are more Black mayors than Black CEOs is that it takes very little to be a politician.  The barriers to entry for a politician are quite low while the barriers to entry for a CEO are quite high. To become a politician only requires one to simply declare a candidacy and get a few votes.  To actually succeed and get elected to political office is not a requirement. To become a CEO requires either born into the rich family who owns the company or go to Biz school, get an MBA, work up the corporate ladder, and actually make it to the CEO position. 
Another and possibly truer reason found out there on the internet as to why are there more Black mayors than there are Black CEOs -- White Flight.  The white folks have fled from political office, not because they are running from black politicians, but because political office has lost power.  Political power has fled from political office to become economic power in the CEO’s office.  White folks have ceded the less powerful political positions to the Black folks while keeping the superior economic power positions of the CEO’s office for themselves. 

Political power was once the counterbalance to corporate economic power.  No longer.  CEOs now influence elected officials by fundraisers.  CEOs now influence legislation via lobbyists.  CEOs now influence regulatory agencies by offering high- paying corporate jobs to the friendliest managers of the regulatory agencies when they leave public office.  To understand this phenomenon and why it works so well, consider that the CEOs control your job and thus control your income, your lifestyle, and your kids’ future.

As power shifts from political to economic, white folks have shifted from political office to the CEO’s office, leaving the cities to the Black mayors. It is scary. The power shift is one of the reasons why there is a lot of concern about income inequality these days. The Occupy Wall Street Movement, while no longer active, may just be the first sign of where this power shift is taking us.