Will The Barrel Economy Of The Caribbean Become Detrimental To The Millennial Generation?

CBx Vibe:Famalay” Machel Montano

By Majella Mark

  • The Caribbean faced a -6% GDP decline in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • African American Millennials comprise 25%, about 11.4 million, of the total U.S. Black population

The Black community is familiar with the Black Tax, a financial strain this demographic endures as the successful relative in the family.  In the Caribbean community, it goes a step further with a whole entity called the Barrel Economy. The Barrel Economy is similar to the Black Tax but more tangible with actual barrels filled with goods that are shipped periodically to families back in one’s home nation or the nation of heritage. With the Caribbean facing a decline of 6% in overall GDP in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tax burden keeps getting heavier.

Why This Matters: About 27% of Caribbean economies relied heavily on tourism and travel, making up at least 40% of their GDP. This means if there is no tourism in the islands, there are no jobs for the people. If that is the case, those jobless people will seek out assistance from their relatives abroad for goods to make up for their losses.

This becomes a bigger issue if those relatives abroad who don’t have an income stream themselves. In the United States, the unemployment rate for Black people was at 11.4% in October, which is 1.3% higher than in 2008 when the recession hit. It’s important to consider that African American Millennials comprise 25%, about 11.4 million, of the total U.S. Black population. Unfortunately, 2008 was a time when many millennials were just getting into the workforce to discover there were no jobs. As we know this created a ripple effect hitting the generation that just got on their feet to then face another blow in 2020.

Situational Awareness: These small countries are now using governance to provide financial stability for their people through trade programs and project grants. We could actually see a shift in lifestyle for young Black Caribbean professionals and their families back in the islands. Many nations are looking beyond the clutch of tourism and embarking on the business of environmental manufacturing, eCommerce, and food export. This shift can give opportunity for younger generations Americans to build generational wealth properly, and allow that financial strain to eventually disappear and allow flourishing abundance for the whole family.

CBx Vibe:Famalay” Machel Montano

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