Blog: Court the Protest Economy

Protesters walk up Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women’s March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on January 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. – 

We’re less than two months into 2017, and already we’ve seen one of the largest days of protests in U.S. history, multiple cities divesting from a major bank and an endless list of boycotts proposed by President Donald Trump’s supporters and opponents alike. We’re in a constant state of protest, say Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood on this week’s Make Me Smart, one that could very well last the next four to eight years.

So what does that mean for the economy? Hint: It goes beyond the widespread scarcity of pink yarn that occurred after the Women’s March, though Molly says that did happen.

Some of our listeners wrote in to share their stories of how they’ve observed protests informing their local economy, including Naomi, who works at a party store in Bethesda, Maryland:

Normally, January and February are our slowest months, enough that we even shorten our hours during this period. But the week before the women’s march was crazy. We sold out of almost all our posterboard (all white and most of the colors) and foam board, sold out of pink and pinkish yarn, and sold out of the large sizes of sharpies. At the hardware store next to us, they were running low on paint stirrers because everyone was taking them to use to hold up the signs. We’re still out of Elmer’s glue, and apparently,…

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