Smashing Windows At The G20 : Planet Money When a protester breaks a window, someone gets the business, right?
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Smashing Windows At The G20

"Capitalism is bad." That's what the G20 protesters smashing the Royal Bank of Scotland's windows in London are saying, according to the CNN reporter on the scene. Another global summit, another battle with the police.

I don't mean to get moralistic here, but I don't think the protesters have any right to smash windows — and in any case, they're only making business for whichever capitalist windows company gets called in to replace the glass. The bank and its insurers take the hit for fixing the windows, the taxpayers take the hit for police wages, and the glazier gets the business. It's all money that might have been spent more productively elsewhere. (See also "The Broken Windows Fallacy.")

More generally, I would hope we can get past the scripted nature of these big confabs — from the protesters egging each other on to the world leaders charged with fixing this economic mess. More on that in today's podcast.

Bonus: Citizen photos from a peaceful march.