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Tyler Cowen

Protesters Are United by Something Other Than Politics

Consumer concerns are increasingly driving many public demonstrations.

Downtown Beirut, Oct. 21, 2019.

Downtown Beirut, Oct. 21, 2019.

Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

The world increasingly finds itself under protest. As 2019 enters its final quarter, there have been large and often violent demonstrations in Lebanon, Chile, Spain, Haiti, Iraq, Sudan, Russia, Egypt, Uganda, Indonesia, Ukraine, Peru, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Colombia, France, Turkey, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Brazil, Malawi, Algeria and Ecuador, among other places.

What gives? One possibility is that all of this is a random coincidence. Another is that news of such protests is now much more widely dispersed, and so they seem more widespread. But it is also worth considering what cause or causes these protests might share — and, more important, the means they have to spread their concern.