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Anti-war movement rakes in profits, too

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – There will always be corporations and people who profit from a war. Someone has to make and distribute whatever it is that one makes and distributes during combat. And someone buys it for a higher price. But what about profiting from not wanting to go to war? I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Call me naive, but I really thought that people who make and distribute anti-war paraphernalia were doing it out of conviction and the kindness of their heart. When I was buying bumper stickers and buttons and batches and posters in the early 1970's, it was understood, by me, that whatever profit one was making was going back into the movement. And now 30 years later, I was under the same assumption. Not so, says yesterday's New York Times.

A most enlightening article revealed, as one vendor calls it, "the peace dividend of war." As the anti-war sentiment spreads and huge peace rallies and walks spring up over the country, the need to express these feeling while driving or drinking a cup a coffee are growing. In response to this call, many homegrown business are also springing up while others have been in the business for 30 years.

At a recent rally in San Francisco, several vendors took in $3,500 each. It's reported one vendor grossed $6,000 for the day. Obviously, Lockheed Martin doesn't need to watch its back. But after a little contemplation, I thought, why not? No one's a communist any more. We live in America; we love our country and this country is capitalistic.

If you can gross a few thousand dollars in a few hours by selling a button for a dollar, or a $1.50 bumper sticker or a $15 tee shirt - go for it! The article points out yes, there are a couple of vendors that are in it just to capitalize on the sentiment, but most do it out of principle.

I'm so proud of today's anti-war movement. No anger, no burnings, just a statement. "Give peace a chance." And if someone is keeping a roof over their head spreading the message, more power to 'em. These entrepreneurs are making a living doing what they believe in. Not a bad concept. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m. To contact Maxine Shapiro, please send emails to