Is burning money an effective or ethical tactic?

    Last month, the Feminist Initiative (FI), a feminist party in Sweden, lit a barbecue and proceeded to publicly burned 100,000 kronor ($13,087), to protest the wage gap between men and women in the country.

    As FI leader Gudrun Schyman explained to Swedish public radio:

    “One hundred thousand kronor is the amount women lose each minute when we have the system we have now, where salaries are set according to gender,” she said.

    “It’s not funny to set fire to money. I know it’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of money for me, and it’s a lot of money for many others,” Schyman told a radio reporter, adding she realized there was a long list of deserving charities the money could have gone to instead.

    “But Feminist Initiative is a political party. We are not a charity, we work to change reality.”

    The move provoked criticism, but also generated significant media coverage, both nationally and internationally, leading some to declare it a success.

    When there are so many people in need, however, is burning money an ethical tactic? My gut reaction to this story was critical. But how different is physically burning money from spending the same amount on a 30-second political ad on television or a half-page ad in a national daily newspaper?



    Recent Stories

    • Analysis

    The PR industry aims to demobilize environmental movements — here’s what organizers can do about it

    April 22, 2021

    Public relations poses distinct threats to environmental movements, but activists are becoming more savvy and developing new forms of resistance.

    • Feature

    Vietnam veterans descended on the Capitol 50 years ago this week — not to impede democracy but to practice it

    April 20, 2021

    Bigger than the Jan. 6 insurrection, the 1971 antiwar mobilization known as Operation Dewey Canyon III altered the course of the war and uplifted the nation.

    • Analysis

    Amid Chauvin trial and more police killings, calls for ‘peaceful’ protests sound obnoxious

    April 19, 2021

    As Martin Luther King Jr. preached, we must reject peace that prioritizes calm over justice — and work toward building a positive peace instead.