The United States government is a partner (collusion) in the near monopoly private enterprises that permeate our society. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Do you suspect there is price fixing in the price of gasoline in the United States? Here is a list of the major companies in the USA.
In your neighborhood the prices are never more than a few cents apart.
How difficult would it be for Chevron, Mobil, Shell, and Arco (the stations in my area) to meet discretely on a golf course and agree on the pricing? The answer is it wouldn’t be too hard.
Few companies have a true monopoly in any market. More common are “virtual monopolies” or “near-monopolies” that exist due to geography or brand recognition. When consumers hear the term monopoly, the first thing that comes to mind is often price-fixing. unfortunately they are correct. Jello Brand gelatin desert has a near monopoly. Intel processor chips had a near monopoly in PC computers. Bill Gates and his immediate inner circle earned an over the top fee for his Office programs. To this day he is still either the richest man in the world or nearly so.
During the Senate hearing on Comcast’s takeover of Time Warner Cable, Sen. Al Franken said the cable giant has over 100 lobbyists making its case. That is one lobbyist for every senator. Consumers Union says over 264,000 people have sent messages to congress asking that the merger be stopped. Comcast current share of the cable industry is estimated at 30%. Time Warner Cable current share of the cable industry is estimated at 19%.
The Kroger Co. is a major retail food market company that simply keeps growing larger and larger. The company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the latest posting on their web site. “We are delighted to welcome Harris Teeter to the Kroger Family of Stores.” That company owns Thumb Stores; Heritage Farms Dairy; HarrisTeeter Supermarkets, Inc. That company has stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland and Delaware. With the exception of Maryland and Delaware Kroger already has Kroger stores in those states. So whether you shop at Harris Teeter or Kroger you are shopping at the same company. Kroger ownership is widespread under a variety of names: Kroger, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, QFC, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Smith’s, and now Harris Teeter. This is not a complete list. Kroger Co. also approached Safeway about buying part of its operations. Kroger’s share of the entire retail food sales is unknown but the company has the largest share of the U.S. market.
Ticketmaster competitors are nowhere to be found. The company seems to have a lock on all sales of tickets for concerts, live theater, and sporting events. As an Example I logged into the Hollywood Bowl/Los Angeles Phil and found the web site’s basic address is Ticketmaster.com. Their fee is 8% to 10% of the price of the tickets. The only option to avoid the fee is a visit to the box office. There is no alternate sales agent. Ticketmaster had a more or less monopolistic position in the ticketing market after the purchase of its main competitors Ticketron and Live Nation.
LensCrafters is owned by Luxottica Group S.p.A. That company is the world’s largest eyewear company, controlling over 80% of the world’s major eyewear brands. Its best known brands are Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley. This company was featured in a 60 Minutes program. The company owns
- Sunglass Hut International
- Pearle Vision
- Pearle Opticians
- Sears Optical
- Target Optical
- Bright Eyes
- Budget Eyewear
- Cole Vision Care
- Optical Shop of Aspen
- Laubman & Pank
- Grand Optics LLC
Eyeglasses that are either plastic or wire frames cost almost as much as a computer.
Everyone is a victim! Our elected government is a partner in this crime!