Corporate monopolies are hiding in your grocery aisle
Psst: The same company is selling you Q-Tips, mayonnaise, and Ben & Jerry’s.
Sigh. One company selling you three different things is not a monopoly. A monopoly would be either the one company selling you everything, or only the one company selling you ear cleaners, only the one company selling you mayo, only the one company selling you ice cream.
At your local pharmacy, the options can feel overwhelming, even in the deodorant aisle. Dove, Axe, or Degree? Or maybe Secret, Gillette, or Old Spice? Or maybe Speed Stick?
While the brands and labels are different, you actually don’t have that many choices at all. Three companies basically own the aisle — Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate-Palmolive. They’re three of the biggest consumer goods conglomerates in the world.
That’s the thing about the choices you think you have in spending your money: A lot of the time, they’re just not real.
Three suppliers is not a monopoly. It’s an oligopoly. And have you noticed what these brainboxes haven’t? They list 7 options, conclude that since they come from three companies you’ve no choices. Except they’ve just listed 7 choices, haven’t they?
It also rather ignores Bernie:
You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants
Which is rather more than three choices, isn’t it? And that’s before we get to the own brand stuff….
The Economic Liberties Project report delves into the “illusion of choice” — basically, the fact that across industries, a handful of corporations control the majority of products, brands, and services. It ranges from cereals, beers, and snacks to car rental services, hotels, and even eyeglasses.
So, to sum up. Americans have lots of choices of stuff. Because a few companies produce such a lot of choices Americans don’t have much choice.
For their next trip they’ll prove that Cuba is rich. Because when someone on an American income goes there they can buy lots of stuff.