Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

The Latest Economic Idiocy

Why complain that people are solving hunger with food banks?

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.

Right.

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.

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jgh
jgh
1 year ago

Again, they don’t understand that the entire raison detre of being human is progressing beyond satisfying need and to satisfying want.
Nobody “needs” television, nobody “needs” novels, nobody “needs” model railways, nobody “needs” opera.

John B
John B
1 year ago

‘You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants…’

He is quite correct. In fact we do not ‘need’ any underarm spray deodorants; Mankind survived 300 000 without them. However we ‘want’ underarm spray deodorants and ‘want’ choice of which.

What we neither need nor want is rhymes-with-bankers deciding for us and telling us what we are going to get… Comrade.

Spike
Spike
1 year ago
Reply to  John B

Moreover, the private resources spent devising 23 deodorants are efforts to find out what we want, and of no concern to the person elected to preside over the Executive Branch of US Government. Each contender for that job is arousing crowds by promising to use emergency powers to be the tyrant they merely accuse Trump of being.

TD
TD
1 year ago

Is there a lot of stuff to buy in Cuba should you go? I read an article about someone’s visit there who suggested that should you go bring your own toilet paper as it’s hard to find.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 year ago
Reply to  TD

Cigars are cheap, though. And certain other human services.

Phoenix44
Phoenix44
1 year ago

Yet say we should be offered at least some choice in health and education and that makes you a fascist.

jgh
jgh
1 year ago
Reply to  Phoenix44

Which is really bizzaire as fascism is a *reduction* in public choice. Everything by the state, everything for the state, nothing against the state.

TD
TD
1 year ago

The sad thing really is the number of people who do believe choices should be limited. They really do believe that there are people who know exactly how many types of deodorant should be available to you, and that these people should be put in charge.

Pcar
Pcar
1 year ago

Unilever and Procter & Gamble: Two global sellers at war with each other for decades to sell best & most to consumer at lowest price in segmented market whilst maximising profits
Clothes: Ariel vs Persil and sub-brands
Dishes*: Fairy vs Persil and sub-brands

Then own brands and Colgate-Palmolive entered market too – more competition

* No longer sold: BP used to make & sell dish detergent (5L min) to trade, better and cheaper than Fairy & Persil

@TD

Agree, like the 33% who voted for Corbyn

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
1 year ago

Consumers vote with their wallets. The producers who sell crap don’t last. The producers that sell what consumers like get voted up. In certain socialist paradises like the one just off the American coast, consumers get the choice of yes or no.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

consumers get the choice of yes-if-they’re-sufficiently-politically-connected or no. FTFY

Snarkus
Snarkus
1 year ago

Excessive as in 12 cola drink varieties on one shelf is known to cause a bit of stress. Very First World problem. It is a bit wasteful. However, not as wasteful as a beaurocrats deciding the one or two national varieties of whatever. If an excess of fake competing brands of consumer goods is causing a whiny worry whipperupper a problem then we cant have any serious problems.

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