Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

What’s Your Monopoly?

In the early 1900s, 300 organisations controlled more than half of everything made or grown in America. Companies like Standard Oil and American Tobacco priced their products as high as they wanted.

The road to the monopoly was simple.

In the mid 1800s, men like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford built successful businesses and slowly bought up the local competitors.

Because Uncle Sam embraced a hands-free approach to business, the buy-out strategy worked like a charm.

Entire state industries became dominated by a single entity.

By the 1880s, the hulking companies used their power to squash competition nationwide.

Through a mix of acquisitions, backroom deals with railroad companies and price wars, every lone capitalist eventually threw in the towel. 

No one entrepreneur could stand tall against the might of the monopolists. 

Realising their weakness, the remaining capitalists tag in the government and demand a law to break the titans of industry.

By 1890, Washington churns out the Sherman Antitrust Act. A piece of legislation that bans all anti-competive practices.

Reigning president McKineley, however, was against government interference and left his successor, Teddy Roosevelt, to smash the monopolies to bits ten years later.

Without mega companies buying or stranglings its rivals, competition returns to the economy and prices go back to normal.

But despite the Sherman Act of 1890, monopolies still thrive today.

Walk into a Walmart and you’ll see dozens of different brands of toothpaste. But 70% of those toothpastes are owned by P&G and Colgate.

Sunglasses by Prada, Ray-Ban, Emporio Armani, Persol and Versace are all made by Luxottica, who controls 80% of the market.

Almost every coat hanger in America is made by one company, Mainetti.

It seems like size is the only way to become a monopoly. But you don’t need to be a giant to be one of a kind.

Any successful business makes products, services and promises that no other business can match.

Geico helps you save 15% or more on car insurance within 15 minutes.

Harley Davidson leads the US motorcycle market by offering an experience like no other.

McKinsey offers the best minds in management consulting.

What’s your monopoly?

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach