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            cute but greedy robber baron             essay

agri-business
beer
billboards
book publishing
commodities
motion pictures
packaged foods
PCs & internet
petroleum
railroads
telecom
TV & radio & newspapers

other monopolies


The Distinction 'Monopoly'

        The excesses of the late XIXth Century era of the Robber Barons brought about reform, though the battles were many and long and hard fought. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 gave the federal government power to stop such excesses, the 'muckraker' journalists after the Turn of The Century reformed child labor and worker safety, Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" brought about Theodore Roosevelt's Pure Food & Drugs Act and the Meat Inspection Act (both 1906), and the Standard Oil Trust was broken up by the United States Supreme Court in 1911.
        But rust never sleeps, and the Oligarchy forever engages in the Class War, with the goal of returning society to feudalism. So I.B.M. was 'unbundled' in the late 1960s, phone company AT&T was broken up in the 1980s, and the Department of Justice sued Microsoft in the 1990s.

        Part of the hold that the Oligarchy has on the U.S. economy today is the creation of not-quite-monopolies that control major industries here – with similar connections within the European Union and among the multinational mega-corporations around the globe.
        A true monopoly is when one corporation (or an individual) controls all of an industry, or all of a product or commodity, and performs dastardly acts to stifle competition.
        The mega-corporations of the XXIst Century are more subtle – half a dozen entities buy up a majority of an industry and merely work in seeming concert to stifle smaller, independent companies. A key factor are the business barons who serve on the inter-locking boards of many corporations – a kind of 'team-style' monopoly.
        Perfectly legal: no violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, and other statutes. But the result is the same as a monopoly.

        Accurate data on these 'team-style' monopolies has so far been difficult to uncover; research continues. Even the Departments of Commerce and Transportation and Energy obscure such matters as 'gross annual revenue' by industry. For example, online statistics on the U.S. oil industry are displayed by barrels (of crude oil), not by annual revenue – at least so far as I have been able to locate. The data for each industry reported below may be a few years old, but the situation has not gotten better since each group of figures were collected.


Anti-Monopoly 1973 board game by Ralph Anspach  "Anti-Monopoly" board game [ages 8-15; 1973] Created by Ralph Anspach
"The Real Estate Game for the 21st Century" • Created because the Monopoly™ board game seemed to promote monopolies & banks as positive actors in the economy; trademark infringement lawsuits from Parker Brothers followed, which creator Anspach settled (i.e. won); revised in 1984 as Anti-Monopoly II and re-released in 2005 without the number suffix. For 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up; includes game board, plastic playing pieces, cards, and play money • game entry at Wikipedia
University Games set made in China - in 10"x15" box [2016] for $14.55
University Games set made in China - in 7½x4¾" tin travel box [2016] for $9.98
35th Anniv Edition: University Games set - in 10½"x10½" box [2008] out of prodn/used


Reading Material

Corporate Crime Reporter newsletter & blog [est. 1987]

Cornered / Monopoly Capitalism book by Barry C. Lynn  "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and The Economics of Destruction" [2010]
by Barry C. Lynn
(of the New America Foundation [est. 1999])
"Brilliantly argued and meticulously reported, Cornered has changed my view of what's gone wrong with American capitalism." — Barbara Ehrenreich
Kindle Edition from Wiley [1/2010] for $10.49
John Wiley & Sons 8¾x6 pb [12/2011] for $13.79
John Wiley & Sons 9½x6½ hardcover [1/2010] for $25.60
John Wiley & Sons hardcover [1/2010] out of print/many used


Some Aggregate Monopoly Statistics
As-of year-end 2012: Four airlines control 69 percent of domestic U.S. air travel; Amazon, Inc. sells 27 percent of consumer books in USA, and Barnes & Noble
sells 16 percent; Wal-Mart, Inc. sells 57 percent of all groceries in USA; Universal Music Group controls 38 percent of the global recorded music market;
and AnheuserBusch-InBev sells 39 percent of all beer in the U.S.A., while Miller-Coors sells 26 percent.


MOTION PICTURE EXHIBITION INDUSTRY
The industry group N.A.T.O. {National Assn. of Theater Owners} says that 2004 box office for the U.S.
was $9.53 billion dollars, with total U.S. screens of 36,652. Statistics gleaned from their website show
that six corporations own 50 percent of the movie screens in America.

  • 1 Regal of TN ............................ 6,264 ... 17.1%
  • 2 A.M.C. + Loews ...................... 4,735 ... 12.9%
  • 3 Carmike of GA ........................ 2,450 .... 6.7%
  • 4 Cinemark of TX ....................... 2,347 .... 6.4%
  • 5 Cineplex Galaxy of Toronto ........ 1,560 .... 4¼%
  • 6 National Amusements of MA ....... 1,099 ...... 3%
    . . . . . . 18,455 screens ๗ 36,652 total = 50.4%!
  • 7 Century Theatres of CA .......... with 985 = 2.6%
  • 8 Kerasotes of Chicago ............. with 609 = 1.7%
  • 9 Marcus of WI ........................ with 503 = 1.4%

    Total box office revenue for 2005 was $8.75 billion, which is down from $9.53 billion in 2004.
    The obvious reasons are the stagnant economy and ticket prices, which only go up. Usually, ticket prices
    are first raised in New York City, and within a week or two, prices go up across the country.

    MOTION PICTURE DISTRIBUTION INDUSTRY

    Domestic (U.S. & Canada) Box Office Receipts for 2006

  • 1 Sony Pictures ........................... $1.7 billion
  • 2 Disney (Buena Vista) .................. $1.5 billion
  • 3 Fox ........................................ $1.4 billion
  • 4 Warner Bros. .......................... $1.06 billion
  • 5 Paramount ............................. $961 million
  • 6 Universal ............................... $798 million
  • 7 LionsGate .............................. $331 million
  • 8 New Line Cinema .................... $251 million
  • 9 Weinstein Co. ......................... $223 million
  • 10 Focus Features (Universal) ....... $180 million

    These ten companies control a combined 92 percent of the domestic (U.S. & Canada) market.


    BROADCAST MEDIA INDUSTRY
    "Five conservative companies own 90 percent of the media in America." — per talk show host Ed Schultz

    The top five radio companies in America [2009] are Clear Channel, Entercom, Citadel, C.B.S. Radio & Cox Radio
    The rule of thumb for buying a radio station is now down to 8 times earnings.

    In 2015, just six corporations - Time Warner, Disney-ABC, News Corporation-Fox, Viacom-MTV-Paramount,
    Comcast-NBC-Universal, and CBS - control roughly 90 percent of all media in the U.S.

    NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY
    "Thirteen newspaper chains own 54 percent of our country's daily print media."
    — Dennis Herrick, University of New Mexico

    "More than 80 percent of newspapers [in America] are owned by chains, with far more allegiance to Wall Street
    than to the towns [that] they allegedly serve." — Richard McCord, journalist of Santa Fe, New Mexico

    The Media Monopoly book by Ben H. Bagdikian   The New Media Monopoly 20th Edition book by Ben H. Bagdikian   "The New Media Monopoly: A Completely Revised and Updated Edition With Seven New Chapters" [orig 1983, rev 2004]
    by {editor & journalist} Ben H. Bagdikian

    Kindle Edition from Beacon Press [9/2014] for $14.04
    Beacon Press 20th Edition 8½x5½ pb [5/2004] for $24.71
    Beacon Press 20th Edition pb [5/2004] out of prodn/used
    Beacon Press 20th Edition pb [5/2004] out of prodn/used



    RAILROAD FREIGHT INDUSTRY
    There are only seven Class I railroads in the U.S.A., and according to Trains Magazine, they handle 91 percent
    of all railroad freight business, which in 2004 was total operating revenue of $40.5 billion. In Canada, the situation is similar,
    with large portions of C.N. and C.P. revenue coming from their U.S. subsidiaries.

    {Figures below are in millions of U.S. dollars.}

  • 1 Union Pacific ................ $12,215M
  • 2 B.N.S.F. ....................... $10,946M
  • 3 C.S.X Rail .................... $8,020
  • 4 Norfolk Southern ........... $7,312
  • 5 Kansas City Southern ...... $639.5
  • 6 Grand Trunk {U.S division of CN} – (data not located)
  • 7 Soo Line {U.S division of CP} – (data not located)
  • A Canadian National ....... $5,457M
  • B Canadian Pacific – (data not located)

    . . . and of course, Amtrak [est. 1971] is the heavily-subsidized interstate passenger rail transportation monopoly.


    PETROLEUM INDUSTRY
    Five U.S. petroleum companies control 56.3 percent of the market and the top ten companies
    own 83.3 percent (per January 2006 Senate testimony by Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen).

    The breakdown for 2004 is as follows:

  • 1 Conoco-Phillips et al ........... 13%
  • 2 Valero-Shamrock ............ 12.8%
  • 3 Exxon-Mobil .................. 11.9%
  • 4 Shell et al ...................... 9.8%
  • 5 British Petroleum ............. 8.8%
  • 6 Chevron-Texaco-Unocal .... 5.9%
  • 7 Citgo ............................ 5.8%
  • 8 Marathon ....................... 5.5%
  • 9 Sunoco ......................... 5.3%
  • 10 Koch-Flint Hills .............. 4.5%
    ... for a total of 83.3%
    leaving independent oil companies with only 16.7% !!



    BOOK PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

    The number of independent booksellers has declined from 3250 in 1999 to 1400 today; independent stores account for 10 percent of the market,
    chains (like B&N or Borders) account for 30 percent, superstores (like Wal-Mart & Target) account for 45 percent, with 15 percent sold 'online and other'.
    — per American Booksellers Assn. in 2010

    If the same book is available in paper and e-book formats at Amazon, 40 percent of their customers
    now order the electronic version. — per New Yorker Magazine, April 2010

    "Although [e-books] account for only an estimated 3 to 5 percent of the market, their sales increased 177 percent in 2009."
    — per New Yorker Magazine, April 2010

    According to Publishers Weekly in June 2014, Amazon sells 41% of all new books that are sold in America;
    Amazon also sells 65% of all books purchased online, whether digital or print.

    The top ten publishers in the 'trade' category for 2008 were:

  • 1 Random House .............. 15.9%
  • 2 Pearson .......................... 11%
  • 3 HarperCollins ................ 10.6%
  • 4 Simon & Schuster ............ 9.3%
  • 5 Hachette ....................... 6.7%
  • 6 Scholastic ...................... 5.2%
  • 7 Thomas Nelson .............. 4..7%
  • 8 Holtzbrinck & Macmillan ... 4.4%
  • 9 Tyndale House ............... 1.9%
  • 10 John Wiley .................. 1.9%

    ... so that the top ten publishers control 70 percent of the market,
    and the top five control 53.5 percent of the market



    OUTDOOR ADVERTISING
    U.S. outdoor advertising gross revenue for 2006 {per OAAA} was $6.81 billion.
    The top three companies control 54.2 percent of the U.S. market.

    Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Inc. [est. 1891]

    logo of Clear Channel Outdoor
    FIRST PLACE: Clear Channel Communications of Phoenix, Arizona
    $1.341 billion in U.S. revenue for 2006 = 19.7% of the U.S. market (also #1 worldwide)

    entry at Wikipedia • company website

    logo of C.B.S. Outdoor
    SECOND: C.B.S. Outdoor of Phoenix, Arizona
    $1.23 billion in revenue for 2006 = 18% of the U.S. market

    entry at Wikipedia • company website

    logo of Lamar Advertising
    THIRD: Lamar Advertising Company of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    $1.120 billion in revenue for 2006 = 16.5% of the U.S. market

    entry at Wikipedia • company website

    logo of Van Wagner Communications
    FOURTH: Van Wagner Communications of New York City [re-formed 1997]
    company website

    logo of JCDecaux Group of France
    FIFTH: JCDecaux Group [est. 1964] of Paris, France
    also second place worldwide (after Clear Channel)

    entry at Wikipedia • company website


    AGRI-BUSINESS INDUSTRY
    "A century ago, there were 15,000 kinds of apples in America; now there are 1500. Among the varieties that have disappeared are 96 percent of corn, 95 percent of cabbages, and 81 percent of tomatoes. Today, four giant suppliers (Monsanto, Syngenta, Limagrain & DuPont/Pioneer Hi-Bred) control more than half of the [U.S.] seed market." — Novella Carpenter in Mother Jones Magazine

    "Cargill has cornered about a quarter of global grain production. Two companies, Monsanto & Pioneer, control 60 percent of the U.S. corn & soybean seed market. The top four beef packers dominate 83 percent of the market; four pork packers control 64 percent of the pork market; and the top four poultry producers account for 50 percent of that market."
    — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur [Dem OH] in The Nation Magazine, February 2006 issue


    The four biggest poultry companies - Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms - control nearly 60% of the chicken market. (June 2016)


    PACKAGED FOODS INDUSTRY
    This section is new in 2013 and incomplete: What data I could find is all 'apples and oranges', with 2011 & 2012 annual results and 2013 quarterly results, some before and some after recent mergers & splits, etc. The data here is boiled down and inaccurate, but is a display of the shape of the packaged foods industry in the U.S.

    The top ten companies (in order) up thru 2012 are Kraft Foods Group {$18.339B revenue in 2012}, General Mills
    {$14.88B revenue in 2011}, Kellogg Company {$13.2B revenue in 2011}, ConAgra Foods {$13.3B revenue
    in 2012}, Smithfield Foods, H.J. Heinz Company, Dean Foods, Hormel Foods {$7.9B revenue in 2011},
    Campbell Soup, and Ingredion; the second ten companies are J.M. Smucker, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters,
    Gruma, Dole Food, Mead Johnson Nutrition, McCormick & Company, Hillshire Brands (formerly Sara Lee)
    {nearly $4B annual sales}, Flowers Foods, WhiteWave Foods, and Sanderson Farms.

    Rough analysis: the top ten companies have a 28% market share, and the top twenty have a 37% market share.


    TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY
    In the United States, 11,000 companies provide telecommunication services –landline, wireless, cable & satellite –
    with $518 billion in revenues. The largest 50 companies hold nearly 90 percent of the market. — per Hoovers

    The data below is incomplete & for different years:
    AT&T et al .................... $119.3 billion (2008)
    Verizon ....................... $93.78 billion (2007)
    Sprint Nextel ................. $35.64 billion (2008)
    Comcast ....................... $34.26 billion (2008)
    German-owned T-mobile .... $17.1 billion (2006)

    Per this rough data, these five companies hold 56% of market share by revenue (AT&T alone has 23%).


    COMMODITIES MARKETS
    About one-fourth of the world's aluminum is stored in Goldman Sachs warehouses in Detroit, Michigan; the raw materials are being released as a daily trickle
    that has shortened the supply and driven up the price. Goldman Sachs makes $165 million in storage fees per year, as well as profits from trading the
    essentially-cornered commodity. — per Reuters, July 2011


    The BEER MONOPOLY

    The United States ranks 13th in per capita beer consumption at 81.6 liters, and is second in total volume against #1 China.
    Beer accounts for roughly 85% of all alcohol volume sold in the United States and annually generates over $91 billion in retail sales. South African company Breweries-Miller
    became the largest brewing company in the world when it acquired Royal Grolsch in 2002; InBev was then the second-largest beer-producing company in the world,
    and Anheuser-Busch was third. But when Anheuser-Busch acquired InBev in November 2008, the new Anheuser-Busch InBev company became the largest brewer in the world.

    UPDATE 2012: AnheuserBusch-InBev sells 39 percent of all beer in the U.S.A., Miller-Coors sells 26 percent
    – which leaves 35 percent of the market to all the other commercial and craft brewers in the country.

    American Beer, Wine & Booze Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

    2010 brand statistics from Beverage Industry Magazine, March 2011

    Anheuser-Busch InBev places first:
    #1 Bud Light – 28.5% market share
    #2 Budweiser – 11.4% market share
    #5 Natural Light – 6.0% market share
    #6 Busch Light – 4.0% market share
    #7 Busch – 3.6% market share
    #10 Natural Ice – 1.9% market share
    — for a total of at least 55.4 percent share of the U.S. beer market

    Molson Coors places second:
    #3 Coors Light – 10.2% market share
    #9 Keystone Light – 2.6% market share
    — for a total of 12.8 percent share of the U.S. beer market

    SAB-Miller places third:
    #4 Miller Lite – 9.1% market share
    #8 Miller High Life – 2.7% market share
    — for a total of 11.8 percent share of the U.S. beer market

    ... which adds up to three corporations controlling at least 80 percent of the U.S. beer market.


    PERSONAL COMPUTER INDUSTRY
    Microsoft has 90 percent of the personal computer market, though hundreds of other vendors make the products and receive the actual revenue.
    'Poor' Apple/Mac is still only 10% of the PC market; their main business is now the fantastically successful iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

    Back in mid-2010, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser had a 63 percent market share in the U.S.; Mozilla's free Firefox browser
    was second with 20 percent; Apple's fast-rising Safari browser had 10 percent; and Google's Chrome browser was in fourth place.
    Worldwide, estimates gave Internet Explorer 53 percent, Firefox 29 percent, Chrome 8 percent, Safari 6 percent, and Opera 2 percent.

    New browser statistics as-of May 2013: Google's Chrome has 52.9% of the market (up from 48.4% in January); Firefox is second with 27.7% (down from
    30.2% in January); Microsoft's Internet Explorer is third with 12.6% (down from 14.3% in January); with Safari at 4.0% and Opera at 1.6%.

    As-of mid-2014, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser had 58% of the market, Google's Chrome browser had 21%,
    Mozilla's free Firefox browser had 15%, Safari had 5%, and Opera had 1%.

    As-of June 2015, the top seven browsers according to StatCounter Global Stats: Google Chrome has 44% market-share;
    Safari (Apple OS only) has 13.4%; Internet Explorer {down from 53% in 2010} has 12.2%; Firefox has 10.7%; Android Browser has 6.3%;
    Opera (mostly in Africa) has 5.16%; UC Browser has 5.16%; and the browsers after that are below 1% each.

    SEARCH ENGINES
    During August 2009, Google handled almost 71 percent of [worldwide] internet search inquiries; Yahoo! placed a distant
    second with 17.2%; Microsoft's new Bing engine is already receiving 8.6%; Ask placed fourth with 2.4%
    – and in fifth place is Everybody Else with a teeny 0.92%.

    Search engine usage statistics for May 2012: Google handled 66.7 percent of searches; Bing was distant second with 15.4 percent
    (vs. 14.1 percent a year prior); Yahoo was third with 13.4% (vs. 15.9% a year prior); Ask did 3%; AOL did 1.5%.

    Search engine global usage statistics for October 2015: Google was used for 69¼% of online searches; Bing 12¼%;
    Yahoo 9.2%; China's Baidu 6½%; A.O.L. 1.1%; Ask 0.24%; with Lycos & Excite each showing zero usage.

    INTERNET REVENUE
    Just five corporations earned 70% of the $300B in revenue generated by all internet companies over the past year: Amazon, Inc. and Alphabet, Inc. (Google) took in
    a combined 57%; the others are Facebook, Inc., eBay, and Q.V.C. owner Liberty Interactive. — per USA Today (Nov 2015)

    WM Worry / Internet Freedom Page


    RETAIL / DEPARTMENT STORES
    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. [est. 1962] is the world's largest public corporation by revenue, and is so large that its 2008 U.S. sales
    were almost 50 percent more than its seven closest competitors combined, including Target and Sears.

    Boycott Wal-Mart !!!


    THE CARPET INDUSTRY
    About 70 percent of the world's tufted carpet is produced in the vicinity of Dalton, Georgia, USA.


    WORLDWIDE SODA POP INDUSTRY
    The Coca-Colaฎ Company, with all their various brands & flavors,
    sells 51 percent of the world soda pop market (February 2004).

    'Soda Politics - Taking on Big Soda & Winning' book by Dr. Marion Nestle  "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (and Winning)" [2015]
    by Dr. Marion Nestle, Foreword by Neal Baer, Afterword by Mark Bittman

    book won the 2016 James Beard Award for Writing & Literature
    Oxford Univ Press 9¼x6½ hardcover [10/2015] for $19.46
    Oxford Univ Press hardcover [10/2015] out of print/used
    Oxford Univ Press hardcover [10/2015] out of print/used


    THE CANDY INDUSTRY
    In 2008: Mars Candy controls 14 percent of the U.S. candy market; Cadbury controls 10 percent;
    Nestl้ controls 7.5 percent; Hershey has 4.5 percent; Kraft Foods 4 percent (per Time Magazine)
    – which gives 40 percent of the U.S. market to five corporations.


    LANDFILLS / WASTE
    Three companies operate 40 percent of the landfill / waste removal industry, and they have no interest in
    environmental restrictions. The greenhouse gas methane traps 21 times more heat than carbon dioxide does
    (per the E.P.A.), with much methane now being produced in landfills and by agribusiness.


    BANKING & CREDIT INDUSTRY
    Three too-big-to-fail banks – Bank of America, Citigroup & JPMorganChase –
    control 58 percent of the U.S. credit card market. (2009 data)

    "In 1956, 56 percent of profits in the U.S. economy derived from manufacturing, while 8.3 percent came from
    the financial sector. In 2007, manufacturing produced 10 percent of profits, while the financial sector produced
    26 percent of profits." — The Washington Spectator

    Want to know where you can move your checking and savings accounts away from the Big Banks?
    Check out free website www.MoveYourMoney.info [2010-2015]
    www.MoveOurMoneyUSA.org {last update 2012}
    'move your money' tag archive at Institute for Local Self-Reliance {last update 2012}

    F.F.E.I.C. list of total assets of the Top 50 Bank Holding Companies


    ELECTRICAL POWER INDUSTRY
    U.S. energy consumption is 44 percent coal, 24 percent natural gas, 20 percent nuclear,
    7 percent hydroelectric, and 5 percent other. — per Time Magazine pie chart, Feb 2010

    "U.S. electric utilities [use] seven times more water than all U.S. homes, 1½ times the water used by all the farms
    in the country. In fact, 49 percent of all water use in the United States is for power plants." — Charles Fishman

    U.S. electricity generation in 2013 was 39.1 percent from coal, 27.6% natural gas, 19.5% nuclear, 6.7% hydro, 4.2% wind, 2.0% solar,
    1.0% wood, 0.7% petroleum, 0.5% waste, and 0.4% geothermal — per pie chart by Institute for Energy Research


    MUSIC INDUSTRY
    Just three music giants control the majority of the music industry, with Universal-E.M.I. in control of nearly forty percent (2012).


    PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY
    In 2014, the pharmaceutical industry spent over $250 million on lobbying and campaign contributions - far more than any other industry in America.

    Later in 2016, Pfizer – the country’s largest pharmaceutical company, with nearly $1 billion in annual government contracts – plans to renounce its U.S. citizenship by
    merging with Allergan, an Irish-based company. This would allow Pfizer to dodge the $35 billion tax bill it owes on its stash of untaxed offshore profits.


    AIR TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY
    Only four airline giants control 80% of domestic U.S. seats: American, Delta, Southwest, and United; the airline industry hauled off $33B in profits in 2015, nearly 90% over the prior year.



    political cartoon of John D. Rockefeller [1839-1937] and the Standard Oil Monopoly           political cartoon from "Puck Magazine" about Cornelius Vanderbilt [1794-1877] as 'The Modern Colossus'

    here on the 'Things To Worry About' Business & Economic Monopolies Page
    at Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment

    top of page • essay • agri-business • beer • billboards • book publishing • commodities • movies & TV & radio •

    packaged foods • PCs & internet • petroleum • railroads • telecom • other monopolies

    . . . and yes, we finally created a page about the Parker Brothers Monopoly™ Game in 2016.

                                       

    Things to Worry About Index Page
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