Monopolies monopolize, it’s how they become monopolies. This is bad because they exert control over your service and supply chain. They can control your resources and this leads to an unfair game of free enterprise. AMIBA and others want to change that.

When a company grows so large that it can control an unfair share of the marketplace, it can also control supply chains, pricing and even what products are made and how. This limits what is available to your business and what you can offer your customers.

We are all aware of the history of WalMart. Company grows first in small towns across the country by putting the local department store, hardware store, grocery store and more out of business with cheap products for cheap prices. Think that’s free enterprise? How about when the strategy is to move in, run everyone else out of business and then close every other location so people now have no choice but to drive farther to obtain the basics. Think that’s a little predatory? How about when WalMart grows so big that they become manufacturers’ largest customer by far and this enables them to set prices and even ingredients for products that your business used to carry. Think that’s unfair? Now they convince your customers that they should shop at Walmart because they have the best prices (which they don’t) and you can’t get those products anymore anyway. Now you’re getting it. That’s a monopoly.

But there’s more to madness. WalMart now employs more people than the US military. By destroying the competition, they also destroy opportunities for employees. The single largest group of food stamp recipients in America is WalMart employees. So not only did they destroy local businesses but each and every one of us is subsidizing their gigantic profits with our tax dollars. Three members of the Walton family (WalMart’s owners) are in the top 15 richest people in America—and we’re subsidizing them. We’re not against helping people who need help. We’re against working people making so little that they need help.

We’re all familiar with WalMart but the new monopolies are likely to be technology or service companies. Being a monopoly isn’t just about how big they are, it’s about how much they control. Control by a few companies doesn’t increase free enterprise and more consumer choices, it diminishes them.

Rebecca Melançon, Director of Policy & Research at the Local Business Institute

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