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Fatalysm

Over time, will everything end up conglomerate?

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You see it happening everywhere. Market stalls, turned to shops on the high street, turned into supermarkets which progressed to online shopping. I don’t want to count the amount of times I’ve said “don’t worry I’ll just prime it here for tomorrow”.

Even fan sites like this one. Everyone had their niche and an audience to boot. Then over time we’ve had the rise of the wiki and reddit, massive platforms to overthrow and merge the audience.

Everything is the same as well, especially online. You can only really have two options. There is a third but that’s not really what people use.

Google and bing, Amazon and eBay, Microsoft and Apple. Samsung and Apple!

I suppose these are my questions:

Do you think this will continue to happen? Will this behaviour of monopolising the markets ever stop?

Do you think independents, smaller business and organisations might ever have a resurgence?

Is there room for smaller companies, websites and the like to grow and thrive with these conglomerates bottle necking everything?

Do you think people will ever get sick of the systems we have in place now? What do you think is the next big step?

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Good points. I'd like to share my opinions on each of your questions.

1. I think monopolies are a natural phenomenon throughout history so no, I do not think they will ever stop. I do think that in a modern age monopolies pose a much larger threat than they used to. Back in biblical days a monopoly most likely concerned a single man cornering the village market on something like wool, but now it's much larger than that. Now we basically turn to a handful of companies for all our daily needs is a little strange and unsettling to say the least. Look at Johnson & Johnson, or Proctor & Gamble, or PepsiCo. Most of the consumables in my house come from one of these big conglomerates. 

2. That said, I don't think mom and pops will ever go away for good. People crave community and uniqueness and are willing to pay a premium to be a part of it. There's also a general understanding that working with smaller companies comes with better customer service and a better relationship. That's why I prefer to bank with a local bank, or choose a car insurance through a small regional provider. Large national chain rates are amazing, but I'm willing to shell out a couple hundred more a year for the safety of mind that comes with a physical location around the corner from me. It just feels better that I know my local insurance rep, and he knows me too. Same with my bank. I could earn a couple points higher interest if I banked solely online, but I like being able to visit and sit down with a banker if I need to. I think many people feel that same way. 

3. New companies definitely have a harder time starting up because of bottle-necking. I guess franchising is a good option, but then you look like you're just part of the system. In the news lately we see people burning down buildings, and third parties will say "well, CompanyX is a huge national company, they can afford to have a location destroyed" when in actuality it might have been a franchise that has no cash reserves to reopen. You're also a little isolated from the community when you franchise. It goes from "Bob's Sandwiches" to "Subway". In the same vein, I'd rather go to my local jewelers than Kay's, even though they're both owned by small business owners in my community. 

4. I think people are sick of the current system, but I'm not far sighted enough to see what the next step is. Nor are enough people versed well enough in history to see that, despite its flaws, the current system is the best yet derived. A lot of people in my generation want a complete overhaul of the economic system as if that would be the proper solution, but I'm not for it. For the US, maybe if the antitrust laws were tightened we would see less monopolizing of the markets, but I'm sure there would be loopholes around it. I'm not sure what the UK has in terms of trust busting and the like, but it seems to have worked in the past, maybe it's time to revisit it and make the rules more stringent. 

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