Collapse of Monopolies

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In colonies, the 'business model' was rather simple.  The Colonial Power had it's links with various businesses in the Home Country.  These various businesses were given a licence to import to the Colony.  

In not all cases were licences necessary, but in many the basic rules of corruption applied. Hence if money didn't change hands, if one weren't a relation to someone in power, or held their secrets, or possessed some other connection, then the products could not be allowed in the colony.

There might be bluster, false statements, but if one was hand in glove with This Brand then That Brand could not enter the colony legally.

Those merchants who resided in the Colonies often gained some kind of monopoly on products or services.  Whether they were the only ones who could import the items, or the only ones who could sell them, the fact was a simply monopoly. One company which brought in a particular product, perhaps one company allowed to sell it.  No competition, no alternatives were allowed.   These meant the very worst business people could become fabulously wealth.


At the beginning there was really not much need for variety.  Only the upper class could afford most of the goods.  The market was small and people did not mind waiting for the ship to arrive. 

In those days time moved slower.  It had to.  People needed a long engagement before a wedding to allow everyone to import the fabrics for the gowns and have them made.  

In those days to plan to plow a particular plot or build a house, required long and careful plans, for almost everything would have to be imported.

To wait six weeks for an item was not a long time in those early days.  

With only one company importing this particular tool or appliance, one would make their order, pay the price asked and wait.

And Wait.


By the 1960s, many of the original monopolies remained in the colonies.  Although colonies were grabbing independence the business style of monopoly remained.

One company imported lawn mowers.  There was no other company that did so. There was no other way to get a lawn mower save through that company.

One company imported pipes.  There was no way to manage plumbing without purchasing the pipes from a particular company.  Dare one try to import from another locale this would be met by confiscation, or even arrest.  For it might very well be illegal to import flour from this country without a license.

In the 1980s this monopolistic model was noticed by many nations for the first time.  Perhaps a political opponent was too close to the business.  Perhaps there was some complaint as to price and quality.   Suddenly the ex-colonies began to notice that although the physical body of the coloniser might be gone, his business, his mentality remained.

Competition was invited, many business people scrambling to introduce new and alternative products.

The opening of markets caused the collapse of many monopolies which had lasted over one or two hundred years because they were monopolies.

The Monopoly Style

When one company is allowed absolute monopoly over any products or services, it becomes, obviously, non-competitive.  There is no reason for it to be.  If a product sold for $10 in 1950 and due to taxes or falling sales the owners of the company which imported the product suffers a decline in the fortune, the price is raised to $12.

If the manufacturer had sold the product for $1 (which became $10 as it reached the shelf of the ex-colony) and decides to raise the price to $1.50, it will now sell for $20.00 in the ex-colony.

If the costs of shipping rise, so does the price. And never in the same percentage. Those who run monopolies need not worry about price, quality, serving the public.  All they are concerned with is serving themselves.

Enter the Competition

The moment there was a choice, the public deserted the old companies, and raced to the new.  

Whether it was televisions or tea kettles, whether it was banks or communication, whatever was new was embraced.  Not simply because it was new, but because of the years of hatred the public developed for the monopoly.


The moment a new product, be it cell phone or cement entered the market the public ignored price tags and showed their hatred of the oppresive monopoly by switching to the competitor.

This is because the monopoly had abused its customers.  Had over charged, under served and created a ridiculous tiered system which was expensive and clumsy.

For years this company had sold lawn mowers, and when they didn't work refused to refund or repair.  For years this company took its time in supplying service and then did as little as possible to insure it was unbroken and value for money.

The new company would arrive and regardless of the price, showed a happy face to the customer.  It offered service and better service, for it had the old monopoly to contend with.

Few monopolies jumped into the ring and dropped prices, gave freeness, tried to keep their company base.  As if ancient potentates, sitting on a throne they looked down at the public and flapped their hands.

Case in Point

After Hurricane Gilbert, the telephone company of Jamaica, which had been owned by the Government was to become a public company and shares would be sold.  This trick was perpetuated on the public by the pal of politicians who'd be pushed as 'chairman' of the Jamaica Telephone Company.

He knew, before he approached government with his idea exactly how it would go.  He would trick the government into selling shares, he would buy almost all of them, and sell them to British Cable and Wireless.

To mask the truth he'd invent a new company, Telecommunications of Jamaica, which appeared to be Independent.

In fact, it was a dummy company and all telephonic communications were owned by British Cable & Wireless.

When this came out the public had a very sharp reaction; demand competition, and support it.

Despite the fact a new company, Digicel came on the market selling its service at more than twice the price, within six months it had more subscribers.

No matter what happened, no matter the tricks and tries, British Cable and Wireless collapsed and had to be sold to another company.

Was the service so bad?  No.  In fact it was actually better than Digicel.  But, the taint of monopoly was so great as to turn the public against it.


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