A Deepness of Thought
Pat's Blog

The Cartel

When Walmart successfully sued Visa/MasterCard for monopoly practices, Visa/MasterCard appealed to the Supreme Court. Several industry trade associations petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. These trade associations were:

Automobile Manufacturing

Why would these trade associations weigh in on the side of Visa/MasterCard in an antitrust lawsuit? It is because they are concerned about a similar lawsuit against them. All these industries are operating as monopolies. This is a rare and clear showing of what I will call "The Cartel" that has control of our economy. The Cartel is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one is talking about.

For example, the oil industry operated as a cartel. The price of oil is volatile and seems to currently be fluctuating between $40/barrel and $120/barrel on a roughly five year cycle. The price at the gas pump roughly follows this. But the price of oil company stocks has almost no relation to the price of oil. How can this be? It is because the oil market is not operating as a free market. Investors can not invest directly in oil as a commodity like they can in virtually all other commodities. An investor, such as a hedge fund, can not buy a barrel of oil and sell it five years later. The price of a barrel of oil is a totally artificial price set by the oil companies.

Breaking up the cartel would have an enormous positive impact on the US and world economy. It is THE source of most of our economic problems. The problem is not that the US economy is facing greater competition from abroad. This should be a good thing. The problem is that we are not competitive at home.

The way to fix this is straight forward. Antitrust laws already exist. They just need to be enforced.

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