The illusion of choice - who owns what

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Kittamaru, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Kittamaru Staff Member

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    http://themindunleashed.org/2013/12/10-corporations-control-almost-everything-buy.html

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    This... is rather scary actually. To see how much is being consolidated into small power blocs...

    The website itself is a bit... interesting, I know... but how much truth is there behind this? Any economic experts out there that can confirm/deny these things?
     
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  3. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

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    Although i'm not an economist, i'll give my shot at it Kitt.

    On the case of Kraft Food INC in particular, it can be confirmed that they do own and control the following products that are shown in those diagrams you presented .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kraft_brands


    Nestle alone controls these brands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nestlé_brands
    It also ranked 9th in the FT Global 500 for 2013 as an enterprise worth 233 billion dollars USD.
    http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/67c810a4-ae5b-11e2-bdfd-00144feabdc0.pdf

    Viacom does indeed control MTV , BET, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Paramount Pictures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Viacom

    Viacom, is the fifth largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of it's revenue, falling behind Comcast, The Walt Disney Company , The News Corporation , and Time Warner respectively. In addition it owns and operates 170 networks in 160 countries that reaches 700 million subscribers. http://files.shareholder.com/downlo...C4AEB01F8B8/Viacom_Q4_12_Earnings_Release.pdf


    In America, and as you have so astutely noted, Kitt, freedom of choice IS an illusion.

    As an interesting note, Comcast bought out a asset from GE in the the form of NBC Universal. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/comcast-to-buy-nbc-stake-as-venture-formed-2009-12-03
     
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  5. wellwisher

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    If you look at the free market, consolidating into fewer and fewer parent companies, this same observation is also happening with government. Government is also getting bigger, trying to create more and more control over the 50 states. The smaller state governments compete with each other and offer alternatives for free flow of people and businesses, but they too are loosing more and more control to big government.

    Texas can't even enforce the immigration laws on the books to control its border, which creates a competitive disadvantage due to the strain on the social systems. This is by design. Government has to bail this out, thereby adding more control via more fingers in the pie, they just baked.

    What would be the impact of smaller government on that business chart? Would this cause it to consolidate more or would it reverse the consolidation and break it up?

    Regulation, for example, squeezes smaller business more than it does larger business, since smaller businesses lack economies of scale that can offset higher costs. Also big business is too big to fail. Little business is too small for anyone to care if it fails. The need for the bank bail-out did not protect the little banks, by design, since they are smaller enough to fail, resulting in fewer banks. If you wanted to squeeze out little banks, a housing style crisis would do it, every time.

    How do you get this behind the scenes alliance of big business and big government to work? Business will pay both sides, democrat and republican leaders. The Republicans help directly to boost the economy. The Democrats are paid to get the liberals to hate big business, so when they stick it to big business, they also unintentionally stick it to small business. Since big business is too big to fail, the government will bail then out with tax dollars, but the smaller guys gets nothing. What is left is bigger business and bigger government.

    Say the government was forced to become smaller, so big business money can't leverage as much advantages through Republican and Democrat scams. This allows small business, that is more innovative and streamline, to out maneuver the larger clunky businesses so they begin to fail. A small business may not be able to afford a herd of accountants, bookkeepers and regulatory specialists to stay ahead of the government and still turn a profit to stay alive. Big business can put the squeeze on this way.

    The Tea Party, is not a centralized organization but is designed like a loose alliance of small businesses. They are the enemy of both parties because both parties are on the take for bigger business/bigger government, with each helping one side of the equation help the other side of that equation until money controls it all. They can't attack the leader of the Tea Party because there is none, but they can use both parties to discredit them. The tea party does not look like big government/big business and is an obstruction to both.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
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  7. river Valued Senior Member

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    slowly but surely you Americans are getting the big picture of what is going on in your country

    its easier for me I'm looking in
     
  8. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing, against you Kitt, but wouldn't it be more accurate and preferable to have this thread under Economics? The subject matter denotes that the material in question is related to that forum section far better than to Science & Society.
     
  9. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    The tea party is only the same organisation of Republican donors that have been there for the last couple of decades, along with a few crazies.
     
  10. wellwisher

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    Why is the main stream Republican party distancing themselves from the Tea party candidates? And why does the Tea Party run against the good ole boys in their own party thereby getting the wrath of the republican machine? The Democrats and Republican have a common enemy; truth.

    Have you ever gone to a Tea Party meeting, to meet the people in a rally, in stealth, to make sure your party propaganda is telling the truth? Then go to an Occupy rally, in stealth, and compare. See who tows the party line and who is paid by who?

    The Tea Party is just small mom and pop business owners and other self reliant middle class folk, who feel the squeeze being in the middle between those catered by the two parties and the Government; rich and poor; The middle class is becoming a dinosaur until there is only rich and poor, powerful and dependent.

    The Tea Party has no centralize power structure making it hard to attack by either side. This type of organization is only possible in a democracy of self sufficient people, who form a loose alliance but are not obligated to a leader. This is the image of the Republic of the Founding Fathers. The Farmers, which were small businessmen, came together to discuss the state of the union. They did not like all the taxes without representation; not getting their fair share due to the two corrupt political parties. The Tea party was a protest over taxation without representation.
     
  11. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    A quick google search on tea party donors shows that they are far from the grass roots movement you claim them to be.
     
  12. wellwisher

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    I agree, but the same can be said of the Democratic party, with few poor people, living in ghettos, major donors. The donor statistic is misleading for all the parties. I am talking about the people, in general, and not just the small percent of connected people, in each party, who have the most money to spend.

    If you were an English Aristocrat and Merchant, before the Revolutionary War, or one of the large land owners with political ties in England, you would not support the Boston Tea Party. You would be well represented and well connected in sort of a monopoly situation. It is only the people who were getting screwed that have a stake in the game of change. This is why both connected parties, who can't agree on anything, agree of the Tea party as the enemy. They don't wish to share what they steal.

    Those who capitalize by the status quo, both Democrat and Republican, don't want to loose a good thing, because of equal representation of the middle class. The middle class should able to siphon a proportional amount of tax dollars, as a tax rebate, as do both the rich and liberal special interests. The Republicans establishment make big bucks off business, while Democrats also do this with their share of big business like media, lawyers, entertainers, and unions. Public sector Unions and the democrats make use a money laundering scam where the get concessions using tax payer money and then give some of this back to democratic candidates (money launder), so the tax payers pays democrats.

    We had the Obama Administration using the IRS to shake down Tea Party and Republican donors. Maybe democrats equate themselves with criminals, so they can't relate to honest people as well.
     
  13. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Who chooses?
    Who chooses the elected officials?
    Who chooses superdelegates? Who controls them?

    Consolidation is indemic to the social system in business, land, money and power.
     
  14. Jake Arave Student Registered Senior Member

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    128
    It's true that these companies control almost all the things we buy, but to say we don't have a choice is incorrect --- I'm assuming that most of us on this site are American/English; In making that assumption I can say that yes, we do have choice.
    ...
    You might be wondering what I mean, and I will attempt to break it down for you. The American system is all about free-enterprise right? Free-enterprise left to its own devices will always consolidate. There must always be someone at the top of a free-marketing system, and the people who control the free market are the citizens. If you feel that you don't have choice, or that small businesses do not thrive as they should --- then you should have every right to petition the government to fix this. While we have a free market system, the federal government has every right to regulate interstate trade and enforce business regulations.
    ...
    It should also be noted that I am not a politician, nor am I an economist, but I am pretty educated about the monopolies within the United States.
     
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    No. very little economics here seen in my quick scan. More politics, I think.
     
  16. wellwisher

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    Large corporations have economies of scale. If any government wanted to squeeze out small business, all the they need to do is add more taxes and regulations, up to a tipping point, so with all else being equal, the economies of scale will become the edge for big business. In the construction industry, workmen's compensation payments, strains many mom and pop businesses, unable to stay in the black. At a certain size of business this regulation is a smaller percent of revenues and can be maintained, easier.

    The Democratic party role in the scam is to favor the poor, pitting them against business, so there is leverage for more taxes and regulations, across the board; gain benefits. This has been their battle cry for decades with the result called business consolidation. The Democrats do give the poor resources, with government getting larger, but not enough resources or skills to become independent of their master. The war on poverty, over the past 50 years, did not change the percent of poor even though it grew the government and cost 7-10 $trillion. There is no incentive to move the poor, to the middle class ,where they become self sufficient. The party of slaves does not what to give up their slaves and did not lose any in 50 years.

    Nobody blames the government or the democrats for this, since they care, with caring all you have to do. It is not about results but caring. The same mantra is used; business did this. This continuing scam against business and the rich, did not change the status quo over 50 years, but rather stealthily places the squeeze on the middle class. The middle class pays higher prices to offset the cost of doing business It also pays more taxes to keep the poor at par as cost and prices rise. The percent of poor do not change in the scam.

    This also squeezes small business with higher costs. The result is larger government and bigger business, which benefits both parties. The Tea Party is trying to break this scam but the scammers have a good con in place and both parties resist anything that will change the status quo.

    The reason small business is hard to fully squeeze out, is connected to the entrepreneurial spirit. They may not be able to compete in existing businesses, so they become the ones that invent new niches where the big fish do yet swim. The regulators wait and see, and then put the squeeze as the big fish move in, if the big csh can't just swallow them up on their own.

    Ask yourself, in 50 years there has been no change in the poverty rate with illiteracy among the poor going up. Is this due to incompetency or part of a design? Which is worse in government dummies or criminals?
     
  17. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

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    You're probably right about that.
     
  18. wellwisher

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    You cannot isolate business, in the USA, apart from government, due to taxes and regulations, all of which impact costs and business decisions. The USA has among the highest corporate tax rate, imposed by a government. Although this makes those who resent business, "feel better", this high tax rate has an impact on business decisions and therefore on economics.

    Many jobs get shipped over seas to remain competitive; evil business trying to survive in a competitive environment. Does this high tax rate favor larger or smaller business? If you are small, you can't ship only 10 jobs overseas and expect this to offset shipping and tariffs. You can't control you innovation but it will get stolen. If you are big and can build a factory, then you can make out better.

    If you look at the impact of Obama Care, which is also big Government trying to control even more, overriding the states, this adds more costs to all businesses, while lowering the value of medical services; higher deductible and higher prices. This may not impact the poor, but it will impact the middle class who has to contribute more than before, especially with small business who will struggle to survive. There is another middle class squeeze with an incentive to give up and enter the poor class. Big Business will be reimbursed for helping the decline; too big to fail.

    Say we got rid of Obama Care, and pay directly for healthcare to the poor. The business and middle class gets to go back to half price medical like two years ago. This gets rid of a huge government program. This is cheaper but it does not kill the middle class.

    President Obama promised to help the middle class but only Wall Street has been the big gainer. The large corporations are holding back tons of money and not reinvesting, because of the big government shake down climate. This lowers jobs and keeps the middle class stalled. The liberal government plan is to steal this money, like thieves, with new laws. Smaller government gets out of the way, by default, allowing the middle class to come back as money returns. That was the approach of Mitt Romney who understands how to grow the middle class. This was not favored by the scammers from both parties. President Obama better served the needs of big business and big government.

    There are two things that make the world go around; power and money. Huge corporation will consolidate money while huge government tries to consolidate power. Money can buy power through campaign donations and power can control or buy money with tax breaks and other things. As government power gets larger, only big money can buy consolidated power, such as centralized political parties. Economics talks about money but power is also part of that equation. Power is part of the competitive environment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  19. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. You can still choose what you buy even if you can't choose whom you buy it from. If you have a choice between Cheerios and Special K, what difference does it make who owns the label?
     
  20. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I'm no expert but I've at least had a couple of courses in economics. As you know the history of our economy is rooted in what were first monopolies and oligarchies. The US itself emerged out of enterprises like the East India Tea Company, the slave trade and related agribusiness, the fur trade and the search for El Dorado. Of course countless small businesses rode the coattails of these main investors, gaining leverage esp after the uprooting and massacres of the indigenous Americans, and the theft of their lands, waters, and game. That is, the little guy benefits as long as Big Brother wipes out all opposition. So the word "capitalism" conveys the idea of aggregation of wealth from the get-go, even as people worship it and the sense of freedom and opportunity they associate with the proceeds of those thefts and massacres. And that centralized aggregation of wealth trickles down to the parasitic and opportunistic small businesses that benefit from the established infrastructure. The term "monopoly" more closely references the ushering in of the industrial age, esp. by the railroad, banking and oil entrepreneurs. The principle of the board game "Monopoly" hinges on this, and successfully simulates how quickly paper money equates to real value, in that it buys expensive capital investments and real property.

    Having said all of that, which has very little to do with the particulars of economics, it strikes me that this analysis of huge corporations controlling everything is sort of off kilter. I mean, yes of course they do, but it's nothing new. It's the foundation of what economists call growth and Republicans call progress. In the model I prefer, progress is measured by literary statements like "you will know them by how they treat their prisoners". In case that's unclear, I simply mean that true progress is a purely humanitarian enterprise, not a purely economic one. I will set aside for the moment the fact that economics drives our ability and desire to be humane to one another. For example, if I were a trillionaire, I would buy all of my friends on this board a trip to the Cayman Islands, and I would buy all the trolls a night in the emergency rooms and jails, followed by a class on ethics.

    The diagrams seem to show how the product lines of these big corporations were so successful that the individual products begin to look like mega corporations. And the others are subsidiaries and so forth. The fact is, consumers have loved these products for several generations. If there was no consumer belief in the value of the products, then people wouldn't buy them.

    Also let me say this: yesterday I drove a terminal homeless patient to a food pantry. She emerged with a shopping cart half full of groceries. Most of them were identifiably mega-corporation products, plus a few off brand items that probably are feeling both empathy and a desire to take advantage of the tax credits. So, in other words, the products really do have value. In the event of a severe earthquake or weather event, watch people line up to collect a share of the output of the huge corporate monsters. We can be cynical, but at worst it's a symbiotic relationship. We are parasites to the cereal makers, because without them we have to do some work to make our own breakfast. Etc.

    But it isn't necessarily evil, once you acknowledge that all of the massacres, enslavements and land thefts need to be compensated, and all the present day victims of disaster, abuse, and crime -- to include the criminals themselves -- are rehabilitated and protected from reactionary reprisals against "handouts". With all of that "human progress" in place, the rest almost doesn't matter. I wouldn't care if there was a king and queen sitting in a palace overlooking my little serfdom, as long as they were intelligent, thoughtful and generous.
     
  21. wellwisher

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    No business gets to work autonomously apart from Government. No big business or small business could independently take the land from the Indians, as you put it, until government says OK. Government and its leaders expected to get a piece of the pie through campaign donations and the taxes and fees they will get to spend like it is their own money; power. The history of Economics can't be separated from the impact of government power. It is usually not taught that way, to liberals, because government controls education for the liberals allowing power to paint a distorted picture.

    I would like to see an honest economic discussion that takes into the account the impact of government on business and business decisions. Shipping jobs overseas helps developing countries and is needed because the mafia shakedown called corporate taxation, is too high by any world standards. Lower the taxes and jobs come back, since government has control over this cause and effect of business. It is like hitting you and you run and I blame you for running away.

    You can buy, or not buy, any product in the free market, without force or obligation. People buy certain brands because of quality and distinction. One exception is healthcare, because that sector uses the government mafia extortion model of forced choices. This is very inefficient with costs going up and services going down.

    If you compare the business free market approach versus the mafia protection racket model used by government (force you to buy or pay for service they offer), which of the two models is better suited to steal land from indians? Which offers freedom of choices in an open and free market? The misinformation fed to the liberals and their willingness to buy the swamp land is a tribute to government involvement in education using the mafia lack of choice model.
     
  22. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    The only economic issue here is monopoly versus competitive markets. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is charged with reviewing mergers/acquisitions to ensure markets remain competitive.

    But the OP is concerned with the concentration of "power". Economics is about the allocation of resources. Politics is concerned with the allocation of power. Therefore, as BillyT noted, this is best positioned in the Politics forum.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  23. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

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    Fair enough, so why not shift this thread to the Politics forums?
     

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