The Extinction of “Free to Choose”

The United States is a capitalist country, that is, businesses and profits are controlled by private companies, not by the state. Capitalism dominates free markets, which leads to competition between companies. Because of the competition, consumers are free to choose among options. In Tepper’s “The Myth of Capitalism”, Tepper argues that capitalism is dying because large companies have become monopolies or oligopolies that control the market. Eventually, customers have no freedom to choose.

No surprise, Canada is a capitalist country as well. However, like the U.S., monopolies and oligopolies are very common and lots of small companies have closed because they cannot compete with large companies. For example, a large convenience store, Shoppers opens in almost every community, and it operates 24/7. Smaller convenience stores are barely seen now due to their limited ability to compete. Other monopolies and oligopolies include Translink and Artona. Large companies buy smaller yet competitive companies to reduce the competition in the market and expand the companies. For example, there are more and more Chinese residents, students and travelers in Vancouver, which gives rise to Chinese markets. Thus, Real Canadian Superstores bought TNT supermarket, a popular Chinese market. Similar to the U.S., competitive free markets are dying in Canada.

Capitalism promotes free markets competitions and leads to freedom of choice. But competitive free markets are ruined if monopolies and oligopolies are taking over the power to control the market. Hence, capitalism will not truly be an economic system that private owners control productions and profits. According to Tepper, a revolution is needed to restore free markets and freedom of choice.

@fionahuang001 mentioned the negative impact of monopolies in economics. As monopolies and oligopolies control the market and resources, they are very likely to raise prices and maximum profits. Ultimately, consumers have no options but to accept expensive products.

5 Comments

  1. Thank you for your post Bonnie. I really enjoyed reading it for it was very straight to the point and very well written. I feel I have accepted the fact to buy more expensive products at higher companies such as Shoppers (probably because of the convenience). I personally would like to see a revolution from Tepper’s point, and see small businesses have a chance and allow people to have that freedom of choice.

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  2. Hey bonnie, you brought up an interesting point about the increase of Chinese markets in Canada. It does seem like large companies are constantly searching for niches that smaller companies are filling (often by hard-work and innovation). Either the larger companies fill them themselves and because they have more resources push the smaller business out, or they just buy the business out. An example comes to mind relating to apps and social media, when one company catches on something that starts gaining popularity, all other companies try to do the same thing which usually ends in one company with the most resources winning out. Once you have a lot of resources, its easier to gain more. Do you think it’s a problem that all the money funnels back to few companies? or is it okay since often they pour lots of resources into good ideas that may have never gotten started or been able to grow to the level that they achieve without the investment of a large company?

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  3. Hi Bonnie,
    Thanks for your post! What do you think the role of government should be in this situation? Is government responsible for letting this happen because of subsidies and the like, and the solution should be less government involvement, or is government responsible in the opposite way, and should offer more protection for small companies?

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  4. Hi Cole. Thank you for reading my post and commenting on it!
    I like your thought about the competition in app development. I think it is okay to invest an app that has potential to be popular, but it is unfair if a company is invested just because it has developed a popular app before. Successfully developing a popular app does not mean every app that the company develop will be popular. Thus, it is unfair for smaller companies or new companies with good ideas because of lack of money and resources.
    Please share your thought about whether it is okay. I am interested to know what you think!

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  5. Hi Micah. Thank you the comment.
    This is really a good question! I think because Canada is helping small companies but also ignoring the fact that large companies are becoming monopolies or oligopolies. There is a website that BC government provides resources for small businesses or people who want to start a business. With those resources, small companies can hopefully compete with larger companies, or survive under the pressure of competing with large companies. For various reasons, the government cannot do much to stop large companies. There is no law that saying they cannot do it. Also, the government may get less tax if the government stop or prevent large companies growing bigger, since the larger company, the more they make, and the higher tax they pay.
    Feel free to share your thought whether government should involve in the market; I’d be interested to know.

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