Oligopolies In The Meatpacking Industry

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Introduction Oligopolies, although regulated, continue to grow in power and wealth due to common American misconceptions. Americans believe that, "when three or four firms pursue identical practices...the market is 'competitive' and everything is fine" (Wu). Americans are simply blinded by branding. Big companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Ford are popular, known for their distinguishable brands, and display oligopolistic behavior by controlling a large portion of the market. In the meatpacking industry, the biggest companies, "ConAgra, IBP, Excel, and National Beef- slaughter about 84 percent of the nation's cattle" (Schlosser). People believe that an expensive product is synonymous better to quality. Oligopolies present various barriers…show more content…
Oligopolies usually control a large portion of the market and any action on behalf of one firm could affect the rest. Oligopolies, no matter the industry, tend to display similar behavioral patterns and pursue similar tactics to remain powerful and in control. Oligopolies are generally interdependent, meaning firms are aware of the others' actions because one company's decision can cause a chain reaction ("Characteristics of Oligopoly Markets"). "An action by one firm motivates a counter action by another firm" ("Oligopoly"). An example of an oligopoly which displays interdependence is the cellular service oligopoly, consisting of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint-Nextel, and T-Mobile, which control approximately 90% of the market (Wu). Recently, T-mobile figuratively and literally shed light on the issue of the oligopoly of cellular service contractors and their "abuse" of customers. In a commercial, T-Mobile portrayed an outlaw breaking away from a group. "'Aw,' he says, 'I can’t do this anymore.'" T-Mobile used the outlaw to convey their own change; T-Mobile no longer charged termination fees as well as overage charges (a practice that all cellular service companies adopted), thus inciting an action that would affect the other companies. T-Mobile's actions allowed the public to see that cellular service companies were overcharging for their services. Contracts helped the remaining three companies because they forced customers to stay with the company and accept the terms of service, even if they no longer wanted

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