monopoly

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monopoly

(mənōp`əlē), market condition in which there is only one seller of a certain commodity; by virtue of the long-run control over supply, such a seller is able to exert nearly total control over prices. In a pure monopoly, the single seller will usually restrict supply to that point on the supply-demand schedule that will maximize profit. In modern times, the accelerated production and competition brought about by the Industrial Revolution led to the formation of monopoly and oligopoly. Since the notion of monopoly is antithetical to the free market ideal, it has never been popular in capitalist nations. In the United States, the most famous monopoly was John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust in the late 19th cent. Despite such legislation as the 1890 Sherman Antitrust ActSherman Antitrust Act,
1890, first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts; it was named for Senator John Sherman. Prior to its enactment, various states had passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses.
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 (the first significant legal statute against monopoly), it was the Supreme Court that forced the break-up of Standard Oil, along with other monopolies. Since the 1960s, however, the U.S. Justice Dept. has occasionally been more active in attacking monopolies or near monopolies (such as AT&T and IBM); a major case in the 1990s involved the Microsoft Corp. (see Bill GatesGates, Bill
(William Henry Gates 3d), 1955–, American business executive, b. Seattle, Wash. At the age of 19, Gates founded (1975) the Microsoft Corp., a computer software firm, with Paul Allen. They began by purchasing the rights to convert an existing software package.
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).

Many governments, however, have created public-service monopolies by laws excluding competition from an industry. What resulted were generally publicly regulated private monopolies, such as some power, cable-television, and local telephone companies in the United States. Such enterprises usually exist in areas of "natural monopoly," where the conditions of the market make unified control necessary or desirable to the public interest. Some socialists have advocated the extension of the principle of public monopoly to all vital industries, such as coal and steel, that have an immediate effect on the general welfare of the economy. By the 1990s, however, many public utilities in the United States and elsewhere were deregulated, allowing for competition and lower prices (see utility, publicutility, public,
industry required by law to render adequate service in its field at reasonable prices to all who apply for it. Public utilities frequently operate as monopolies in their market.
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).

Aside from utility companies, privately controlled monopolies without state support are rare. However, the concentration of supply in a few producers, known as oligopoly, is not uncommon. In the United States, for instance, several large companies have dominated the automobile and steel industries. Since the Progressive era, the U.S. government has made most forms of monopoly, and to a lesser extent oligopoly, illegal under antitrust laws. The objective of such measures is to guarantee that price will be determined by market forces rather than by arbitrary price setting among corporations. In recent years oligopolies have grown through mergers and acquisitions. The government still grants temporary monopolies in the form of patents and copyrights to encourage the arts and sciences.

Bibliography

See J. Robinson, The Economics of Imperfect Competition (2d ed. 1969); D. Dewey, The Antitrust Experiment in America (1990); T. Freyer, Regulating Big Business: Antitrust in Great Britain and America, 1880–1990 (1992).

monopoly

a commodity market for a particular product dominated by a single producer, who is thus able to control prices. Where a small number of producers dominate a market the term oligopoly is used. Compare PERFECT COMPETITION.

monopoly

1. exclusive control of the market supply of a product or service
2. 
a. an enterprise exercising this control
b. the product or service so controlled
3. Law the exclusive right or privilege granted to a person, company, etc., by the state to purchase, manufacture, use, or sell some commodity or to carry on trade in a specified country or area

Monopoly

™ a board game for two to six players who throw dice to advance their tokens around a board, the object being to acquire the property on which their tokens land
www.hasbro.com/monopoly
References in periodicals archive ?
During the Reagan years, however, antitrust policy went into eclipse, and ever since measures of monopoly power, like the extent to which sales in any given industry are concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, have been rising fast.
Given the current state of the economy, in particular the set [Mathematical Expression Omitted], current consumption does not decrease (and increases for at least one good) in the monopoly power of any particular sector.
The second explanation is that gasoline stations have monopoly power.
In all other cases the marketing margin should be decided by buyer and seller mutually and any complaints about exercise of monopoly power should be addressed by Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and/or the Competition Commission.
The questions under discussion here are the extent to which sector-specific regulation is still warranted in light of monopoly power eroding, and whether antitrust law in a given jurisdiction is up to the task of protecting consumers and promoting competition.
25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "This vote is an important step towards breaking the monopoly power of some health insurers," responded Dr.
11) Wilcoxon signed ranks tests statistics Table 3: Effect of Monopoly Power on the ERC [CAR.
This FDA monopoly power on new drugs slows new drug development by years.
I think there has been at least a temporary decision by those with monopoly power to ease up on California,'' said Sherman.
Are you at all concerned that the Department of Justice is looking into e-marketplaces as possible venues of monopoly power or cartel-like price-fixing?
5 billion wiped off his personal fortune after a federal judge found that Microsoft "maintained its monopoly power by anti-competitive means".
Expanding on this, he set the theme of the day: "The question of whether Microsoft has monopoly power in PC operating systems is crucial.