The US is considered as the most competitive market in the world. However in reality most of the major industries are a form of monopoly or oligopoly. When industries are dominated by one company or a handful of companies customer suffer as prices inevitably increase due to pricing shower and lack of competition. But investors and management in these firms benefit as profits rise.
I written about the scourge of monopolies and oligopolies in the airline, railroad, cable tv, ratings industries before. Other industries such as auto manufacturing, bus transportation, passenger rail transportation, food, healthcare, entertainment, media, etc. are also plagued by this phenomenon. But somehow this setup is accepted by the state and the public. And then the same public wonders why customer service is awful in most companies, why wages are stagnant, why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, why bills keep going up and up every year, why politics is corrupted by big money, etc.
Yesterday news broke that the telecom giant AT&T(T) is going to acquire cable TV giant Time Warner(TWX). If this deal goes thru it will be another nail in the coffin for competition. Already most cable companies including Comcast(CMCSA) are notorious for price gouging and bad customer service. This merger, if approved by regulators, would further hurt American consumers.
The following chart shows the evolution of AT&T and Time Warner:
Click to enlarge
Source: AT&T Is in Advanced Talks to Acquire Time Warner, WSJ, Oct 21, 2016
Disclosure: No Positions