In praise of monopolies

Thinking about internet research, and the awesome power of Google, and wondering if competing search engines will hold their own or buckle before this leader’s magnitude.  Will it happen that Google will emerge the single depository of knowledge online?  And what is the difference between a monopoly and a cultural phenomenon?  Private ownership, I suspect, but I also suspect that monopoly on the global scale soon morphs into at least quasi-public ownership because power can’t be sustained on that level without comprehensive responsiveness to demand.

So this thought leads me to Wal-Mart.  Some people love to shop.  Others happily do it when necessary. Still others, like me, abhor the very thought of it and would rather wear rags, eat canned beans, and limp by with broken tools than endure shopping.  Politically incorrect as it may be, the truth is that I would have no problem at all with Wal-Mart becoming the one major resource for all everyday needs.  I like going to one store for everything.  I am bored and frustrated by too much material choice; I’d so much rather just buy what the store offers than spend precious time and thought on the relative merits of this product vs. that.  Big ticket items may be another story, but for the mundane necessities, Wal-Mart is fine by me.

Is this dangerous thinking?  Will the monopolies suck up all the little guy’s opportunities?  Not in the least.  They will force the little guy to articulate a convincing USP, however.  The specialization, quirky character, or lavish service of the small or medium-sized business attracts its clientele – not the convenience of its location or the availability of name-brands it carries. 

Business monopolies cause us to search for deeper meaning, because they take care of superficialities.  When everyday needs are cheap and easily available, we’re freed up to take our individual lives to a higher level.  Google and Wal-Mart provide certain assumptions in my life that liberate my time and allow the possibility of a more enlightened existence.

Should any kind reader take exception to these bold and perhaps foolhardy comments, do tell!

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