Wal-Mart delivers at least 30% and sometimes more than 50% of the entire U.S. consumption of products. Why the monopolization of our economy should scare you.
The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, published by Wiley Press.
The second overlooked revelation was that almost the entire U.S. pet food industry had come to depend, to various degrees, on a single supplier of canned and pouched pet food. In this case, five of the top six independent brands — including those marketed by Colgate-Palmolive, Mars, and Procter & Gamble — had hired Menu Foods to stuff meat into at least some of the cans and pouches that as of early 2007 bore their labels. So had seventeen of the top twenty food retailers in the United States that sell "private label" wet pet foods under their store brands, including Safeway, Kroger' s, and Wal- Mart. In total, the Menu Foods recall covered products that had been retailed under a phenomenal 150 different names.
Perhaps even more disturbing, especially for those pet owners who had been spending their dollars on a premium product, was that the recall revealed that high-end, expensive brands like Iams and Hill's Pet Nutrition Science Diet rolled off the exact same Menu Foods packing lines as the cans that were wrapped in labels bearing such names as Supervalu and Price Chopper.
Furthermore, what can we learn from the size of the corporation in whose store we now stand? Until we elected Ronald Reagan president [emphasis added], both Democrats and Republicans made sure that no chain store ever came to dominate more than a small fraction of sales in the United States as a whole, or even in any one region of the country. Between 1917 and 1979, for instance, administrations from both parties repeatedly charged the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, the chain store behemoth of the mid-twentieth century that is better known as A & P, with violations of antitrust law, even threatening to break the firm into pieces.
Then in 1981 we stopped enforcing that law. Thus, today Wal-Mart is at least five times bigger, relative to the overall size of the U.S. economy, than A & P was at the very height of its power. 13 Indeed, Wal-Mart exercises a de facto complete monopoly in many smaller cities, and it sells as much as half of all the groceries in many big metropolitan markets. Wal-Mart delivers at least 30 percent and sometimes more than 50 percent of the entire U.S. consumption of products ranging from soaps and detergents to compact discs and pet food.
via Mega Giant Corporations Are Very Bad for America | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet, by Barry C. Lynn, AlterNet. Posted January 2, 2010.