Saturday, August 04, 2007

Micro monopoly

See around you and you will see this everywhere. The micro monopoly. Call it cartel if you like. Start from the chap who supplies you your milk or newspaper or cable for television. Almost any non corporate entity who services you at your apartment - as in where they have to "deliver" stuff to you - is a cartel. If your milk delivery guy is pissed off for some reason, you can say goodbye to milk delivery. Ditto for the newspaper or cable. And if he is pissed off, nobody else will offer you that service. Thats their agreement - their cartel.

There are cable wars fought for this turf with examples of cable wires being burnt down as are milk delivery being blocked. Much of this cartelization is informal, yet it is very effective. And many of the service providers get away with inferior service as well.

The only real way to break it is for you to get out of your house and get your newspaper or milk yourself - they have no control over where you go to - only where they come and deliver stuff. For the cable chap the only option is a satellite dish, as of now.

There are other mini cartels in operation - right from a place for street beggars to a place on the auto stand at the end of a street. An auto from "another" stand cannot pick up passengers from "this" stand. He has to drive back empty or collect "return" fare too - thus pushing up the cost of the service. Sometimes, the entire establishment is a cartel - Chennai auto fares is a perfect example - or an entire vegetable market. How do you, as a customer, get out of this?


ggop said...

Hmm..never thought of it that way, you are right it is a cartel of sorts.

But for the vegetable market, do you have an option even if you go to a supermarket where prices are fixed?

RustyNeurons said...

The only alternative to chennai autos would be to own a vehicle, since buses are not commuter friendly at all.