ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Competition or Collusion?

Updated on September 22, 2012

Competition or Collusion?

In recent years we've seen and heard those who extol the virtues of pure capitalism, who fly flags threatening the government with the revolutionary catch phrase, “Don’t Tread on Me,” and warn of increasing governmental power and the suspension of basic liberties. Yet these same people enable—even support-- a so-called free market economy which allows banks, insurance companies, energy companies, and virtually every other behemoth enterprise to reap billions at our expense while conveniently disregarding the basic premise of capitalism, the very principle that theoretically makes it a more appealing system for consumers, that of competition.

Granted, there is competition for some products. We are free to shop around for groceries, clothing, cars and other durable goods we need for survival.

However, there are other necessities—those that require other significant outlays by consumers—where competition and variety in price rarely exists.

Gasoline is a prime example. Rarely is it possible to drive around a community and find a station with lower prices than its competitors. They are all priced exactly the same. The only recourse for a lower price might be driving 30 or more miles and even then there is no guarantee the price would be any different.

We are regularly schooled on how oil is priced. For the most part, the fundamental concept of supply and demand doesn’t apply, particularly in recent years. Now, commodity traders drive up the price based on speculation that might be more accurate if they had consulted Nostradamus or some religious fanatic predicting the end of the world. They unearth every conceivable—and some inconceivable—excuse to drive up prices. Then when their dire forecasts never materialize, the prices drop. For a while, until the next contrived possible catastrophe.

Another industry that not only treads on us but steamrolls us is health care--from drug companies, hospitals, doctors, and the insurance companies. Health care amounts to 17% of the gross national product in the US, and the costs rise like a Himalayan peak. The so-called Obamacare bill sought to reduce the prices by implementing some measures to try to slow the escalating costs, but only time will tell. Here again, the industry works in concert, continuing to drive up prices leaving consumers little, if any, choice. The spirit behind the new bill is admirable, but no one really embraces it as a solution. The Republicans favor free markets—true competition—but they do nothing to compel the insurance stakeholders to make any fundamental changes guaranteeing that. Many Democrats favor a single payer system, similar to Canada and many European countries. Whenever that suggestion is raised in this country, opponents scream that it’s socialized medicine and we’re doomed to become Communists in a matter of days. They conveniently forget that Medicare, the most popular health care program in the nation, is government run. And it’s going broke because it is almost too good, providing the kind of coverage for seniors that everyone should receive, but the revenue doesn’t keep up with expenses. All of this results in a health care system that's number one in the world in costs, but number 37 in quality. That’s unacceptable and directly the result of the greed that collusion fosters.

Ever notice that when driving into almost any city in America what types of companies boast the most opulent and ostentatious buildings? In almost all instances, it’s banks and insurance companies. The reason why should be obvious—and a source of outrage. I don’t begrudge them the ability to earn money, but they’re reaping obscene gobs of cash and reprehensively paying their top employees bonuses in the hundreds of millions or billions, particularly when many of them were responsible for the financial catastrophe in 2008. And when the government attempts to put some restraints on this unbridled avarice, it’s portrayed as interfering with the free enterprise system, threatening capitalism, and undermining the ability of these unconscionable scoundrels to be rewarded for their unique talents. I’m not sure these talents are akin to those of athletes, actors, or musicians unless swindling billions of out hard-working Americans qualifies as a talent. It should be sufficient enough to earn them a role in the pokey.

Those who blur the line between competition and collusion need a vision check because the two concepts are as different as Obama and Romney. One represents the theoretical paradigm of the American economic system: how it should work. The other represents the hideous reality with which we must contend. And as long as politicians remain money-stringed puppets to the masters of this economic deception, the rest of us will be helpless victims of a capitalist masquerade.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary Ishler 

      6 years ago from Reedsville PA

      Thanks! I'm non-affiliated with any political party, but I do agree with Obama that the strength of the nation is a strong middle class. The rich protecting their brethren is detrimental to the nation's cumulative economic health; it ultimately drops more people into the social safety net, which is perilously fraying due to budget cuts.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great analysis, Gary. The Republicans really support collusion over competition. The President wants competition in business and collusion among citizens to help one another to ensure everyone haswhat they needto live a decent life.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)