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<HTML>
<HEAD>

<TITLE>C.4 Why does the market become dominated by Big Business?</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<p>
<H1>C.4 Why does the market become dominated by Big Business?</H1>
<p>
<i>"The facts show. . .that capitalist economies tend over time and with
some interruptions to become more and more heavily concentrated."</i> [M.A.
Utton, <b>The Political Economy of Big Business</b>, p. 186] The dynamic
of the "free" market is that it tends to becomes dominated by a few
firms (on a national, and increasingly, international, level), resulting 
in oligopolistic competition and higher profits for the companies in 
question (see <a href="secC5.html">next section</a> for details and evidence). This occurs because 
only established firms can afford the large capital investments needed to
compete, thus reducing the number of competitors who can enter or survive
in a given the market. Thus, in Proudhon's words, <i>"competition kills
competition."</i> [<b>System of Economical Contradictions</b>, p. 242]
<p>
This <i>"does not mean that new, powerful brands have not emerged [after 
the rise of Big Business in the USA after the 1880s]; they have, but 
in such markets. . . which were either small or non-existent in the
early years of this century."</i> The dynamic of capitalism is such that 
the <i>"competitive advantage [associated with the size and market power 
of Big Business], once created, prove[s] to be enduring."</i> [Paul 
Ormerod, <b>The Death of Economics</b>, p. 55]
<p>
For people with little or no capital, entering competition is limited to
new markets with low start-up costs (<i>"In general, the industries which 
are generally associated with small scale production. . . have low levels
of concentration"</i> [Malcolm C. Sawyer, <b>The Economics of Industries and
Firms</b>, p. 35]). Sadly, however, due to the dynamics of competition,
these markets usually in turn become dominated by a few big firms, as
weaker firms fail, successful ones grow and capital costs increase --
<i>"Each time capital completes its cycle, the individual grows smaller in
proportion to it."</i> [Josephine Guerts, <b>Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed</b>
no. 41, p. 48]
<p>
For example, between 1869 and 1955 <i>"there was a marked growth in capital
per person and per number of the labour force. Net capital per head rose.
. . to about four times its initial level. . . at a rate of about 17% per
decade."</i> The annual rate of gross capital formation rose <i>"from $3.5
billion in 1869-1888 to $19 billion in 1929-1955, and to $30 billion in
1946-1955. This long term rise over some three quarters of a century was
thus about nine times the original level."</i> [Simon Kuznets, <b>Capital in the
American Economy</b>, p. 33 and p. 394, constant (1929) dollars]. To take the
steel industry as an illustration: in 1869 the average cost of steel
works in the USA was $156,000, but by 1899 it was $967,000 -- a 520%
increase. From 1901 to 1950, gross fixed assets increased from $740,201
to $2,829,186 in the steel industry as a whole, with the assets of
Bethlehem Steel increasing by 4,386.5% from 1905 ($29,294) to 1950
($1,314,267). These increasing assets are reflect both in the size of
workplaces and in the administration levels in the company as a whole
(i.e. <b>between</b> individual workplaces).
<p>
With the increasing ratio of capital to worker, the cost of starting a
rival firm in a given, well-developed, market prohibits all but other
large firms from doing so (and here we ignore advertising and other
distribution expenses, which increase start-up costs even more - <i>"advertising
raises the capital requirements for entry into the industry"</i> -- Sawyer,
<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 108). J.S Bain [<b>Barriers in New Competition</b>] identified
three main sources of entry barrier: economies of scale (i.e. increased
capital costs and their more productive nature); product differentiation
(i.e. advertising); and a more general category he called <i>"absolute cost
advantage."</i>
<p>
This last barrier means that larger companies are able to outbid smaller
companies for resources, ideas, etc. and put more money into Research and
Development and buying patents. Therefore they can have a technological
and material advantage over the small company. They can charge "uneconomic"
prices for a time (and still survive due to their resources) -- an
activity called <i>"predatory pricing"</i> -- and/or mount lavish promotional 
campaigns to gain larger market share or drive competitors out of the 
market. In addition, it is easier for large companies to raise external 
capital, and risk is generally less.
<p>
In addition, large firms can have a major impact on innovation and the
development of technology -- they can simply absorb newer, smaller, 
enterprises by way of their economic power, buying out (and thus 
controlling) new ideas, much the way oil companies hold patents on 
a variety of alternative energy source technologies, which they then 
fail to develop in order to reduce competition for their product (of 
course, at some future date they may develop them when it becomes 
profitable for them to do so). Also, when control of a market is 
secure, oligopolies will usually delay innovation to maximise their
use of existing plant and equipment or introduce spurious innovations 
to maximise product differentiation. If their control of a market is 
challenged (usually by other big firms, such as the increased competition
Western oligopolies faced from Japanese ones in the 1970s and 1980s), they 
can speed up the introduction of more advanced technology and usually remain
competitive (due, mainly, to the size of the resources they have 
available). 
<p>
These barriers work on two levels - <b>absolute</b> (entry) barriers and
<b>relative</b> (movement) barriers. As business grows in size, the amount of
capital required to invest in order to start a business also increases. This
restricts entry of new capital into the market (and limits it to firms
with substantial financial and/or political backing behind them):
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Once dominant organisations have come to characterise the structure of
an industry, immense barriers to entry face potential competitors. Huge
investments in plant, equipment, and personnel are needed. . . [T]he
development and utilisation of productive resources <b>within</b> the organisation 
takes considerable time, particularly in the face of formidable incumbents
. . . It is therefore one thing for a few business organisations to emerge 
in an industry that has been characterised by . . . highly competitive
conditions. It is quite another to break into an industry. . . [marked by]
oligopolistic market power."</i> [William Lazonick, <b>Business Organisation
and the Myth of the Market Economy</b>, pp. 86-87]
</blockquote><p>
Moreover, <b>within</b> the oligopolistic industry, the large size and market power
of the dominant firms mean that smaller firms face expansion disadvantages
which reduce competition. The dominant firms have many advantages over their
smaller rivals -- significant purchasing power (which gains better service
and lower prices from suppliers as well as better access to resources),
privileged access to financial resources, larger amounts of retained earnings 
to fund investment, economies of scale both within and <b>between</b> 
workplaces, the undercutting of prices to "uneconomical" levels and so on 
(and, of course,
they can <b>buy</b> the smaller company -- IBM paid $3.5 billion for Lotus in
1995. That is about equal to the entire annual output of Nepal, which has
a population of 20 million). The large firm or firms can also rely on
its established relationships with customers or suppliers to limit the
activities of smaller firms which are trying to expand (for example, using
their clout to stop their contacts purchasing the smaller firms products).
<p>
Little wonder Proudhon argued that <i>"[i]n competition. . . victory is assured
to the heaviest battalions."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 260]
<p>
As a result of these entry/movement barriers, we see the market being divided
into two main sectors -- an oligopolistic sector and a more competitive one.
These sectors work on two levels -- within markets (with a few firms in a 
given market having very large market shares, power and excess profits) and 
within the economy itself (some markets being highly concentrated and 
dominated by a few firms, other markets being more competitive). This results 
in smaller firms in oligopolistic markers being squeezed by big business
along side firms in more competitive markets. Being protected from competitive
forces means that the market price of oligopolistic markets is <b>not</b> forced
down to the average production price by the market, but instead it tends to
stabilise around the production price of the smaller firms in the industry
(which do not have access to the benefits associated with dominant position
in a market). This means that the dominant firms get super-profits while
new capital is not tempted into the market as returns would not make the move
worthwhile for any but the biggest companies, who usually get comparable
returns in their own oligopolised markets (and due to the existence of market
power in a few hands, entry can potentially be disastrous for small firms
if the dominant firms perceive expansion as a threat).
<p>
Thus whatever super-profits Big Business reap are maintained due to the
advantages it has in terms of concentration, market power and size which
reduce competition (see <a href="secC5.html">section C.5</a> for details).
<p>
And, we must note, that the processes that saw the rise of national Big
Business is also at work on the global market. Just as Big Business arose
from a desire to maximise profits and survive on the market, so
<i>"[t]ransnationals arise because they are a means of consolidating or
increasing profits in an oligopoly world."</i> [Keith Cowling and Roger Sugden,
<b>Transnational Monopoly Capitalism</b>, p. 20] So while a strictly national
picture will show a market dominated by, say, four firms, a global view shows
us twelve firms instead and market power looks much less worrisome. But just
as the national market saw a increased concentration of firms over time,
so will global markets. Over time a well-evolved structure of global
oligopoly will appear, with a handful of firms dominating most global
markets (with turnovers larger than most countries GDP -- which is the
case even now. For example, in 1993 Shell had assets of US$ 100.8 billion, 
which is more than double the GDP of New Zealand and three times that of 
Nigeria, and total sales of US$ 95.2 billion). 
<p>
Thus the very dynamic of capitalism, the requirements for survival on
the market, results in the market becoming dominated by Big Business
(<i>"the more competition develops, the more it tends to reduce the
number of competitors."</i> [P-J Proudhon, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 243]). The irony
that competition results in its destruction and the replacement of
market co-ordination with planned allocation of resources is one usually
lost on supporters of capitalism.
<p>
<a name="secc41"><h2>C.4.1 How extensive is Big Business?</h2>
<p>
The effects of Big Business on assets, sales and profit distribution are
clear. In the USA, in 1985, there were 14,600 commercial banks. The 50
largest owned 45.7 of all assets, the 100 largest held 57.4%. In 1984
there were 272,037 active corporations in the manufacturing sector, 710
of them (one-fourth of 1 percent) held 80.2 percent of total assets. In
the service sector (usually held to home of small business), 95 firms of
the total of 899,369 owned 28 percent of the sector's assets. In 1986 in
agriculture, 29,000 large farms (only 1.3% of all farms) accounted for
one-third of total farm sales and 46% of farm profits. In 1987, the top
50 firms accounted for 54.4% of the total sales of the <b>Fortune</b> 500
largest industrial companies. [Richard B. Du Boff, <b>Accumulation and
Power</b>, p. 171]
<p>
The process of market domination is reflected by the increasing market share
of the big companies. In Britain, the top 100 manufacturing companies saw
their market share rise from 16% in 1909, to 27% in 1949, to 32% in 1958
and to 42% by 1975. In terms of net assets, the top 100 industrial and
commercial companies saw their share of net assets rise from 47% in 1948
to 64% in 1968 to 80% in 1976 [RCO Matthews (ed.), <b>Economy and
Democracy</b>, p. 239]. Looking wider afield, we find that in 1995 about
50 firms produce about 15 percent of the manufactured goods in the
industrialised world. There are about 150 firms in the world-wide motor
vehicle industry. But the two largest firms, General Motors and Ford,
together produce almost one-third of all vehicles. The five largest firms
produce half of all output and the ten largest firms produce three-quarters.
Four appliance firms manufacture 98 percent of the washing machines made in
the United States. In the U. S. meatpacking industry, four firms account for
over 85 percent of the output of beef, while the other 1,245 firms have less
than 15 percent of the market.
<p>
While the concentration of economic power is most apparent in the
manufacturing sector, it is not limited to manufacturing. We are seeing
increasing concentration in the service sector - airlines, fast-food
chains and the entertainment industry are just a few examples.
<p>
The other effect of Big Business is that large companies tend to become
more diversified as the concentration levels in individual industries
increase. This is because as a given market becomes dominated by larger
companies, these companies expand into other markets (using their larger
resources to do so) in order to strengthen their position in the economy
and reduce risks. This can be seen in the rise of "subsidiaries" of parent
companies in many different markets, with some products apparently
competing against each other actually owned by the same company!
<p>
Tobacco companies are masters of this diversification strategy; most people
support their toxic industry without even knowing it! Don't believe it?
Well, if you ate any Jell-O products, drank Kool-Aid, used Log Cabin syrup,
munched Minute Rice, quaffed Miller beer, gobbled Oreos, smeared Velveeta on
Ritz crackers, and washed it all down with Maxwell House coffee, you
supported the tobacco industry, all without taking a puff on a cigarette!
<p>
Ironically, the reason why the economy becomes dominated by Big Business
has to do with the nature of competition itself. In order to survive (by
maximising profits) in a competitive market, firms have to invest in capital,
advertising, and so on. This survival process results in barriers to
potential competitors being created, which results in more and more markets
being dominated by a few big firms. This oligopolisation process becomes
self-supporting as oligopolies (due to their size) have access to more
resources than smaller firms. Thus the dynamic of competitive capitalism
is to negate itself in the form of oligopoly.
<p>
<a name="secc42"><h2>C.4.2 What are the effects of Big Business on society?</h2>
<p>
Unsurprisingly many pro-capitalist economists and supporters of capitalism 
try to downplay the extensive evidence on the size and dominance of Big 
Business in capitalism.
<p>
Some deny that Big Business is a problem - if the market results in a
few companies dominating it, then so be it (the right-libertarian "Austrian"
school is at the forefront of this kind of position - although it does
seem somewhat ironic that "Austrian" economists and other "market advocates"
should celebrate the suppression of market co-ordination by <b>planned</b>
co-ordination within the economy that the increased size of Big Business
marks). According to this perspective, oligopolies and cartels usually do
not survive very long, unless they are doing a good job of serving the
customer.
<p>
We agree -- it is oligopolistic <b>competition</b> we are discussing here. Big
Business has to be responsive to demand (when not manipulating/creating it 
by advertising, of course), otherwise they lose market share to their rivals (usually other dominant firms in the same market, or big firms from other 
countries). However, the "free market" response to the reality of oligopoly 
ignores the fact that we are more than just consumers and that economic 
activity and the results of market events impact on many different aspects 
of life. Thus our argument is not focused on the fact we pay more for some 
products than we would in a more competitive market -- it is the <b>wider</b> 
results of oligopoly we are concerned with here. If a few companies receive 
excess profits just because their size limits competition the effects of 
this will be felt <b>everywhere.</b>
<p>
For a start, these "excessive" profits will tend to end up in few hands, so
skewing the income distribution (and so power and influence) within society.
The available evidence suggests that <i>"more concentrated industries generate
a lower wage share for workers"</i> in a firm's value-added. [Keith Cowling, 
<b>Monopoly Capitalism</b>, p. 106] The largest firms retain only 52% of their 
profits, the rest is paid out as dividends, compared to 79% for the smallest 
ones and <i>"what might be called
rentiers share of the corporate surplus - dividends plus interest as a
percentage of pretax profits and interest - has risen sharply, from 20-30%
in the 1950s to 60-70% in the early 1990s."</i> [Doug Henwood, <b>Wall Street</b>,
p. 75, p. 73] The top 10% of the US population own well over 80% of stock
and bonds owned by individuals while the top 5% of stockowners own 94.5% of 
all stock held by individuals. Little wonder wealth has become so concentrated 
since the 1970s [<b>Ibid.</b>, pp. 66-67]. At its most basic, this skewing of 
income provides the capitalist class with more resources to fight the 
class war but its impact goes much wider than this.
<p>
Moreover, the <i>"level of aggregate concentration helps to indicate the degree
of centralisation of decision-making in the economy and the economic power
of large firms."</i> [Malcolm C. Sawyer, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 261] Thus oligopoly
increases and centralises economic power over investment decisions and
location decisions which can be used to play one region/country and/or 
workforce against another to lower wages and conditions for all (or, equally 
likely, investment will be moved away from countries with rebellious work 
forces or radical governments, the resulting slump teaching them a lesson on 
whose interests count). As the size of business increases, the power of capital
over labour and society also increases with the threat of relocation being
enough to make workforces accept pay cuts, worsening conditions, "down-sizing" 
and so on and communities increased pollution, the passing of pro-capital
laws with respect to strikes, union rights, etc. (and increased corporate 
control over politics due to the mobility of capital). 
<p>
Also, of course, oligopoly results in political power as their economic
importance and resources gives them the ability to influence government
to introduce favourable policies -- either directly, by funding political
parties, or indirectly by investment decisions or influence the media and
funding political think-tanks. Economic power also extends into the labour
market, where restricted labour opportunities as well as negative effects
on the work process itself may result. All of which shapes the society we
live in the laws we are subject to, the "evenness" and "levelness" of the
"playing field" we face in the market and the ideas dominant in society
(see sections <a href="secD2.html">D.2</a> and <a href="secD3.html">D.3</a>). 
<p>
So, with increasing size, comes the increasing power, the power of
oligopolies to <i>"influence the terms under which they choose to operate. 
Not only do they <b>react</b> to the level of wages and the pace of work,
they also <b>act</b> to determine them. . . The credible threat of the shift of
production and investment will serve to hold down wages and raise the
level of effort [required from workers] . . . [and] may also be able to
gain the co-operation of the state in securing the appropriate environment
. . . [for] a redistribution towards profits"</i> in value/added and national
income. [Keith Cowling and Roger Sugden, <b>Transnational Monopoly Capitalism</b>, 
p. 99]
<p>
Since the market price of commodities produced by oligopolies is determined
by a mark-up over costs, this means that they contribute to inflation as
they adapt to increasing costs or falls in their rate of profit by increasing
prices. However, this does not mean that oligopolistic capitalism is
not subject to slumps. Far from it. Class struggle will influence the
share of wages (and so profit share) as wage increases will not be
fully offset by price increases -- higher prices mean lower demand and
there is always the threat of competition from other oligopolies. In
addition, class struggle will also have an impact on productivity and the
amount of surplus value in the economy as a whole, which places major
limitations on the stability of the system. Thus oligopolistic capitalism
still has to contend with the effects of social resistance to hierarchy,
exploitation and oppression that afflicted the more competitive capitalism
of the past.
<p>
The distributive effects of oligopoly skews income, thus the degree of
monopoly has a major impact on the degree of inequality in household
distribution. The flow of wealth to the top helps to skew production away
from working class needs (by outbidding others for resources and having
firms produce goods for elite markets while others go without). The
empirical evidence presented by Keith Cowling <i>"points to the conclusion
that a redistribution from wages to profits will have a depressive impact
on consumption"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 51] which may cause depression.
High profits also means that more can be retaining by the firm to fund
investment (or pay high level managers more salaries or increase dividends,
of course). When capital expands faster than labour income over-investment
is an increasing problem and aggregate demand cannot keep up to counteract
falling profit shares (see <a href="secC7.html">section C.7</a> on more about the business cycle).
Moreover, as the capital stock is larger, oligopoly will also have a
tendency to deepen the eventual slump, making it last long and harder
to recover from.
<p>
Looking at oligopoly from an efficiency angle, the existence of super
profits from oligopolies means that the higher price within a market
allows inefficient firms to continue production. Smaller firms can
make average (non-oligopolistic) profits <b>in spite</b> of having higher 
costs, sub-optimal plant and so on. This results in inefficient use of 
resources as market forces cannot work to eliminate firms which have higher 
costs than average (one of the key features of capitalism according to
its supporters). And, of course, oligopolistic profits skew allocative
efficiency as a handful of firms can out-bid all the rest, meaning that
resources do not go where they are most needed but where the largest
effective demand lies.
<p>
Such large resources available to oligopolistic companies also allows
inefficient firms to survive on the market even in the face of competition
from other oligopolistic firms. As Richard B. Du Boff points out, efficiency
can also be <i>"impaired when market power so reduces competitive pressures
that administrative reforms can be dispensed with. One notorious case was
. . . U.S. Steel [formed in 1901]. Nevertheless, the company was hardly
a commercial failure, effective market control endured for decades, and
above normal returns were made on the watered stock. . . Another such case
was Ford. The company survived the 1930s only because of cash reserves
socked away in its glory days. 'Ford provides an excellent illustration
of the fact that a really large business organisation can withstand a
surprising amount of mismanagement.'"</i> [<b>Accumulation and Power</b>, p. 174]
<p>
Thus Big Business reduces efficiency within an economy on many levels
as well as having significant and lasting impact on society's social,
economic and political structure. 
<p>
The effects of the concentration of capital and wealth on society are very
important, which is why we are discussing capitalism's tendency to result
in big business. The impact of the wealth of the few on the lives of the
many is indicated in <a href="secDcon.html">section D</a> of the FAQ. As shown there, in addition to
involving direct authority over employees, capitalism also involves indirect
control over communities through the power that stems from wealth.
<p>
Thus capitalism is not the free market described by such people as Adam
Smith -- the level of capital concentration has made a mockery of the ideas
of free competition.
<p>
<a name="secc43"><h2>C.4.3 What does the existence of Big Business mean for 
economic theory and wage labour?</h2>
<p>
Here we indicate the impact of Big Business on economic theory itself and
wage labour. In the words of Michal Kalecki, perfect competition is
<i>"a most unrealistic assumption"</i> and <i>"when its actual status of a handy
model is forgotten becomes a dangerous myth."</i> [quoted by Malcolm C. Sawyer,
<b>The Economics of Michal Kalecki</b>, p. 8] Unfortunately mainstream capitalist
economics is <b>built</b> on this myth. Ironically, it was against a <i>"background
[of rising Big Business in the 1890s] that the grip of marginal economics,
an imaginary world of many small firms. . . was consolidated in the
economics profession."</i> Thus, <i>"[a]lmost from its conception, the theoretical
postulates of marginal economics concerning the nature of companies [and
of markets, we must add] have been a travesty of reality."</i> [Paul Ormerod,
<b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 55-56]
<p>
That the assumptions of economic ideology so contradicts reality has important
considerations on the "voluntary" nature of wage labour. If the competitive
model assumed by neo-classical economics held we would see a wide range of
ownership types (including co-operatives, extensive self-employment and
workers hiring capital) as there would be no "barriers of entry" associated
with firm control. This is not the case -- workers hiring capital is
non-existent and self-employment and co-operatives are marginal. The 
dominant control form is capital hiring labour (wage slavery).
<p>
With a model based upon "perfect competition," supporters of capitalism
could build a case that wage labour is a voluntary choice -- after all,
workers (in such a market) could hire capital or form co-operatives
relatively easily. But the <b>reality</b> of the "free" market is such that
this model is does not exist -- and as an assumption, it is seriously
misleading. If we take into account the actuality of the capitalist
economy, we soon have to realise that oligopoly is the dominant form
of market and that the capitalist economy, by its very nature, restricts
the options available to workers -- which makes the notion that wage
labour is a "voluntary" choice untenable.
<p>
If the economy is so structured as to make entry into markets difficult
and survival dependent on accumulating capital, then these barriers are
just as effective as government decrees. If small businesses are
squeezed by oligopolies then chances of failure are increased (and so
off-putting to workers with few resources) and if income inequality is
large, then workers will find it very hard to find the collateral
required to borrow capital and start their own co-operatives. Thus,
looking at the <b>reality</b> of capitalism (as opposed to the textbooks) it
is clear that the existence of oligopoly helps to maintain wage labour
by restricting the options available on the "free market" for working
people.
<p>
As we noted in <a href="secC4.html">section C.4</a>, those with little capital are reduced to
markets with low set-up costs and low concentration. Thus, claim the
supporters of capitalism, workers still have a choice. However, this
choice is (as we have indicated) somewhat limited by the existence of
oligopolistic markets -- so limited, in fact, that less than 10% of
the working population are self-employed workers. Moreover, it is
claimed, technological forces may work to increase the number of
markets that require low set-up costs (the computing market is often
pointed to as an example). However, similar predictions were made over
100 years ago when the electric motor began to replace the steam
engine in factories. <i>"The new technologies [of the 1870s] may have been
compatible with small production units and decentralised operations. . .
That. . . expectation was not fulfilled."</i> [Richard B. Du Boff, <b>Op. Cit.</b>,
p. 65] From the history of capitalism, we imagine that markets
associated with new technologies will go the same way.
<p>
The reality of capitalist development is that even <b>if</b> workers invested
in new markets, one that require low set-up costs, the dynamic of the
system is such that over time these markets will also become dominated by
a few big firms. Moreover, to survive in an oligopolised economy small
cooperatives will be under pressure to hire wage labour and otherwise act
as capitalist concerns (see <a href="secJ5.html#secj511">section J.5.11</a>). Therefore, even if we ignore
the massive state intervention which created capitalism in the first place
(see <a href="secB3.html#secb32">section B.3.2</a>), the dynamics of the system are such that relations of
domination and oppression will always be associated with it -- they cannot
be "competed" away as the actions of competition creates and re-enforces
them (also see sections <a href="secJ5.html#secj511">J.5.11</a> and 
<a href="secJ5.html#secj512">J.5.12</a> on the barriers capitalism place
on co-operatives and self-management even though they are more efficient).
<p>
So the effects of the concentration of capital on the options open to us
are great and very important. The existence of Big Business has a direct
impact on the "voluntary" nature of wage labour as it produces very
effective "barriers of entry" for alternative modes of production. The
resultant pressures big business place on small firms also reduces the
viability of co-operatives and self-employment to survive <b>as</b> co-operatives
and non-employers of wage labour, effectively marginalising them as true
alternatives. Moreover, even in new markets the dynamics of capitalism are
such that <b>new</b> barriers are created all the time, again reducing our
options.
<p>
Overall, the <b>reality</b> of capitalism is such that the equality of opportunity
implied in models of "perfect competition" is lacking. And without such
equality, wage labour cannot be said to be a "voluntary" choice between
available options -- the options available have been skewed so far in one
direction that the other alternatives have been marginalised.
<p>
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