A monopoly exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it – what price is charged, in what quantity, to whom it is available, and so forth. Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.
Ironically, contrary to the consensus of historians, it was not the existence of monopoly which caused the federal government to intervene in the economy, but the lack of it.
Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservative, Chicago: IL, Quadrangle Publishing Co. (1967) pp. 4-5
Local economic independence cannot be preserved in the face of consolidations such as we have had during the past few years. The control of American business is steadily being transferred, I am sorry to have to say, from local communities to a few large cities in which central managers decide the policies and the fate of the far-flung enterprises they control. Millions of people depend helplessly on their judgment. Through monopolistic mergers the people are losing power to direct their own economic welfare. When they lose the power to direct their economic welfare, they also lose the means to direct their political future.
Estes Kefauver, Senate Hearing, 1947, reported in Michael J. Sandel, Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy (1998), p. 243.
Mr. Wilson says of the trust plank in that platform that it "did not anywhere condemn monopoly except in words." Exactly of what else could a platform consist? Does Mr. Wilson expect us to use algebraic signs? This criticism is much as if he said the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence contained nothing but words.
A cartel or trust confers various benefits on the entrepreneur - a saving in costs, a stronger position as against the workers - but none of these compares with this one advantage: a monopolistic price policy, possible to any considerable degree only behind an adequate protective tariff. Now the price that brings the maximum monopoly profit is generally far above the price that would be fixed by fluctuating competitive costs, and the volume that can be marketed at that maximum price is generally far below the output that would be technically and economically feasible. ... Yet the trust must produce it - or approximately as much - otherwise the advantages of large-scale enterprise remain unexploited and unit costs are likely to be uneconomically high. ... [The trust] extricates itself from this dilemma by producing the full output that is economically feasible, thus securing low costs, and offering in the protected domestic market only the quantity corresponding to the monopoly price - insofar as the tariff permits; while the rest is sold, or "dumped," abroad at a lower price.
... the lies that people tell ... the people who have monopolies pretend not to. ... you don't want to get regulated by the government ... So if the monopolists pretend not to have monopolies, the non-monopolists pretend to have monopolies. ... If you are a non-monopolist, you will rhetorically describe your market as super-small ... you are the only person in that market.