A Stone Is a Rock in a Black Market . . .

#AntitrustLaws #FederalTradeCommission #ShermanAntitrustAct #AnnaPerdue

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[1] https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/single-firm-conduct/monopolization-defined

The antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power. This, is according to the Federal Trade Commission found on their website. Most Section 2 claims involve the conduct of a firm with a leading market position, although Section 2 of the Sherman Act also bans attempts to monopolize and conspiracies to monopolize.


As a first step, courts ask if the firm has "monopoly power" in any market. This requires in-depth study of the products sold by the leading firm, and any alternative products consumers may turn to if the firm attempted to raise prices.


Then courts ask if that leading position was gained or maintained through improper conduct—that is, something other than merely having a better product, superior management or historic accident. Here courts evaluate the anticompetitive effects of the conduct and its procompetitive justifications.[1] ...but what happens if a big Corporations owns the major shares of nearly every major business in the world? We’ll get to that soon. ...but first,


[2] https://www.investopedia.com/insights/history-of-us-monopolies/

Monopolies came to the United States with the colonial administration. The large-scale public works needed to make the New World hospitable to Old World immigrants required large companies to carry them out. These companies were granted exclusive contracts for these works by the colonial administrators. Even after the American Revolution, many of these colonial holdovers still functioned due to the contracts and land that they held.


A monopoly is characterized by a lack of competition, which can mean higher prices and inferior products. However, the great economic power that monopolies hold has also had positive consequences for the U.S. Monopolies control the majority of market share in their industry or sector with little to no competition.


The last great American monopolies were created a century apart, and one lasted over a century. The Sherman Antitrust Act banned trusts and monopolistic combinations that placed “unreasonable” restrictions on interstate and international trade. Globalization and the maturity of the world economy have prompted calls for the retirement of antitrust laws.


The focus of modern-day monopolies centers around Internet companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet. In response to a large public outcry to check the price-fixing abuses of these monopolies, the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890. This act banned trusts and monopolistic combinations that placed “unreasonable” restrictions on interstate and international trade.


The act acted like a hammer for the government, giving it the power to shatter big companies into smaller pieces to suit their own needs. Despite this act’s passage in 1890, the next 50 years saw the formation of many domestic monopolies. However, during this same period, the antitrust legislation was used to attack several monopolies, with varying levels of success. The general trend with the use of the act seemed to have been to make a distinction between good monopolies and bad monopolies, as seen by the government.


One example is International Harvester, which produced cheap agricultural equipment for a largely agrarian nation and was considered untouchable regarding political reasons. American Tobacco, on the other hand, was suspected of charging more than a fair price for cigarettes—then touted as the cure for everything from asthma to menstrual cramps—and consequently became a victim of legislators’ wrath in 1907 and was broken up in 1911.


The oil industry was prone to what is called a natural monopoly because of the rarity of the products that it produced. John D. Rockefeller, the founder and chair of Standard Oil, and his partners took advantage of both the rarity of oil and the revenue produced from it to set up a monopoly without the help of the banks.


The business practices and questionable tactics that Rockefeller used to create Standard Oil would make the Enron crowd blush. By the time Standard Oil had cornered 90% of oil production and distribution in the United States, it had learned how to make money off of even its industrial waste, with Vaseline being but one of the new products it launched. Andrew Carnegie went a long way in creating a monopoly in the steel industry when J.P. Morgan bought his steel company and melded it into U.S. Steel.


A monstrous corporation approaching the size of Standard Oil, U.S. Steel actually did very little with the resources in its grasp, which can point to the limitations of having only one owner with a single vision. The corporation survived its court battle with the Sherman Act and went on to lobby the government for protective tariffs to help it compete internationally, but it grew very little. Following the breakup of sugar, tobacco, oil, and meatpacking monopolies, big business didn’t know where to turn because there were no clear guidelines about what constituted monopolistic business practices.


The founders and management of so-called “bad monopolies” were also enraged by the hands-off approach taken with International Harvester. They justly argued that the Sherman Act didn’t make any allowance for a specific business or product and that its execution should be universal rather than operate like a lightning bolt, striking select businesses at the government’s behest. In response, the Clayton Act was introduced in 1914. It set some specific examples of practices that would attract Sherman’s hammer.


Among these were interlocking directorships, tie-in sales, and certain mergers and acquisitions if they substantially lessened the competition in a market. This was followed by a succession of other acts demanding that businesses consult the government before any large mergers or acquisitions took place. Monopolies tend to arise at a point in history when new products or services become dominant within society, such as oil, telephone service, computer software, and now, social media.


Although these innovations did give businesses a slightly clearer picture of what not to do, they did little to curb the randomness of antitrust action. Major League Baseball even found itself under investigation in the 1920s, but it escaped by claiming to be a sport rather than a business and thus not classified as interstate commerce. The last great American monopolies were created a century apart, and one lasted over a century. Others were very short-lived or still continue operating today. AT&T Inc., a government-supported monopoly, was a public utility that would have to be considered a coercive monopoly.


Like Standard Oil, the AT&T monopoly made the industry more efficient and wasn’t guilty of fixing prices, but rather of the potential to fix prices. The breakup of AT&T by then-President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s gave birth to the “Baby Bells.” Since that time, many of the Baby Bells have begun to merge and increase in size to provide better service to a wider area. Very likely, the breakup of AT&T caused a sharp reduction in service quality for many customers—and, in some cases, higher prices—but the settling period has elapsed, and the Baby Bells are growing to find a natural balance in the market without calling down Sherman’s hammer again.


Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), on the other hand, was never actually broken up even though it lost its case. The case against it was centered on whether Microsoft was abusing its position as essentially a noncoercive monopoly. Microsoft has been challenged by many companies over time, including by Google, over its operating systems’ continuing hostility to competitors’ software. Just as U.S. Steel couldn’t dominate the market indefinitely because of innovative domestic and international competition, the same is true for Microsoft.


A noncoercive monopoly only exists as long as brand loyalty and consumer apathy keep people from searching for a better alternative. In the world today, technology companies are the new powerful companies, none so much as Facebook (FB), which many consider to be a modern-day monopoly. In December 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Facebook, claiming that it is maintaining its social networking monopoly via anticompetitive conduct.


The FTC claims that Facebook has done this through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the largest social media networks, as well as through imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers. The five most used social media platforms worldwide as of January 2021 are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Facebook owns four out of five, or 80%. That is a significant amount of control regarding how data is shared, how advertising is conducted, and the fact that consumers have very little in terms of other options to use. Facebook really doesn’t have that much competition.


The FTC has called for a breakup of Facebook through the divestiture of WhatsApp and Instagram, but whether or not the government is able to break up Facebook remains to be seen. Monopolies in American history were large companies that controlled the industry or sector they were in with the ability to control the price of the goods and services they provided. Monopolies are bad because they control the market in which they do business, meaning that they don’t have any competitors. When a company has no competitors, consumers have no choice but to buy from the monopoly.


This means that a monopoly can charge high prices above fair market rates and produce inferior-quality goods, allowing their profits to increase, knowing that consumers will still have to buy their products. Monopolies also mean a lack of innovation because there is no incentive to find new ways to make better products.

Amazon (AMZN) is considered to be a monopoly because it has significant control over its third-party sellers and suppliers—if they want their products to be sold, then they have few options but to sell them on Amazon’s platform, where a significant amount of retail business is now done worldwide.


Amazon’s share of U.S. online retail sales is estimated at 40%, but that figure is believed to be underestimated and more accurately considered to be 50%. Amazon believes these third-party sellers to be competitors and, therefore, has practiced anticompetitive behavior with them to maintain its dominance—and is able to do so because it has such a high market share. [2] ...but what about these Corporations’ asset management firms? Consider how these monopolies created the mother-load of monopolies and how these entities have destroyed America.


[3] https://strangesounds.org/2021/07/blackrock-is-buying-up-us-homes-like-no-tomorrow-real-estate-market-housing.html

Yes! Big Corps destroy the American dream! Blackrock – one of the largest asset management firms – is buying up US homes like no tomorrow.


Homeownership has long been considered an important tool for building financial security and wealth, but it’s becoming more difficult for Americans to achieve. Younger generations are less likely to own a home than those from older generations, with millennials’ homeownership rate 8% lower than that of generation X and baby boomers at the same age. If the rate had remained steady, about 3.4 million more people would own homes in the U.S. today but, instead, younger adults are increasingly choosing to either rent or live with their parents.


There are a number of reasons why homeownership has become less attainable than it was decades ago, from rising debt in younger generations to increased cost of living. A report by the Urban Institute found half those aged 18 to 34 were spending upward of 30% of their income on rent, making them “rent-burdened.” Meanwhile, median housing prices increased 28% in the last two years, pricing some out of the market. However, the shift is not all happenstance.


In the first quarter of 2021, 15% of U.S. homes sold were purchased by corporate investors — not families looking to achieve their American dream. While they’re competing with middle-class Americans for the homes, the average American has virtually no chance of winning a home over an investment firm, which may pay 20% to 50% over asking price, in cash, sometimes scooping up entire neighborhoods at once so they can turn them into rentals.


BlackRock is one of a number of companies mentioned by The Wall Street Journal in a recent exposé. “Yield-chasing investors are snapping up single-family homes, competing with ordinary Americans and driving up prices,” they warned. The question is, why would institutional investors and BlackRock, which manages assets worth $5.7 trillion, be interested in overpaying for modest, single-family homes? To understand the answer, you must look at BlackRock’s partners, which include the World Economic Forum (WEF), and their extreme political and financial clout.


In a Twitter thread posted by user Cultural-husbandry, it’s noted: If the average American is pushed out of the housing market, and most of the available housing is owned by investment groups and corporations, you become beholden to them as your landlord. This fulfills part of the Great Reset’s “new normal” dictum — the part where you will own nothing and be happy. This isn’t a conspiracy theory; it’s part of World Economic Forum’s 2030 agenda.


The unstated implication is that the world’s resources will be owned and controlled by the technocratic elite, and you’ll have to pay for the temporary use of absolutely everything. Nothing will actually belong to you, including your home. All items and resources are to be used by the collective, while actual ownership is restricted to an upper stratum of social class. The wealth transfer has already begun. BlackRock’s has no rivals on the market. The New York Times and a majority of other legacy media are largely owned by BlackRock and the Vanguard Group, the two largest asset management firms in the world, which also control Big Pharma. And it doesn’t end there.

BlackRock and Vanguard are at the top of a pyramid that controls basically everything, but you don’t hear about their terrifying monopoly because they also own the media. In the video on the channel Humans Are Free it was summed up this way: “The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly.


A Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028, together will have investments in the amount of 20 trillion dollars. That means that they will own almost everything. Bloomberg calls BlackRock ‘The fourth branch of government,’ because it’s the only private agency that closely works with the central banks. BlackRock lends money to the central bank but it’s also the advisor. It also develops the software the central bank uses. … BlackRock, itself is also owned by shareholders … The biggest shareholder is Vanguard …


The elite who owns Vanguard apparently do not like being in the spotlight but of course they cannot hide from who is willing to dig. Reports from Oxfam and Bloomberg say that 1% of the world, together owns more money than the other 99%. Even worse, Oxfam says that 82% of all earned money in 2017 went to this 1%. In other words, these two investment companies, Vanguard and BlackRock hold a monopoly in all industries in the world and they, in turn are owned by the richest families in the world, some of whom are royalty and who have been very rich since before the Industrial Revolution.”


BlackRock may control the World’s Economic Future. To put this into perspective, BlackRock, an investment firm, has more power than most governments on Earth, and it also controls the Federal Reserve, Wall Street mega-banks like Goldman Sachs and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset, according to F. William Engdahl, a strategic risk consultant and lecturer who holds a degree in politics from Princeton University.

Engdahl believes that, left unchecked, BlackRock will soon control the economic future of the world, and states, “BlackRock is the epitome of what Mussolini called Corporatism, where unelected corporate elite dictates top down to the population.” For instance, three influential economic appointees of the current administration come from BlackRock.


“There is a definite pattern and suggests that the role of BlackRock in Washington is far larger than we are being told,” Engdahl says. The Campaign for Accountability also released a report in 2019 detailing how BlackRock “implemented a strategy of lobbying, campaign contributions, and revolving door hires to fight off government regulation and establish itself as one of the most powerful financial companies in the world.”


BlackRock founder and CEO Larry Fink also has close ties to World Economic Forum’s head Klaus Schwab, and joined WEF’s board in 2019. According to Engdahl: “Fink … now stands positioned to use the huge weight of BlackRock to create what is potentially, if it doesn’t collapse before, the world’s largest Ponzi scam, Environment, Social values and Governance corporate investing. Fink with $9 trillion to leverage is pushing the greatest shift of capital in history into a scam known as Environment, Social values and Governance Investing.


The UN ‘sustainable economy’ agenda is being realized quietly by the very same global banks which have created the financial crises in 2008. This time they are preparing the Klaus Schwab Great Reset by steering hundreds of billions and soon trillions in investment to their hand-picked ‘woke’ companies, and away from the ‘not woke’ such as oil and gas companies or coal. … Oil companies like ExxonMobil or coal companies no matter how clear are doomed as Fink and friends now promote their financial Great Reset or Green New Deal


… And we can expect that the New York Times will cheer BlackRock on as it destroys the world financial structures.” Blackstone Is the Largest Landlord in the US. Another giant private equity firm, Blackstone, is also deeply entrenched in U.S. real estate. Blackstone is the largest landlord in the U.S. as well as the largest real estate company worldwide, with a portfolio worth $325 billion. In June 2021, Blackstone agreed to buy Home Partners of America, a company that rents single-family houses, and its 17,000 houses, for $6 billion. Blackstone and BlackRock sound alike for a reason.


Blackstone’s co-founder, billionaire Steve Schwarzman, said during an interview on Squawk Box that he and Fink “started in business together. We put up the initial capital.” BlackRock used to be called Blackstone Financial, but Fink went off on his own. Schwarzman said, “Larry and I were sitting down and he said, ‘What do you think about having a family name with ‘black’ in it,’” and BlackRock was born. Blackstone became notorious for swooping in after the housing bubble burst and buying tens of thousands of homes at deeply discounted prices.


They then turned them into single-family rentals, taking advantage of the recession. In 2017, Bloomberg reported: “Blackstone built its rental-home business with an advantage few if any other buyers could match: billions of dollars in credit from large banks. Its Invitation Homes subsidiary quickly became the largest single-family home landlord in the U.S., with 50,000 properties. Altogether, hedge funds, private-equity firms and real estate investment trusts have raised about $20 billion to purchase as many as 200,000 homes to rent.”


Now, with many struggling due to yearlong business shutdowns and lockdowns, and home prices rising, many Americans are having difficulty finding affordable single-family homes to buy. BlackRock owns your house, Gates owns your farmland. Both BlackRock CEO Fink and Bill Gates are pushing for “net zero” carbon emissions. But as BlackRock is busy buying up houses, Gates is hard at work amassing farmland and is now the largest owner of farmland in the U.S.


By 2030, Gates is pushing for drastic, fundamental changes, including widespread consumption of fake meat, adoption of next generation nuclear energy and growth of a fungus as a new type of nutritional protein. The deadline Gates has given to reach net zero emissions is 2050, likely because he wants to realize his global vision during his lifetime. But according to Vandana Shiva, in order to force the world to accept this new food and agricultural system, new conditionality's are being created through net zero “nature-based” solutions.


Navdanya’s report, “Earth Democracy: Connecting Rights of Mother Earth to Human Rights and Well-Being of All,” explains: “If ‘feeding the world’ through chemicals and dwarf varieties bred for chemicals was the false narrative created to impose the Green Revolution, the new false narrative is ‘sustainability’ and ‘saving the planet.’ In the new ‘net zero’ world, farmers will not be respected and rewarded as custodians of the land and caregivers, as Annadatas, the providers of our food and health. … ‘Net Zero’ is a new strategy to get rid of small farmers in first through ‘digital farming’ and ‘farming without farmers’ and then through the burden of fake carbon accounting.


Carbon offsets and the new accounting trick of ‘net zero’ does not mean zero emissions. It means the rich polluters will continue to pollute and also grab the land and resources of those who have not polluted — indigenous people and small farmers — for carbon offsets.” Ultimately, we’re heading for a new wave of colonization in the name of sustainability and net zero carbon emissions. The solutions are complex. Some have suggested that one solution is to make building homes less expensive, so that new construction homes become less expensive. This, in turn, would drive down the cost of existing homes.


Or the Federal Reserve could be put to an end to stop the central planning of our money supply and interest rates, which are artificially suppressed in a way that is most taken advantage of by the top 1%, contributing to growing wealth inequality. This engineered pandemic has catalyzed the transfer of wealth to the rich and, while the major players pushing for the Great Reset are still emerging, BlackRock and Blackstone are names to keep your eye on.


The media-fueled dividing lines of race, religion, past-colonization, gender and sexual orientation are meant to divide and distract the average person from the real sources of oppression and inequality in our world today – namely companies like Blackrock and Vanguard – who are seeking to eventually bring about a new form of feudalism where they own everything and the average person owns nothing. [3]

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Sources:

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/single-firm-conduct/monopolization-defined

[2] https://strangesounds.org/2021/07/blackrock-is-buying-up-us-homes-like-no-tomorrow-real-estate-market-housing.html

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