Most of us are taught to think of a monopoly as simply any lone seller of a good or service, but this definition is fraught with problems, as Murray Rothbard, Austrian economists generally, and others have long pointed out. It overlooks, for example, the factor of potential competition. If a lone seller knows that someone could challenge his "monopoly" by entering the market, that will tend to influence the seller's pricing and service policies. Is he then really a monopolist even if, for the time being, he's alone in the market? The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, writes Sheldon Richman, like lock and key, or mother and son. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second.
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