Today as a fictional owner of the formerly real telephone company MaBell (not a fictional company), I and others on my side of the classroom demonstrated quite ably why monopolies are a good thing.
We sold the other side of the classroom telephones
Rented them the phones and anything else we could attach a rental fee too
Got a class member who thought she was being clever by claiming to be Amish, thus not needing a phone (that would be Luddite) and thus not needing to take part in class, to put her entire community to work building telephone poles for our company until we no longer needed telephone poles
She would later go onto represent a school district that would take our old hardware with technical support in exchange for marketing our company throughout the schools…brand loyalty and recognition cradle to the grave baby
Meanwhile or previously, a farmer rented us land in exchange for a free telephone poll
The government accepted phones from us in exchange for a tax break-got to plan ahead, speaking of which we should have negotiated merchandising then, learn from George Lucas.
Business knuckled under or willingly joined us and when a new company came along, formed by a skeptic and the farmer (see above), our company bought them out right as they were promising new and better services to the rest of the class…talk about some confused students…one second, “Yes we will take your new and cheaper product.” To, “What the hell? Where did they go?” “They are rich and they (pointing at us) now own the product you were just about to buy.” We raised prices immediately.
The government only asked a few things from us, one that we give up a small portion of our company to the public. We sold it and then the stock market crashed…oops. That we not buy computers…make that not buy IBM. Fine, we did not buy IBM, but we did work with IBM.
And eventually, after much wrangling, our beneficial monopoly was broken up into several smaller “competition” companies that continued doing business the old fashioned way…sticking it to the common man.
By the end of the class I felt good about being the faux president/owner/dictator of a formerly real company, as I was able to demonstrate that I could indeed use others to make myself rich and when other people made “good” deals they were actually pawns in a longer plan of mine.
If not for that pesky government always listening to the consumers complaints and then asking us to do stuff. What the hell government? I thought you were supposed to be a friend to big business. What is bigger business than a company that owned all of the telecom, other than that pesky computer company, who for a while needed our telephone lines and thus was forced to work with us? Nothing is bigger, and that may have been the flaw in my plan…
We were a threat to the government, because after owning everything else what was left? The answer government. Next time, I will make my play to control the government faster and eliminate the competition in a more leisurely fashion.
And that was my and now your education for the day. 🙂