Oligopoly; How We Can Beat Them

A while ago, I wrote about the evils of oligopoly. I thought I would return to that subject since the inherent injustice of being forced to deal with a single company (I’m talking about you; PG&E) which then forces you to sign a contract riddled with small print if you want their service, and freeze to death if you don’t is also matched by it’s simple unconstitutionality.

It is illegal to force citizens of this country to use the service of only one company or make a law that requires them to buy a product. That is why universal health care is unconstitutional, because that would be just like the American government making a law that mandates that you have to buy a Ford, and you have to do so this year or you will be penalized and jailed (hey, maybe that would fix the American auto industry… yeah…).

With companies like PG&E, which are given a feudal feifdom as their cut of the people of California and not even allowed to compete with any other firm for that service, they don’t just grow callous in dealing with customers, nor do they merely stand by and let old people die because they can’t pay over the internet (which has happened), but the very unconstitutional nature of this practice shows us a solution to the problem.

The solution is simple and deadly effective. We go on strike.

If we American citizens are being forced to accept the terms of a contract or suffer consequences that are literally life threatening, then under the normally understood precepts of contract law, we are making an agreement under duress. That means we are being forced to agree. Your little paper with all the fine print that you had to sign to get PG&E service, if you had no other choice of a supplier, is no more legal than a will signed by a man who has a burglar standing over him with a gun. Neither contract will hold up in a court of law, since both were signed by a person under duress at the time.

Millions of people are divided up exactly like medieval peasants and handed off to various electricity and gas suppliers by state governments. If this practice were to be challenged in the Supreme Court, I do not doubt that it would be found illegal. You cannot be made to buy a certain product by the government, and being denied all options save one is the same thing.

What we need to do to break the oligopolies is very simple. We refuse. Oh, I know; if one or two people refuse to pay their electricity bill, they get it cut off. If 500 or a thousand don’t pay; it gets into the newspaper and local TV news. If 5000 people don’t pay, there is no way in hell PG&E or any other oligopolist can afford to cut power on anybody. It’s called politics. They would have mayors and county officials, state legislators and US Congressmen on the phone asking them why they are suddenly darkening entire swaths of major cities. If you have more than 5000 people on strike against the oligopolists at once, they will cave. They have no way to enforce the illegal contracts they forced on everybody and they will have to back down. Just like any strike, if a large number of people join, it becomes incredibly powerful. This one just happens to have the constitution on it’s side and the oligopolists know it.

The demands for a successful strike against local oligopoly power should be these; we demand a choice. If we do not have a choice, we are under duress to agree to whatever terms the company decides. If we have a choice of a provider, we are not under duress by definition, and we cannot legally refuse to pay our bill. This is a simple demand. This is a constitutional demand, and it will be upheld at the highest level if it goes that far.

We have to decide that we are going to actually do something about our fading freedoms in this country. We have to decide that we really want the constitution to return to force. If we do not make this choice to act, not just complain, then this slide away from freedom will not just continue, it will accelerate.

We can beat the oligopolies, it is a simple matter of acting together and laying out a clear, coherent, message.
No one deserves to be handed over to any company like a serf. If we have forgotten that basic truth, then we are no longer the America that was known as the torch of freedom to the World.

Let’s stand up and speak out, because if we don’t, we will lose the few freedoms we still have left.

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~ by Jubal Biggs on December 18, 2009.

One Response to “Oligopoly; How We Can Beat Them”

  1. […] Oligopoly; How We Can Beat Them December 2009 3 […]

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