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What is a Monopoly? The word Monopoly is made of two words; MONO + POLY. Here “Mono” means one and “Poly” implies the seller, thereby the literal meaning of the word Monopoly is one seller or one producer. Thus, pure monopoly refers to that form of market organization wherein there is a single firm (or producer) producing a commodity for which there are no good or close substitutes. The monopolist is not bothered by the reaction of rival firms since it has no rival. So the demand curve faced by the monopoly firm is the same as the industry demand curve. So, what is the topic of the question we are going to discuss; What do you think of Monopoly? Understand the Monopoly on the Characteristics, Purpose, and Strength. Read in Hindi.

Here are explained about Monopoly: Understand the Monopoly on the Characteristics, Purpose, and Strength.

The market, form of monopoly is the opposite extreme from that perfect competition. It exists whenever an industry is in the hands of the single producer. In the case of perfect competition, there are so many individual producers that no one of them has any power over the market and an; one firm can increase or diminish its production without affecting the market price. A monopoly, on the other hand, has the power to influence the market price. By reducing its output, it can force the price up, and by increasing its output it can force the price down.

According to Watson, “A monopolist is the only producer of a product that has no close substitutes.” Changes in prices and outputs of other goods sold in the economy must leave the monopolist unaffected. Conversely, changes in the monopolist’s price and output must leave the other producers of the economy unaffected.

In the words of Salvatore, “Monopoly is the form of market organization in which there is a single firm selling a commodity for which there are no close substitutes.” The cross elasticity of demand with every other product is very low. This means that no other firms produce a similar product. Thus, the monopoly firm is itself an industry and the monopolist faces the industry demand curve. The demand curve for his product is, therefore, relatively stable and slopes downward to the right, given the tastes and incomes of his customers.

The Characteristics of Monopoly:

We may state the features or characteristics of monopoly as:

One Seller and a Large Number of Buyers:

The monopolist’s firm is the only firm; it is an industry. But the number of buyers is assumed to be large.

The difficulty of Entry of New Firms and Industry:

Firms – There are either natural or artificial restrictions on the entry of firms into the industry, even when the firm is making abnormal profits. Industry – Under monopoly, there is only one firm which constitutes the industry. Difference between firm and industry comes to an end. Since in monopoly there is a single firm producing the commodity, hence the difference between firm and industry vanishes automatically.

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Barriers to the Entry:

The entry into the industry is completely barred or made impossible. If new firms are admitted into the industry, monopoly itself breaks down. This ban on entry may be legal, natural or institutional but it must essentially be there.

Price Maker:

Under monopoly, the monopolist has full control over the supply of the commodity. But due to a large number of buyers, the demand of any one buyer constitutes an infinitely small part of the total demand. Therefore, buyers have to pay the price fixed by the monopolist.

Price-Discrimination is Possible:

Under the conditions of monopoly, price-discrimination is possible. It implies that a monopolist can sell its product at different prices to different customers.

In short, monopoly depends basically on two factors:

  • Absences of close substitutes, and.
  • Restriction on the competition.
No Close Substitutes:

For the monopoly to exist single producer is the necessary condition but not a sufficient one. It is also essential that there should be no close substitute of the commodity in the market. This second condition would be even more difficult to fulfill than the first since there are few things for which there is no substitute. For instance, Usha is produced by a single firm alone but there are close substitutes of Usha fans that are available in the market in the form of Railfans, Khaitan Ashoka, Crompton, etc. Hence, though the firm producing Usha fans is single yet it cannot be termed a monopoly firm.

It is, therefore, essential for a monopoly to exist that there should be no close substitutes available in the market. This condition can be stated in other words as that the cross elasticity of demand for the output of the firm with respect to the price of every firm’s product is zero. There shall not be any close substitutes for the product sold by the monopolist. The cross elasticity of demand between the product of the monopolist and others must be negligible or zero.

Positive And Negative Purpose Of Monopoly:

Currently, in many countries around the world, the monopoly in the business still has debatement and it is applied in some fields. Therefore, there will be two exclusive aspects: positive and negative when applied in the business methods of a certain field. The main points lead to monopoly are Government concessions resources for a certain firm, the ownership of inventions, patents and intellectual property, ownership is a great resource.

Positive Purpose:

As a result, we can analyze the positive outlook base on Viet Nam Oil And Gas Group (Petrovietnam) – one of the most popular corporations in Viet Nam since 1985 till now. Petrovietnam has supposed as a powerful economic group in Vietnam, known in the region and the world. In this situation, the profits that Petrovietnam earns to provide funds that can be invested in equipment and development.

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Whereas perfect competition must be accepted with a normal return on invested capital, the monopolist has more funds to undertake the development further. Importantly, the ability to achieve a monopoly position or to maintain it and step ahead of potential competitors, Petrovietnam has to do innovation in products, techniques and cost savings. They also may not need to spend more money on advertising, marketing, promotions, etc.

Negative Purpose:

Due to maximize revenue, the monopolist would produce goods which marginal sales equal marginal revenue instead of producing output level which prices higher than marginal cost as in the market (supply equals demand). Besides, different from perfect competition which price depends on the quantity of producing of a firm. Price of Petrovietnam would increase while decreasing the quantity of produce. For this reason, profit margins will be higher than selling price.

Besides, producing more oil products will make the enterprise gets more revenue and it also will be the higher selling price. Accordingly, sometimes Petrovietnam suddenly increases the price higher while the international market price was decreasing and the market did not change. Thus, people have to buy oil and gas at an expensive price because oil and gas are important in life. Although people complained, Petrovietnam still keeps the price high.

In this case, we can see easily that they misused the power of monopolist sometimes. In short, the monopolist will produce lower and price of selling goods is higher than the competitive market. In addition, society has to bear loss by increased output minus the marginal total cost to produce the output which should be produced more. It is the toll by the monopolist. In addition, lack of incentive to innovate also impact the demand and supply.

Measuring Monopoly Power (Strength):

Different measures that have been suggested are as follows:

By Concentration Ratio:

Concentration ratio refers to the fraction of total market sales controlled by the largest group of sellers. The inclusion of the market shares of several firms in the concentration ratio rests upon the possibility that large firms will adopt a common price- output policy which may not be very different from the one they would adopt if they were under unified management. But here the difficulty arises that they may not do so. Therefore, a high concentration ratio may be necessary for the exercise of monopoly power but it is not sufficient.

In an industry, usually there exist some smaller firms and some larger firms in the sense that smaller firms have relatively smaller shares in total industry sales (or profits or assets), and the larger firms have relatively larger shares. That is, sales (or profits or assets) may be more concentrated in a few firms of the industry, or such concentration may be less. Now, the size of the largest firms’ share in total industry sales, etc. is known as the concentration ratio.

For example, if we consider sales as the criterion, then the n largest firms’ share in total industry sales is called an n-firm concentration ratio which is denoted by CRn. Usually, the four-firm and eight-firm concentration ratios denoted by CR4 and CR8, are used as a measure of monopoly power.

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The concentration ratio may act as a measure of monopoly power because, in a competi­tive industry, sales are more evenly distributed among firms—concentration of sales is more or less absent. On the other hand, in a monopolistic industry, sales tend to concentrate in a few large firms—in the limiting case, sales are concentrated in only one firm when we have the case of a pure monopoly.

By Profit-Rate:

J.S. Bain used profit-rate as a measure of monopoly power. By high profits, economists mean returns sufficiently in excess of all opportunity costs which potential new entrants desire for entering the industry. The size of super-normal profits which a firm is able to earn is an indication of its monopoly power. In perfect competition, a firm earns only normal profits. In a monopoly, new entrants will not normally compete away monopoly profits.

But there will be some level of profits at which new firms will find it worth taking the risk of trying to break the monopoly. The stronger the monopolist’s position, the greater the profits he will be able to earn without attracting new rivals. In short, it is said that neither concentration ratio nor profit-rate is ideal measures of the degree of monopoly power, both are of some value nor both are widely used.

By Lerner’s:

It is the oldest measure and is based on the difference between the price charged by the monopolist and his marginal cost. Bober gives the formula 1/E. Thus, the degree of monopoly power varies inversely with the elasticity of demand for the commodity.

However, the more commonly used formula is:

Degree of monopoly power = (P-MC) / P

Where P is the price charged by the monopolist and MC his marginal cost.

In perfect competition,

P = MC and the formula (P-MC)/P gives zero answers indicating no monopoly power. If the monopolized product is a free good, MC = 0 and the formula registers unity. The index of monopoly power thus varies from zero to unity. Since monopolized goods are seldom free, monopoly power is seldom as high as unity.

This method is not free from defects as:

  • Firstly it does not measure non-price competition. Secondly, monopoly power is shown itself not only in high price but also in output restriction. The output may be restricted by under-utilization of capacity already in existence or by restricting new entry.
  • Lerner’s method throws no light on these aspects of monopoly power.
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