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January 26, 2023 

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CARTEL: A formal agreement between businesses in the same industry, usually on an international scale, to get market control, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. A cartel tends to be unstable because the artificially high prices it sets gives each member of the cartel an incentive to "cheat" with a slightly lower price. When only one member of the cartel lowers the price, it can make oodles of profit by taking customers away from the other members. If they all cheat, the cartel falls apart. While cartels damage efficiency, they're power is often short-lived because of this cheating. Like collusion and other techniques of market control, cartels are illegal in the United States.

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BUSINESS As Usual

In the same mini-mall with Dr. Nova Cain's dental offices and Smilin' Ted's All Comers Insurance Agency, resides Manny Mustard's House of Sandwiches -- one of those small, out-of-the-way, off-the-wall sorts of restaurants that has great food, excellent service, and plenty of atmosphere. Manny, the proprietor, is a good friend of mine who's struggling to turn his dream of restauranteering into reality. His restauranteering dream doesn't stop with one small, out-of-the-way, off-the-way restaurant with great food, excellent service, and atmosphere. No, Manny is shooting for a nation-wide chain of Manny Mustard's House of Sandwiches. He wants to go from being an overworked, underappreciated member of the third estate to a member of the second estate who overworks and underappreciates others. To help out my good friend Manny, let's take a long, hard look at the differences between small business and the larger, Fortune 500 kind.
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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a flea market wanting to buy either a packet of address labels large enough for addresses of both the sender and the recipient or a key chain with a built-in flashlight and panic button. Be on the lookout for high interest rates.
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This isn't me! What am I?

The wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, was once removed from a London tram because he lacked the money needed for the fare.
"It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly. "

-- Isaac Asimov

ERISA
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
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