An American Ideal: Free Markets
Or so we have been told.
For your consideration, this story:
There was once a locally-owned bookstore that specialized in used tomes. Due to a surfeit of titles, it planned on opening a second location during the holiday season at The Mall, hoping to reduce some stock. But The Independent Bookstore wasn’t allowed to set up a temporary operation.
Another bookstore, part of a corporate chain, was already ensconced in The Mall. The Corporate Bookstore specialized in new, not used, items. So each bookseller appealed to a different part of the market. But The Corporate Bookstore didn’t want anyone else selling books in its vicinity; it had cornered the market at The Mall and was going to keep it that way. Apparently it had legal wording to back up its wishes.
So the Independent Bookstore never unpacked its boxes, never offered an alternative to shoppers who believe this country runs on free trade.
Trade in this country is only free if you can afford a good lawyer.