A Collector's Perspective on Market Consolidation

In any business, the more profitable businesses there are in the market, the better. The fewer the players are in the marketplace is a key marker of its lack of health, as well as the difficulty of barriers for new entries. We live with free market capitalist ideals, but we don’t fully experience it here in America. In every industry there’s a small group of companies, or in some instances, one company controlling many others in several industries. When such a small number of companies have so much of the market share, and so much control or influence on the market, everyone suffers, including those who have the majority.

With the mergers and acquisitions in the collector community, many retailers and brick and mortar shops are worried about their livelihoods. Some have filed class action lawsuits. The big companies have to spend their time, money and effort defending their market share, settling lawsuits, etc. while access to the most valuable aspects of developing and creating a business is a closed shop. Those conditions make it nearly impossible for anyone wanting to enter the market to have any ability to start or thrive, regardless of industry.

How can any new entrants, online retailers/resellers, or brick and mortar retailers get licenses from the major sports leagues? Shops that have been open for decades are worried whether they can stay in business after 2026 when Fanatics contracts go through and they go direct to consumers with product. It should not be up to them whether or not they will “allow” shops and sellers to sell their products, and that their products are essentially the only ones with value.

That would literally cripple the industry. Sure, having the majority of the market is great for that company. Everyone else suffers, and it won’t last and they all die off like a forest. A new market will emerge, ideally one with thousands of companies competing healthily. In a perfect world, I suppose. People attempting to start their own ventures are viewed as bottom feeders or feeder fish on a shark to the big market share holders. An interloper, because you’re trying to take something they view as theirs. How then, is the market free?

So much predatory ideology has permeated business for so long, that crimes against humanity are encouraged and justified in the name of profit. They use data to surgically extract as much money from people as possible. Anti-monopoly laws exist in America, but have not been effectively enforced. This is how they have tipped the scale in their favor. They hire the most expensive, connected lawyers and dance around the laws with technicalities. They “donate” heavily to political parties and campaigns in an attempt to best position themselves for good favor. They become an unavoidable, ubiquitous presence. They buy out or somehow squeeze out anyone who stands to break into the market in any significant way.

It’s a detriment to GDP and its growth when markets are consolidated. When the marketplace is consolidated and has less competition, pocketbooks are consolidated. No one has any money and they won’t spend it. They can’t! It causes the cost of borrowing money to rise, and a cascade of other effects that we are all suffering from now. We really need financial reform, enforcement and education in America or these types of problems will persist and get worse.

I know this is a card collector site and I’m blogging about the economy, but cards have a value, a market and are part of the marketplace. Many of us who sell cards are worried about what is to come in the business of selling cards if it is to be the way we think it’s going to happen, with us squeezed out of the market as healthy competition and forced to be their customers. I’m a small business just getting started and it’s very alarming, troubling and disheartening to see how some feel that the writing is on the wall. How can a small fish like me coexist in this when businesses who’ve been around for decades are considering shutting their doors?

It’s a very turbulent time in so many ways, and I sincerely hope and will do what I can within my ability to get to a healthier place together in the future. I’m not saying I have any answers or have influence with those that are heavy in any industry. I just want to be part of the solution. One that is inclusive of the card collector community that doesn’t put one above another or make it difficult for the industry to grow. It won’t be up to me or any one person, but the entire collector community to change and shape it.

A final note; I don’t want to make a sales pitch, but if you are reading this and want to support small businesses like mine to keep free market enterprise alive, please support and buy from my shop. Or some other small shops online, or small businesses in your local areas. When you buy from us, we can get more products to give you and for better deals as we grow. It helps your neighbors start and build families, and not just padding greedy people’s pockets.

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