Thomas Sowell

Fortunately, the motel management sent one of their vehicles to take me to the motel entrance, where the monopoly taxi picked me up to take me to a clinic inside the park.

The taxi driver then informed me that he was going to go to another motel first to pick up a couple of other passengers. You can do things like that when you are a monopoly.

Fortunately, it turned out not to be a life-threatening problem or this column might not have gotten written.

A couple of days later, health restored, I was now on the opposite side of the Grand Canyon, staying at the Grand Canyon Lodge, operated by the same monopoly that operated the taxi service.

Here the problem was much less serious but all too typical of the way monopolies operate.

Although there were only eight people in line to check in, and three windows where they could be checked in, the process dragged on, as if checking in people was some new and esoteric process requiring the clerks to have to feel their way through its mysteries.

Since the Grand Canyon Lodge is booked up months in advance, the people checking in already had reservations. But you can keep people waiting when you are a monopoly.

You can also charge them high prices for mediocre food.

Although Grand Canyon Lodge is a magnificent structure, visitors actually live in primitive cabins around it. Some may like that but others have no choice. That is what monopoly means.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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