Beyond the level of your basic human needs – clean water, food, that kind of thing – monopolies tend to be bad for the citizen.

Control and flexibility in one’s life is about choices, so when do you don’t have choices, you tend to suffer.

Perhaps the title of this post should be Monopolies in Emerging Economies, or perhaps in Not Very Densely Populated Areas, because my example for this is the west of Ireland.

Where I live we have one choice of central heating fuel, and one choice of provider of that fuel. The houses in the area were plumbed for this type of energy, and the switching costs to another type of fuel are either prohibitively high or it’s not possible to switch because the infrastructure’s not here.

When this happens, you’re a hostage to the macro ebbs and flows of global energy costs which invariably get passed onto you when the flows are not in your favour, and are slow to come back to you when they are. Hate that :-(.