WALMART, A MODERN STANDARD OIL?
This thesis will explore the history of the two corporations that rose to dominate their respective markets, and include a brief background of the men who brought these companies to life. Throughout the companies’ existence, their goals had stark resemblances from controlling supply chains to commanding market power in their industries. The actions of the two corporations touched each and every person in America, directly or indirectly, due to their size and ability to out strategize their competitors.
The second portion of this paper will detail the ways in which Standard Oil and Walmart rose to monopoly power in their respective industries. These two companies developed the strategy of establishing a home-based monopoly to enable them to expand their dominance throughout the industry early on. However, the two corporations, while having the same goals, followed different paths in achieving those goals. In both situations, the outcomes were the same, market dominance. But, were the means to this end sufficiently different to cause one corporation to be indicted for a violation of the United States antitrust laws, while the other remained in compliance with the laws?
Next, this essay will discuss the Sherman Antitrust Act. This federal legislation was enacted to stop collusion between competitors and efforts by single corporations to monopolize industries. This section will explain the reasoning behind congressional actions used to justify passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the goals of the legislation.
The thesis will conclude with an analysis of the legality of the two corporations’ actions in regard to antitrust laws. Included will be a discussion of the case brought against Standard Oil in 1911 by the United States Department of Justice and heard by the Supreme Court. This will be followed by a discussion of whether a similar case could be successfully brought against Walmart.