These 10 Companies Control Most (Well Almost) Everything You Buy

While on my little vacation in the warm and sunny climes of Las Vegas I decided it would a neat idea to throw myself off the top of the Stratosphere.  Let me explain that a bit, lest you think I have a death wish.  The Stratosphere is an 1149 foot tall tower, the 9th tallest freestanding structure in the US.  That’s tall.  In 2010 they installed a ride called SkyJump.  They harness you to an enormous cable that’s hooked to a very large spool.  You jump.  And fall.  855 feet.  It’s not quite a free-fall, the cable sees to that.  It is however, horrifying.  I have a terrible, paralyzing fear of heights.  This was an attempt to scare myself out of that. Not sure how that worked out but when’s the next time I can honestly say I jumped off a building?

After that we wandered Freemont Street a bit and then made our way home.  On the way home we were looking for somewhere to stop for razors and Wal-Mart came into view.  We were all fairly on board that we weren’t interested in stopping there because it’s a terrible corporation.  That lead to an enormous drawn on discussion on what company owns what, who we won’t buy from – on and on.  In my searching last night I came across this infographic which nicely details ownership of brands.

A huge majority of major brands are controlled by just 10 multinationals.  A French blog Convergence Alimentaire put the infographic together.  While the information is slightly out of date (Pringles was sold to Kellogg’s in February) it’s quite eye-opening.  It’s also very nicely produced.  Check out the image below – click on the picture to get the full size version.  (We’d hope that many of you reading are buying outside the box, as it were, but some of this stuff is just impossible to avoid purchasing.)

Think that trend is limited to just food?  Nope.  Six companies control over 90 percent of media outlets.  There were 50 in 1983.  Automobile and truck manufacturers?  VW owns thirteen brands worldwide.  The rest of industry is equally tied together.  How about your money?  Mother Jones reported that 37 banks merged into four in just about two decades. While I’m sure corporations would love to expound on the virtues of economies of scale, the truth is that less competition and more of the products you buy day in and day out come from fewer and fewer sources.