It hasn’t happened, and oil is hardly free market. But imagine if someone did try to buy all the oil. What would the value of the oil become? What would the value of a share of the oil become? The price would rise (correction: as it becomes more monopolistic), which is an increasingly strong incentive to sell. One the other hand, the buyer receives decreasing amounts of marginal utility from the next unit of oil resources he buys up. (Those are kind of the free market brakes on it.)
I live in a very small town that is currently supporting three independent drive-throug coffee shops, a Dutch Bros. drive-through, a Starbucks and eight convenience stores that also sell coffee.
If Starbucks is your example of the problem, then you haven’t described a real problem. Coffee is a highly diverse industry. The nearby large cities have many, many different ways for me to buy coffee, and I live in the Northwest, the region where Starbucks originated. I don’t know what’s going on where you live, but perhaps regulations make it easier for Starbucks to dominate the market,.
Lack of diversity is an opportunity for a wise entrepreneur. If it actually occurred in a place where diversity is preferred by consumers, in a free market, that demand will draw interest from entrepreneurs who will begin supplying what the dominant company fails to provide. It is only when some bureaucrat, politician and the public as voters begin clamoring for some outcome that they implement stifling regulations and create non-diverse companies such as AT&T of the 20th century. That’s an example of real-world lack of diversity. Starbucks is not – not on its home turf anyway.
You don’t need to prohibit a company from owning 50 percent or 60 percent. A free market will handle that, exemplified by coffee. In the examples in this post, the government caused dominance in one case, exemplified by AT&T.
Let’s discuss that 50 percent too. Why 50 percent? Why not 40 or 30 or 70? It’s an arbitrary number that underscores how little expertise goes into determining what the ideal market should look. We just can’t know. You cannot know everything I need and want, what I’m willing to trade for and how much. I’m on the other side of the world from you, yet, you, like politicians, bureaucrats and voters when they aren’t spending their own money, can simply determine what arbitrary figure is best used to regulate an economy. It’s a meaningless number just thrown onto a post, but no politician, economist, bureaucrat or voters has any better grasp of what that number ought to be than you do. I don’t have any better idea either. Yet we act as if we do, and we constantly and forcefully deny our fellow citizens their own rights to make their own choices based on their own needs and desires, to trade freely as they desire, simply because we believe that as a collective we know what’s better, that Starbucks should be capped at 50 percent of the market, when 80 percent of the market prefers Starbucks – which of course, ensures that the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee increases while 30 percent of the market goes unsatisfied. See what I’m saying?
Do not deny people the freedom to trade with each other as they will, and you will have the most preferred market possible. Socialism, the public control over the means of production, is miserable because it does not supply the things people actually want. Not one organizer in socialist systems, including the politicians, bureaucrats, voters or me or Oaks, can decide what your most preferred basket of goods and services. Only you can.