ajaz_eco_204_2012_2013_chapter_16_Market_Power

The threat is enough to keep the company and its

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Unformatted text preview: utside the cartel also benefit at no cost to themselves? Already, De Beers has made thinly veiled threats that, should the rebels continue to ride for free, the company would have to rethink the way it advertises diamonds altogether. Branding its own diamonds —"the De Beers diamond ring", say— would be one option. But do not underestimate the diamond kings of Kimberley. They have withstood turbulence before, not le ast in South Africa this century, from the Boer war to anti-apartheid sanctions. Each time their downfall has been predicted, the masters of control have emerged as strong as ever. Few competitors have picked a fight with the mighty De Beers and won. The company has even managed to slip out of reach of the American trust-busters. Cartels are illegal in America. But, thanks partly to a cleverly disguised international maze of company registrations, and to diamond dealers’ frightened reluctance to testify, the Americans have never successfully pursued a serious antitrust case against De Beers. The threat is enough to keep the company, and its barons, out of that country; but it is not enough to dent their global empire. Vanity, greed, envy, desire, even love: the diamond barons could scarcely appeal to more common human instinc...
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