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osOpinion: Linux and the Supermarket of Ideas

Jul 18, 2000, 06:43 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Wesley Parish)

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"I was shopping in a local supermarket. What are the common features of all supermarkets - or all produce markets for that matter?"

"Would it surprise you if I said it was the fact that most of their stock-in-trade is common to all supermarkets? Ie, you can buy potatoes anywhere and they are still potatoes. You might prefer a particular type of potato for your particular style of cooking, but those potatoes can be bought at your local supermarket, or another supermarket if your particular type isn't stocked."

"And in consequence, most of their stock-in-trade is low cost? No monopoly profits for supermarkets. Monopolies are very hard to set up for supermarkets, and the only place where I know they set up a monopoly in supermarkets, those supermarkets - in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union - were renowned for not having anything on their shelves."

"In spite of this lack of a monopoly, people still do make a living from selling fresh produce. Not from the produce itself, I might point out, but from all the additional services they provide."

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