Exclusive possession of the trade in some commodity or resource, whether acquired or granted by law. Monopolies are held by one person, company or government; oligopolies by several, such as a cartel. In practice the monopoly needs to dominate a given sector to the point where fair competition ceases to exist and other producers lose their market and bargaining power.
Monopolies centralize the dealings of a commodity, allowing products, services and prices to be planned rationally as market and economic circumstances require.
Monopolies neglect the natural product improvements which occur through competition for markets, and concentrate excessive wealth and power in the hands of a few people. Labour viewed as a service commodity may be unfairly monopolized by trade unions with a result of driving the cost of labour up and restricting training and work-force entrance opportunities to youth, women, migrants and minorities.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.