Chart of the week: the death of competition in America

The Economist has detected a slump in the number of times the words “competition” and “competitor” have been mentioned in annual reports over the past few years.

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The US economy "has become a lot less competitive" in recent years, says Jonathan Tepper in his book The Myth of Capitalism.

Following decades of mergers and acquisitions, four airlines dominate commercial aviation and two firms control 90% of the beer Americans drink. In 1995 the top 100 companies accounted for 53% of the income from publicly traded firms; in 2015 the figure was 84%.

No wonder The Economist has detected a slump in the number of times the words "competition" and "competitor" have been mentioned in annual reports over the past few years. The dearth of competition raises prices for consumers. It also crimps wage growth as firms don't have to bid for labour against rivals so much.

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