It’s a Monopoly!

There are a lot of laws around the world preventing one company from controlling the market for a single product…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen.

ZIPPERS

Are you wearing a zip-up sweatshirt or a pair of jeans? Look closely at the zipper (we’ll wait). It very likely has a small “YKK” embossed on it. That stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha,” a family-owned company founded in Tokyo in 1934. It’s a huge company — it operates more than 200 factories around the world and makes all kinds of fasteners and industrial goods. But it’s no. 1 product is zippers. More than 90 percent of all zippers in the world are manufactured at one of those many YKK plants.

TOOLS

When you’re at the hardware store picking up some power tools or home improvement supplies, you’ll probably buy something produced by Stanley, whether you’re aware of it or not. The tool giant merged with another tool giant, Black & Decker, in 2010, joining forces to dominate the hammer, saw, and drill industry. Both companies had already bought up other brands before combining, and now all of these and more are under one corporate roof: Craftsman, Irwin, DeWalt, Mac Tools, Bostools, and Husky. The company now known as Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. also own a bunch of security system, lighting, lock, and bathroom fixture companies.

PAPER DRINK CONTAINERS

If you’ve ever bought and consumed a packaged drink—such as a juice box or a carton of milk— it probably came in a container made by Tetra Pak. A division of a Swedish company called Tetra Laval, it’s the biggest food packaging company in the world, thanks to its creation, development, and spread of paper cartons coated with plastic, and aseptic packaging. The company’s drink-holding technology can be used to store, ship, and preserve any number of foods.