Marlo’s Monopoly

We are belatedly watching The Wire, nearing the end of Season V. [N.B.: see Sudhir Venkatesh‘s series of blog posts called “What Do Real Thugs Think of The Wire?”] By Episode 6, Marlo Stanfield has killed off the competing retail drug lords and also the chief wholesaler, Proposition Joe.  At the next meeting of Baltimore drug lords, Marlo allocates territories among his subordinates and announces to everyone a large rise in the wholesale price of drugs.  Not surprising—he has turned an oligopoly into a monopoly, with him as the monopolist. 

Marlo doesn’t realize it yet, but his monopoly status gives others a bigger incentive to attack him.  Don’t spoil the suspense for me, but I wouldn’t be surprised, although I would be pleased, if Marlo is bumped off by his own subordinates—it’s hard to maintain monopoly power.

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  1. Reality geek says:

    “No one generally likes to be in a position to dominance.” I personally don’t. But, in this case, it is a matter of doing right by myself. And I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Men do that almost naturally, yet they expect the woman to do otherwise. No way.

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    • reality geek says:

      when is doing right by self, doing right by others. You would perhaps think never. This time is different.

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  2. Contrararian says:

    No spoilers… But I look forward to reading your follow up post when you find out what happens with Marlo…

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  3. Joe Reddington says:

    Um, as a slight change of subject – did you happen to be around a place called Egham today? I did a double take thinking ‘that guy looks like a photo of a guy I follow the blog of’…

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  4. Paul Nelson says:

    It is vital for the monopolist to target a new person or group for everyone to attack – a new goal for their
    Game so that the game doesn’t become “getting the monopolist.”

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  5. John Lister says:

    I’d love to hear you talk about season three’s Hamsterdam storyline in which a local police chief unofficially designates a block of vacant housing as a free zone where drugs sales are tolerated but no violence or guns is allowed. The show goes into a lot of detail about what happens, including the low-level gang members being out of work because there’s no need to hide the activity from the police (who then force the drug chiefs to pay a tax to cover an unofficial unemployment benefit), more enhanced competition between rival dealers, a concentration of related activities such as prostitution, and “stick up boys” finding the dealers are now sitting targets without their guns.

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