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.