An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). The word is derived from the Greek for a few over
many. Because there are few participants in this type of market, each oligopolist is aware of the actions of the others. The decisions of one firm influence, and are influenced by the decisions of other firms. Strategic planning by oligopolists always involves taking into account the likely responses of the other market participants. This causes oligopolistic markets and industries to be at the highest risk for collusion.
So how does a supposed market allow for the major players not to have to innovate? First, all real markets have one common thread, competition. The concept of competition is one of the bedrocks of capitalism. In any market, the goal is to beat everyone else in it. That's why companies are always innovating because that's the best way to beat your competition. In real markets, there are such things as product differentiation and price differentiation. As such, this so called market is still peddling roughly the exact same product nearly a century after being created.
Yet, for nearly their entire existence none of the players have ever tried to differentiate in price or in product. Even though any market would demand that each of the players differentiates by price or by product, in big oil, a handful of companies continue to each get fabulously wealthy even though none differentiate by either. How does that happen?
It happens because none of the companies are trying to be all that different from each other.
It's a corrupt system when each of the players rig the market so that all dynamics of competition are removed. They know they can get away with it because their market has huge barriers to entry.
In economics and especially in the theory of competition, barriers to entry are obstacles in the path of a firm which wants to enter a given market.The term refers to hindrances that an individual may face while trying to gain entrance into a profession or trade. It also, more commonly, refers to hindrances that a firm may face (or even a country) while trying to enter a market, industry or trade grouping.
Barriers to entry restrict how competitive a market is.
Since they all know that it will be near impossible for anyone to challenge the cabal they have created, they have free reign to corrupt it as they please. They control it after all. All innovation and competition is discouraged in their so called market.
In fact, this is NOT what is supposed to happen in Capitalism. A few companies aren't supposed to take a market over and nearly outlaw competition. Markets are supposed to drive the companies in it not the other way around. Since it isn't the way are market is supposed (and in fact corrupted by the players), I can't understand why anyone would defend them.
That's what I don't get about so called Conservatives. They are defending a group of companies that is totally anti Capitalist. In my opinion, there is nothing capitalistic about what big oil is doing. Forcefully, sqaushing all innovation and competition. That is not the sort of behavior that any capitalist would ever defend. So, if you really believe in markets and competition you should be appalled by what big oil has done.