IMO, ideally relationship should be bottom-up, especially between producer and consumer. This way, “buyers are king” can be realized. Same thing as in politics. The way it work is simple: you make us angry, we can make your life miserable. That way, the capitalists and bureaucrats alike will try their best so they won’t have that miserable life promised.
But it’s also natural desire. One of the theory I like a lot is the Maslow’s hierarchy of need. In this context, after getting economic or political power, it’s natural that you would want security. Well, who’s not? Who want to be unable to sleep well every night thinking that tomorrow those people out there could throw you out to the sewer as they like. So, there need to be some way to keep those beasts under control, so they won’t bite.
Many time, that happened. Not necessarily in that intention, but could be a by-product.
Example in the gadgets space. A comparably strong competitor is needed to balance thing out. Not just anything that claim to be a competitor, but a real competitor that the consumers can run to when they don’t like their current ruler and still get as much if not better experience than they previously did.
But how about this.
- Cost of switching is comparable to “die first and resurrected as a new soul”. Too much sacrifice that what most can afford. Such as having to throw away the phone number that has become foundation of your networking.
- There’s no comparable alternative. You only have half-assed alternatives. Example with company switching supplier because the current is annoying. But that’s the only supplier that can match your operation. Other alternative will cost more money with uncertain future outcome. Or, the new brand of your phone doesn’t get the same love from the manufacturer and developers, leaving you with something just “different” but not as “useful”
- The competitor is not any better. Imagine the case where every single politician you have to vote is as rotten as the others. Whichever you choose, you loose. Same thing with cartel and price-fixing, everyone is as expensive and as worthless, but they’re not actually leaving you with any choice.
While they may say the jargon like servicing the customers, every sane manager would’ve thought about controlling those sharks instead of letting them control you. They can just run, but you know that in the end, they will return either by peer pressure or because you hold what they need that they won’t get anywhere else. A lot safer for the future. :P
Regulation… well, the mob don’t pay in cash and profit; and opinion + perspective can be controlled, that’s one of the thing we could learn from the centuries of human behaviour study.