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The illusion of choice
benghezala hamza's profile photoLiz Quilty's profile photoKader Mecanic's profile photoAndreas Lienhardt's profile photo
Ken Lee
amazing when you see it like that..
Indeed... you could probably do that with most things. Pretty much the whole world is run by a small number of companies... look how much power the entertainment industry has over government
I can see a whole lot of prooducts, seems like choice to me.
I could care less who the actual owner behind the brands are. Most of them were probably bought from other companies before.
What is even more amazing is that you could put another company in the center - the manufacturer of flavorings and fragrances and they are supplying a lot of these companies.
The problem with big companies is that they are meta-governments that rule our lives across many countries. These companies are rarely fully transparent or answerable to the people. They certainly aren't democratic.

How democratic is a society when we have other layers of government that are not? Once upon a time the Catholic church frequently held court in many countries and issued punishments above and beyond the local governments. Corporations now have similar powers.
The best choice is to buy local fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats and make your own meals and sweets. I even make cat food. But some things really are beyond home manufacture. I do my best.
Be nice to see it taken a step further, to see who are the major shareholders in each of those corporates and what commonalities they have.
sad bad true. here in Thailand, i think mostly nestle and unilever influenses for household items, but Pepsi takes food and beverages sector.
My GOD. M Confuzed what i have 2 select and what not?!?!?
Pleeeesssseeee help....
Interestingly enough, 'Lipton' is not Pepsi - it is Unilever....

EDIT: "In 1991, Unilever created a first joint venture with Pepsi Co, the Pepsi Lipton Partnership, for the marketing of ready to drink (bottled and canned) teas in North America." (Wiki)

So, JV's are included here as well - meaning, there are fewer brands (and owners).
I'm not anti-capitalist. The key is power and we meet it between politicians who have a "spiritual director" belonging to a religion. I mean, for example, camping at Wall Street is wrong. The problem is not there.
Interesting, people need choice, they just simply fulfilling it
Either way, these companies turn a profit, maybe they should run the government ;P
They missed out Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana for P&G.
10 corporations to rule them all...more scary than a military state
Looks like a list of crap people shouldn't be consuming to me.
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine. :)
Multinationals are not predicted under the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Either the left´s disappearance.What if the former Soviet Union had created already his great TMs? Now we are in the "planet of democracy" Governments have been granted a truce between them, but are in an inhuman war with their own people. Not specially at your (happy) hemisphere.
and these companies tell our governments what to do - via their financial owners and banks.
If you think you have a choice ,its just an ilusion but at least sweet one...:)
This picture show the absolute true of our systems, although they looked and act differently depending of the country.
We are indeed in many ways restricted in terms of choice, these global consumer giants have a global foot hold on virtually every fast moving consumer products
The country and the world are controlled by large corporations and banks we have no real choices. 
it's horrific isn't it?
walks out to garden picks some food from the ground
Soon Kraft will buy Mars, J&J will buy P&G and so on until there is only one.....muhahahahaha
+Perran Crosley no idea, i did look around but did not see any other postings of it (i usually do that), I think its critical mass being online, seeing it, sharing it all combined with lots of followers? I have shared better pics which barely have anything before (always interesting seeing what becomes popular)
Have any of you been to farmer's markets? It is possible to live without these guys when it comes to food. It's mostly when it comes to things like paper products that it gets more tricky.
While this may be accurate though slightly oversimplified small businesses still create about 50% of jobs and more than 50% of the consumer products available. You have a choice you just suck at making it.
+Geoffrey Lee +Liz ℚuilty the illusion of limited choice! We are as FREE or as NOT FREE as we THINK - besides I like some of these products which are a (small) subset of a much vaster range. How many, besides were created outside their current owners? Are we, for example, to say Facebook or Google limits our choice because they pay for small startups like YouTube or Instagram and bring these innovations into their fold?
They will never advertise their products as bad or good but only the best.Choice as you like it.
The only choice you truly have is how will you treat the people in you're life will you be an azz or give kindness and compassion regardless of how you are treated its you choice?
Chances are they all share board of directors. And there may be one dominant board member pulling all the strings
like i always say with a monopoly comes inevitable limit of choice .
The smaller companies contribute a lot to low income earners.its not illusion.
The reason they create so many jobs is b.c. working for small businesses is much less stable, creating greater turn around, creating the need to hire more, elevating the number of overall hires. The number of overall layoffs in the small business sector is equally as high. Small businesses still play a vital roll in the economy, but the 50% of all jobs figure is generally a misleading use of statistics that political voices love to mention.

I am not sure about your second number; but, if its true, I would guess it is because of a similar reason. Look around your house and decide how many of the things you own were made by small businesses. I don't know that many of us could find that half of them were made by small businesses - but that may indeed be an oversimplification on my part.
good. they create many employment opportunities to people.
Such few companies control our daily needs..
I see those big companies to be european gorvenments and those products are all third world countries...
I prefer 2 sticking 2 tried products I'm familiar with.
'The Matrix' has us... Always has.... Probably always will in some way shape or form....
Wow. Amazing how little parent companies make all of the other huge companies who don't seem to be owned by anyone. They're just too big and you never think about it. 
Yet another reason I make so much of my own stuff, beer, wine, bread, cheese, soap and cook fresh all the time
Allah saved you uf .........
I you want really scary stuff you should look at patents on dna's for crops and greens... cause even the carrots you grow in your own garden might not actually be yours... unless they are "heirloom crops". Scary stuff indeed.
Mic Sam
God is good in all the day
Has anyone put out a copy of this for Electronics companies? or car companies. This is too interesting.
Yes it's a free market. For every major label you see above, there are five small, regional labels with a similar product. You get to choose which you buy.
Yeah the corporations trick us, by having so many brands and only a few businesses distributing these brands.
Why "the illusion"? You've got countless products to choose from - does it really matter they're manufactured by 9 or 10 companies?
+Stephen Perciballi Thanks for sharing. I didn't experience the shock and awe others have - in fact, i'm surprised there are as many as 10 holding companies involved. I'd be more surprised if there were 3 or 4. This looks like other industries - advertising, for one - where you have 4-5 holding companies that own the majority of advertising agency networks.
this chart is not 100 percent accurate. pepsico no longer owns yum brands
This is great except I think you forgot something. If I am not mistaken, Nestle is owned by Hershey and Hershey is huge!
I'm not sure how it would be better for me as a consumer if all these brands were independent companies. Seems to me that it would just make the products more expensive, and possibly less choice (some brands are not popular enough to support a company.
The only down side is that I didn't have this idea first!
Actually, more competition in the market drives down the price if demand is steady. Don't get me wrong, being able to mass produce something in large numbers does save money, but if a handful of companies own a market, they can charge whatever they want. Look at the Cellular phone companies.
Take away these 'choices' and let me know how many jobs would be lost.
+Eric Decker These companies are so successful because they maximize constraints efficiently. There's plenty of choice outside of these brands, they're just not marketed or distributed as widely. I know of a few regional producers of equivalent goods that I enjoy better at a lower price than some of the products posted on this collage.

You don't have to buy any of these products and there is plenty of alternative choices if you don't like supporting a large corporation. I don't think many people really consider the alternatives and just how much better off they (we) are given these efficient companies...
CocaCola is grossly understated in that infograph.
Ale pac
T_anks, I Reshare!
wow, really shows how everything we enjoy is connected
Kind of weird. Looking through the brands its really just some Unilever products that I use from these.
Please provide a link/source for this. I agree. This is something a wrote about 11 years ago. In my bachelor's thesis.
Interesting, but there are some brands that have changed hands since this was created, I think..
Unfortunately people call it progress. The unremitting desire for growth. If the earth were flat we'd have fallen off the edges by now! 
Makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside...oh wait no it doesn't.
This is so TRUE! Thanx for the visual explanation +Liz Quilty
Ed D
Very cool 
You would amazed at how much General Electric owns in consumer goods as well. Subsidiaries are a corporations friend.
Shows how little choice we really do have. 
. . .vary interesting, but you can't make a fur coat out of feathers of goose.
Wish Monsanto or Con Agra were on here.
great post! It's very interesting to visually see this...
I choose to not limit my choices to those guys; I eat fresh local food, and buy mostly from companies who have a conscious. It can be done!

Hi Liz,
Nicely done.
In the end, it is all just sugar and fat for us and Big Profit for companies. Yeah for us.
If there was more room you could also show which politicians and departments of our government these corporations controlled. Actually, that would probably require an entirely new graphic. RonPaul2012!
9 more lines and we have ourselves a monopoly... Bit scary...
Why is A&W on there twice? (Kraft and Pepsico)
Sometimes companies have agreements to carry the same brand just like you see Nestea in Nestle and Nestea in Coca Cola.. of course with minor differences.
You have a choice to choose what they want you to choose :-P 
I feel like the real point here is that these are all ...nothing choices! We have two political parties to choose from..TWO;Independents, whom think they get to choose are actually restricted to different voting dates. We have only ONE choice as to who decides what we owe the government, being IRS; H&Rblock and all those little other ones don't actually decide, they just do the paperwork and hope the IRS agrees. My thoughts on this lovely diagram is that we are given all these ridiculous choices for things that are mostly bad for us and full of what THEY want to put in it.Yet the choices that might really matter...that might make a difference in this country are very limited.
Nice image. I was aware of this pattern but it's fun to visualize.
? How does this present an illusion of choice? It presents 10 different companies that make multiple different products and brands. It seems to emphasize that choices exist, rather than present an illusion.
Lemmings we are. the cliff edge may be closer than it appears
I'm gonna get a nose bleed.
When you show this in business class, they'll realize how hard to compete in business
Haha joke, this must be great motivator
Good post +Liz ℚuilty Lets hope these corporations don't take risks with our food, drinks and other basics, like the financial world took risks with ou rmoney .. no they wouldn't ..would they ? Had we better follow +Katherine Phelps example and choose to take control of where we get our food from.
Lots more information like this for 160,000+ products and thousands of brands and companies at +GoodGuide (although not as well visualized).
So? You would prefer 100 times the chaos if each entity was owned and operated separately by its own board of directors, transportation system, marketing company, R&D, warehouses? Consolidation reduces the cost to the end user and consolidates resources so less are used. WIn-win. Competition keeps them honest, unless government gives out preferential treatment. That's how the system works. The illusion that millions of mom and pop companies can provide lower prices and more selection is an illusion.
So according to this, A&W is owned by both Kraft and Pepsico?
Still not as bad as the NCAA basketball brackets, LOL
we don't have any choise. F... The globalization
I don't buy any of those products. Suck it, corporate America.
mat rod
your choice is weather you buy the product or not or when you buy it. yes folks we have entered an age when ppl would rather go to the grocery store then plant thier own food. if you dont like the choice pepsico or whoever provides then make your own drinks an foods or grow them.
I have only one problem with this image, where are the products that are not from these companies? Can I see that chart? That is all.
mat rod
+Neil Carter why dont you try adding something of significance instead of trolling posts with a spell check. no one likes grammer police. bah i gotta figure out how to" reply" to a post
mat rod
i think im going to like google+ its so easy feeding the trolls hear but lets get back to the post shall we?
whoever had the time to make this should definitely think about doing sumthing with their life...i say this as i sit here alone on the enternet hmmm
..The brands are always give you some dream...
You give the brands power with your money. The real choice is to quit buying crap you don't really need!
While we are sharing this type of information, we can keep the corporations in check.
Very cool! But CocaCola owns about 100+ more products.
And in related news...

How the Food Lobby derailed anti-obesity initiatives.
Some people should be forbidden to share their thoughts. Social Networks do need to have a moderator in public posts.
People [human being souls not persons] are waking up in droves ... Rapidly !!
You forgot the one that controls them all.....WalMart
And All this wonderful stuff you can get at Walmart))
WalMart - the store to rule them all...
did you no, like mcdonalds chesseburgers and those sort of places use the bad part of the cow, rub it in ammonia,(witch is what makes it pink) CREEPY or what
95% creepy 5%truth,whats with the govt. + private companies?
Me quiero volver chango, mi ropa preferida la hace una empresa adueñada por una cosmética que es adueñada por una chocolatera! jajaja
I'm sorry +Randall Mitchell but your earlier comment just seems like a wordy proclamation that you're a tool and just as good as anyone else.

Probably one of the best examples of a small business becoming absorbed by a big one is Unilever's absorption of Ben and Jerry's. Unilever did it because they couldn't compete with a company that wasn't hemorrhaging money for the sake of posterity and instead were content to simply make a better product than everyone else. If you Wikipedia Ben and Jerry's you learn that the company had a long history of protecting there rights as small business people, so much so that they won a Presidential Award in 1988. In 1988 no one would have considered Ben and Jerry's a "small" company. They had gone to court on more than one occasion against Pillsbury to guard there right to operate with autonomy and healthy competition.

If you look at that sector of the market now there is more competition than there ever was. Why? Because Unilever hoped to capitalize on the brand name and increase profits by marginalizing the actual product in the process. Ben and Jerry's business model never provided for that approach and the attempt has resulted in diminishing returns, which any idiot could have told you would happen. Ben and Jerry's was actually a gatekeeper holding back a flood of culinary innovation, they were the line in the sand, and big business would have been better off giving them more sandbags for the beachhead instead of letting their egos piss their money away. While Unilever bought the company (with some interesting conditions attached) and reserve the right to build it up or run it down. They got so fixated on toppling a hard earned success that they didn't appreciate the long term (not really that long) impact it would have on the consumer atmosphere at large. To put it simply, they water-downed the recipe, cheapened the quality and broadened the margins for competition. They were so busy being shrewd that they forgot that people actually taste the stuff. Now don't get me wrong, their are plenty of products that can suffer the rigors of this approach. But if they turn out to be items that effect any of your senses other than sight, the folly is yours for not having the self respect to know any better. And their's somewhat for being cheap and lazy, actually more lazy then cheap really.

Don't misunderstand, I love business large and small. Product development, innovation, synergy, advertising, salesmanship in general, are all really great. But unfortunately so many great ideas are ruined by dull wits that think that their simplistic outlooks are the entitled keepers of the keys of distinction and value; more unfortunately big industry is in the business of selling things to this dumb-ominators. As a smart consumer you should be driving standards not colluding with its apathy for the sake of hapless posterity.

Big business might be ruining America because they're still run by Americans that simply don't know any better. I'd go into a complex Darwinian rant about healthy competition but I'd lose you and someone would try to turn it into some sort of bootlegged pedantic scripture. Remember the Titanic, people were slated for death for more seats with a view, arrogance let self-righteousness run the show and to alot of people screwing you (as to be certain that they're not getting screwed themselves) is reward enough to be worth sinking you both.
Even more scary is that they are all owned by China.
What a bunch of paranoid freaks so many of you commenters are. Now, excuse me while I make dinner with asparagus from the garden, ground beef from the local butcher, eggs from my parents' farm, etc. Oh, and my hometown is the global HQ of ConAgra...
Oh no, the world is ending because I thought box of Tide came from Pepsi but its P&G which makes my cloths seems all corporate now.
Wonder if the same companies will need a bail out sometime shortly. looking similar to the auto industry
I think the point is you could be thinking some products are from separate entities which could be not the case :)
interesting, when combined with the choice for illusions - marketing is so effective - those guys really know what they are doing
1984 scary...testament to the statement that 90% of the world's wealth is owned by less than 10% of its people
There are some local producers, but part of the value of a product is availability. After all, my time and gas spent seeking alternatives is also cost to me as a consumer.
Sorry for some of the more abusive weird, nasty comments on this post. I was away for the weekend and could not moderate it.
What do you mean the illusion of choice of what Liz???
Jeff So
Alot of it is due to consolidation, buy outs etc though. That picture looked alot different event 5-10 years ago
good one... suprising to see yum foods under pepsico umberella 
learned in the 80's -- 12 companies rule the world. Still true.