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And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual it is best for the race because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department -Andrew Carnegie Since the 1930s when Sir Ernest Oppenheimer established the Central Selling Organisation De Beers Consolidated Mines have controlled the selling and marketing of approximately 80 of the worlds rough diamond production Capon 1998 However in 1996 Australian company Argyle stunned the world by announcing that they would no longer market diamonds through De Beers CSO Many economists predicted that Argyle wouldnt be able to compete against the mammoth De Beers Yet in the year to December 31 Argyle recorded a profit of 1425 million an increase of 76 Treadgold 1999 De Beers is currently looking like losing the monopoly it has had on the diamond industry for almost seventy years A monopoly is an industry in which there is only one organisation that supplies a particular good service or resource which has no other similar alternatives Monopolies are created by barriers which restrict the entry of new organisations McTaggart et al 1999 In a perfect monopoly the seller has total control over the quantity of goods or services available for sale and the price at which the items are sold Butterworths Business Dictionary 1997 De Beers Consolidated Mines Central Selling Organisation has had a monopoly on the selling of rough diamonds since the 1930s A monopoly industry is characterised by having no close substitutes Although there are substitutes for diamonds such as rubies emeralds and cubic zirconias many believe that there are no other gems that exhibit the same beauty of the diamond Perhaps this belief was created out of De Beers advertising campaign A Diamond is Forever Capon 1998 pg 6 which began in 1947 Whatever the reason that consumers want diamonds and diamonds only doesnt matter Consumers demand the real thing and will pay for the luxury
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