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6 Secret Monopolies You Didn't Know Run the World

#3.
Whether You're a Mac or a PC, You're Probably a Quanta

Start any Mac vs. PC debate and sooner or later someone will bring up how Macs' "highest quality components" make the choice equivalent to "Porsche vs. Camry." Of course, Apple likes to play up this perception, invoking the picture of PCs made sloppily in sweatshops while Macs are put together in sparkling white labs by Apple store employees.


How Mac fans picture Apple factories.

Not only are the laptops you're arguing about both put together in Taiwan, but very likely even by the same company. Taiwan's Quanta Computer makes 33 percent of all laptops in the world, including Dells, HPs, Sonys, Toshibas and yes, Macs.

In fact, if you're reading this on a laptop, there's a 90 percent chance it was manufactured by one of seven giant companies you've never heard of, all located in Taiwan. None of the brands you know and love actually makes computers. Fortunately, Taiwan is a pretty laid back country where almost nothing ever goes wrong.


These are ordinary Taiwan parliamentary sessions. We're not kidding.

America can't even officially recognize Taiwan as a country or China will go ballistic, possibly literally. China claims to own Taiwan, and has only been persuaded not to make a move so far due to strategically timed visits by U.S. aircraft carriers and tricky diplomacy. Every time some Taiwan official gets drunk and says, "Come on, China, we've pretty obviously been independent for decades, let's stop pretending," everything gets rough and we have to send aircraft carriers again until China calms down.

Even if China's cagey enough not to actually attack Taiwan, most of these Taiwan laptop-makers have factories in China, so if these countries even stop speaking to each other for a bit, we'd be out of laptops, and all our big computer companies couldn't do a thing about it except twiddle their thumbs and look embarrassed.

#2.
Max Martin Has a Monopoly on Annoying Songs

If you've ever complained that all pop music these days sounds alike, you may have a point, considering how many songs were written by the same guy. His name is Max Martin, and you probably hate him without knowing it. I could be wrong, perhaps you are a big fan of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," or N'Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me," or Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again," or Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," or Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," or Celine Dion's "That's The Way It Is".


In which case you probably look like this.

I'm not a music fanatic so I'm not going to take sides on this. Let's just say there's one segment of the population that loves those kinds of songs, one segment that hates them and a really big segment (people on the Internet who want other Internet people to think they're cool) that feel obligated to say they hate them. I'm not going to judge. The point is you've never heard his name before, and you couldn't escape his sparkly brand of tween pop music if you wanted to.

Seriously, take a look at that list. Not only does he write (and produce) all the most popular songs for cool kids to hate, but he's also written for Usher, Def Leppard, a Swedish metal band, a Finnish cello metal band (??) and everyone who ever finished above third place on American Idol apparently.


Yes, I said cello metal.

Even if you hate him, you have to admire his single-minded dedication to annoying you.

#1.
InBev: The Imported Beer Barons

If you've traveled abroad, you've probably heard American beer made fun of. Canadian will deride Budweiser, Michelob or Natural Light while sipping a Labatt with polite superiority. Beer snobs from more cultured countries might point you toward superior Belgian beers like Leffe and Hoegaarden, before making fun of American beers.

Well, as you've probably guessed, every beer you've ever bought in a store was probably made by the beer empire of InBev, along with Stella Artois, Alexander Keith's, Bass, Beck's, Boddington's, Lowenbrau, Rolling Rock, St. Pauli Girl and Spaten. Those are just the brands they own outright. They also have majority stakes in companies like Grupo Modelo, which makes most of the beers in Mexico -- Corona, Modelo, Pacifico.


So, make fun of Budweiser all you want, odds are you're probably still paying them.

I personally don't have that problem because I only drink craft beers, because apparently I hate money. If you, too, want to get rid of your money as fast as you can, I would also suggest buying craft beers. I guess they taste pretty good too.


I vouch for this beer both being really good and helping you get rid of your useless $9 really fast.

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