MONOPSONY….You know that a monopoly is when you only have one company in a market, right? The U.S. Postal Service, for example, has a monopoly in first class mail.

Well, a “monopsony” is when you have only one buyer in a market. The Danish national health system, for example, is the only buyer of pharmaceuticals in Denmark.

I don’t quite know why Atrios thinks you should know this, but now you do.

FUN FACT: The word is a combination of “mono,” meaning “single,” and “opsonia,” which means “a purchase of fish.”

UPDATE: Changed “Canada” to “Denmark.” Damn nitpicky commenters….

UPDATE 2: Henry Farrell has more, much more, on the etymology of “opsonia.”

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation