Very few of us will go more than a day or two without having to engage with one of the monopolies locking down Australian markets. They're so ubiquitous that it's sometimes easy to forget that most of your money is going through at least one of them.

Luckily, Crikey is here to help. Think of this as a field guide to wild birds -- if the wild birds are the enormous, carnivorous type, and you have nowhere to run while they are swooping right at you.

Airports

Perhaps the most monopolistic of all the private businesses in Australia is the airport. In its vast architectural chambers and on its long moving walkways you are a tiny speck, but your contribution to the bottom line is huge.

Airports fall into the realm of natural monopolies. There is rarely reason to build more than one in any city, and so what control is exercised over pricing must come from the rigours of regulation rather than the rather more vigorous rigours of competition.