The Sinking Of The U.S. Duopoly

James Rozoff
6 min readFeb 19, 2024
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The beginning of the 20th Century was the era of the big ocean liners. Huge and luxurious ships like The Andrea Doria, Lusitania, Mauritania, Titanic, and the Queen Mary made the trip across The Atlantic not only in record time but in style. Perhaps the greatest of these ships, though lesser known, was the U.S. Duopoly.

I’m pretty sure Duopoly is Latin for “Destined By God To Rule The Waves Forever”. The Duopoly was unique in that it had two entirely separate crews, one to take the ship in one direction, and the other to take it in the opposite direction. In either case, though, the ship never deviated from the route prescribed for it by its owners.

Originally intended to provide transportation to all sorts of people, the owners of The Duopoly soon discovered that it was far more profitable to cater to the extremely wealthy and not worry so much about the poor people who boarded in hopes of finding a better life. However, since satisfying the needs of the wealthy required a lot of staff, the poors were able to pay their way across the ocean by catering to the every whim of the first-class passengers.

The Duopoly was steered westward by team A and was steered eastward by team B. It seemed like a good system except that it always seemed to carry a little more back right with it than it ever did going left. In fact, it was hard to deny that crew B was much more concerned about what it was able to bring with it than crew A ever was.

The problem began in earnest when both crews started to allow the wealthiest of the passengers to pay them to take hold of the wheel and steer the ship. Although they had no idea what they were doing, people with so much wealth are never told no.

It wasn’t long before the ship, captained by a banker of some renown, unwittingly aimed the ship directly at an iceberg. It seemed he was unaware that there was something more to the iceberg than appeared on the surface. He thought he could just run it over as he had the whale and the school of dolphins earlier that day. The collision rocked the entire vessel, alerting everyone except for those in their lavish suites, who scarce noticed it due to the comfortable down-filled beds they slept on. Indeed, the beds were made for people so used to comfort that they would notice if a small pea managed to…