Árið 1602 – Ólíkt var hafist að

Einokunarverslun á Íslandi komið á  –  á Englandi var einokunarleyfi dæmt ólöglegt

Eggert B. Ólafsson

Árið 1602 komst hin illræmda einokunarverslun danskra kaupmanna  á hér á landi.  Stóð hún í 185 ár.  Með einokunartilskipuninni fengu danskir kaupmenn gegn  leyfisgjaldi einkaleyfi til að versla á Íslandi og var landsmönnum óheimilt að versla við aðra. Verð á varningi til kaups og sölu var háð verðlagsákvæðum eða kauptaxta. Þegar verst lét  á þessu 185 ára tímabili var landinu einng skipt upp á milli kaupmanna, kallað umdæmis- eða kaupsvæðaverlsun og var landsmönnum refsað fyrir að eiga  viðskipti við kaupmann utan þess kaupsvæðis sem þeir tilheyrðu. Sbr. þessi saga:

Skammt frá Vogum á Vatnsleysuströnd bjó Hólmfastur Guðmundsson. Árið 1699 seldi hann í Keflavík þrettán fiska sem kaupmaðurinn í Hafnarfirði hafði ekki viljað kaupa en Hólmfastur tilheyrði kaupsvæði hans. Þetta komst upp og var Hólmfastur dæmdur í sekt. Sektina gat hann ekki greitt því hann átti ekki neitt nema eitt ónýtt bátsskrifli og var hann því hýddur (16 vandarhögg) í votta viðurvist. Með því að selja ekki þeim kaupmanni, sem einokunarlögin mæltu fyrir að hann skyldi selja afurðir sínar, braut Hólmfastur lög og var refsað fyrir það. (Texti af blogsíðu Sæmundar Bjarnasonar – https://saemi7.blog.is/blog/saemi7/entry/933904/)

 Sama ár, sem var næst síðasta ár Elísabetar I. Englandsdrottningar, var kveðinn upp tímamótadómur á Englandi:  Eftirfarandi texti er úr Wikipediu:

Elisabet I. Englandsdrottning

Edward Darcy Esquire v Thomas Allin of London Haberdasher (1602) 74 ER 1131, most widely known as the Case of Monopolies, was an early landmark case in English law, establishing that the grant of exclusive rights to produce any article was improper (monopoly). The reasoning behind the outcome of the case, which was decided at a time before courts regularly issued written opinions, was reported by Sir Edward Coke.

The plaintiffEdward Darcy, a Groom of the Chamber in the court of Queen Elizabeth, received from the Queen a license to import and sell all playing cards to be marketed in England. This arrangement was apparently secured in part by the Queen’s concern that card-playing was becoming a problem among her subjects and that having one person control the trade would regulate the activity. When the defendant, Thomas Allin, a member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, sought to make and sell his own playing cards, Darcy sued, bringing an action on the case for damages.

The Queen’s Bench court delivered judgment for the defendant, resolving that the Queen’s grant of a monopoly was invalid, for several reasons:

  1. Such a monopoly prevents persons who may be skilled in a trade from practicing their trade, and therefore promotes idleness.
  2. Grant of a monopoly damages not only tradesmen in that field, but everyone who wants to use the product, because the monopolist will raise the price, but will have no incentive to maintain the quality of the goods sold.
  3. The Queen intended to permit this monopoly for the public good, but she must have been deceived because such a monopoly can be used only for the private gain of the monopolist.

Þýðing málsins:

Darcy v Allin was the first definitive statement by a court that state-established monopolies are inherently harmful and therefore contrary to law. The case has since come to be known as The Case of Monopolies, and the arguments set forth therein have served as the basis for modern antitrust and competition law.