Published March 8, 2011
A member of the youth branch of the Leftist-Green Party has proposed that the state enact a monopoly on the sale of food in Iceland.
Sindri Geir Óskarsson, chairman of the Young Leftist-Greens in Akureyri, put forward the idea in an article he wrote for the group’s website. Entitled “One nation – one government – one grocery store”, he proposes that the Icelandic government enact a “food monopoly”. Similar in principal to the sale of alcohol in Iceland, the government would be the owners of the country’s grocery stores. But the idea goes farther than that.
Sindri Geir proposes that a seven-person “shop committee” be established with the sole purpose of accepting suggestions from the general public, becoming themselves consumer representatives. The members of this committee would be voted into office every other year, and a quota system would be in place with regards to the sex of the committee members, as well as where in the country they live.
He goes on to say that with a government monopoly of grocery stores, the state will be able to have even greater influence on the eating habits of Icelanders, which Sindri Geir describes as “rather unhealthy”, pointing out the cheap availability of candy and energy drinks.
However, he also believes the result will be cheaper food for Icelanders, as it will be possible to lower import tariffs on foodstuffs and, with no middle-man, drastically reduce the mark-up on goods sold in stores. In particular, he proposes, the government could arrange prices to lower the costs of healthy foods at the level of or even below junk food.
For the moment there is no legislation submitted to parliament which bears this proposal.