In the 21st Century, we receive a dizzying array of parcels at our homes, courtesy of a wide variety delivery services. Pizzas, packages, groceries, and dry cleaning arrive in a parade of plenty, but in the U.S., only one delivery service can put the goods it delivers in your mailbox: the United States Postal Service (USPS). A legacy of its days as a(n arguably) natural monopoly and its ongoing legal monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail, USPS’s exclusive delivery right to residential mailboxes today may look less like an efficiency-enhancing institution and more like a barrier to increased consumer welfare. Here, Consumerist offers a brief writeup on a blog exchange between PR representatives from United Parcel Service – a private delivery service which would like to gain mailbox delivery access – and the USPS – which would like to maintain its mailbox delivery monopoly – on the relative merits of opening up delivery access to residential mailboxes. This piece could be used to initiate a class discussion on the role of government and government-created entities in lubricating (or impairing) commerce. It could also be used to reflect on the sensitivity of “natural” monopolies to technological change and economic development. >>>
LINK: Should The USPS Open Up Mailboxes To All Kinds Of Deliveries? (by Laura Northrup in Consumerist)
In a blog post for the USPS Office of the Inspector General, Keith Kellison, UPS’s senior vice president for Global Public Affairs asked whether the idea that only USPS should access our mailboxes is obsolete.
The U.S. Postal Service responded in a post of their own, because of course the postal service has a blog. Media representative David Partenheimer explained the reasons why USPS doesn’t want to give up exclusive access to our mailboxes[.]
What do you think?