Monopoly Mail : Privatizing the United States Postal Service by Douglas Adie
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First class postage rates have risen from six cents in 1971 to 25 cents in 1988. This rapid increase might be justifiable if service had improved commen-surately, but in fact postal service has steadily deteriorated. The Postal Service concedes that it takes ten percent longer to deliver a first class letter than it did in the 1960s, and one recent postmaster general admits that delivery may have been more reliable in the 1920s. In this volume, Adie reviews the failures of the U.S. Postal Service--an inability to innovate, soaring labor costs, huge deficits, chronic inefficiency, and declining service standards. He blames most of these problems on the postal service's monopoly status. Competition produces efficiency and innovation; monopoly breeds inefficiency, high costs and stagnation. He also examines the experiences of other countries and other industries that may be valuable in prescribing reform for the postal service. The breakup of AT&T provides lessons that may be applied to postal reform. The long-run effects of deregulation on the airline industry are also examined. Since the postal service has serious union problems, Adie looks at the air traffic controllers' strike and other evidence on pay and labor relations in government unions. Finally, Adie examines the experiences of Canada and Great Britain with privatization of government companies. He then offers a comprehensive--and controversial--reform plan for the U.S. Postal Service, with no further monopoly privileges or taxpayer subsidies. He argues that private companies should be free to compete with the Postal Service, and it, in turn, should be free to compete in all phases of the communications business. Without privatization and deregulation, the Postal Service is doomed to continuing inefficiency, rising costs, worsening labor relations, and an increasing loss of customers to more innovative and efficient service providers. Competition would give the Postal Service a chance to enter the 21st century as a modern, efficient company. It would also give American consumers a chance to have the kind of mail service that a modern economy demands.


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