Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Less is More with the Post Office

Here's a good news story treated like bad news: the post office is losing money and might have to cut back to five day service. Mail volume was down 9 billion items, a new record drop. Given the government financial crisis and the need to cut unecessary spending whereever we can, this would seem a slam dunk, and one we should cheer. It also should not be too big a surprise given the many methods of communication available to us now (cell phones, e-mail, etc.) that eliminate the need for paper letters. The internet has a lot of good green influence, and it should get more credit for it than it does.

Let's hope we live to see one-day a week delivery.


Peter L. Winkler said...

They should elimnate the bulk mailing permit. Junk mail, an enormous waste of resources, would nearly vanish.

Anonymous said...

While I like the convenience of the US Postal service, if mail cuts down to 5 day service, then UPS and others will just pick up the slack. Now only if first class mail can be de-monopolized from the postal system, that would solve this problem even quicker.

ScienceAvenger said...

Peter, I agree. It seems absurd that we are (as a society) talking about cutting waste and saving resources out of one side of our mouth, while the other side is selling bulk tree-killing. Unsolicited paper mail should be the first to go.

Pradeep, I don't have the data, but it seems clear the reduction in mail is going to be mostly first class, since that's what the alternative methods of communication are going to hit first. Package deliveries will be with us for quite some time, and might even be increased because of net shopping.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would be the unintended consequences of changing the first class delivery to five days only? Why not just use simple supply and demand to make up the shortfall, like they always have? The first class rate is going up to $0.44 in May of this year. Why not just make it $0.50 or whatever they need to survive? That would solve the problem without having to cut service.