Postal Implosion?

November 4th

The talk of the need for new business models is increasingly common.  Harpers runs an article on the end of newspapers.   When Berkshire Hathaway buys the Burlington Northern Railroad for $34 billion Warren Buffet says that he is “placing a bet” on the future of the American economy.  General Motors is reportedly angering German workers.  (Does it become a foreign policy dispute when the US government owns the company?)

The talk of new business models is a common discussion in the mailing industry.  For years now there has been discussion of Snail Mail making the posts into Dinosaurs of the Information Age.  Seeing the context of the discussion adds a dark shadow to the picture.

But speculation is one thing, and a trail of ominous markings is another…from comes a series of indications along the pathway.

First, the report that next year’s projection by the postal service is lower than this year’s volume.

The PostalNewsBlog has reported that “The resident officers met with Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, along with representatives from NAPUS and the LEAGUE of Postmasters concerning several issues that had been raised in prior meetings with the Postal Service. DPMG Donahoe briefed us on some of the current issues; The USPS projects that the plan for volume for 2010 is 166 billion pieces. The first month of the fiscal year the volume did not meet the projections.

In Great Britain, where there is a postal strike taking place

According to The Telegraph, “Thousands of people have started to use telegrams – one of the earliest forms of long distance communication – for their urgent messages as the national postal strike deepens.”

During the postal strike in Great Britain, talk of privatization has increased

According to the Financial Times, “Royal Mail is more than a commercial brand. It is a relic of imperial glory, a UK institution that, even under assault from e-mail and private competition, connects every home by means of six-day delivery of letters at a standard price. Yet in spite of the residual affection for it, attitudes to Royal Mail and its future seem confused. According to one poll, two-thirds of people oppose the current strikes. Yet in another, twice as many sympathised with the workers as with the management. Sixty-eight per cent were against privatisation.

For more than a decade there has been discussion of the problems of the Postal Pervice in an Internet Age.  But many have taken comfort from the thought that the 230 year old institution seemed too big to fail.

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