Mail Privatization in Europe


The European Parliament is taking on a libertarian bête noire that Congress so far has been afraid to attack. Under legislation it approved this week, all postal monopolies in member states must be abolished by 2011 (two years later than the European Commission wanted, but who knows how many years before the U.S. has an open market in all forms of mail delivery). Britain, Finland, and Sweden already have opened up all aspects of the market to competition; Germany and the Netherlands are expected to follow suit soon.

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  1. “We must open our postal systems to competition, if not privatize them altogether. Because, my fellow MPs, state-run monopolies are inefficient, expensive, and provide poor service to their customers…”

    “…Next on the agenda, funding shortfalls for the National Health Service.”

  2. I can’t wait until documents are digitized to the extent that this point is moot…

  3. What do you want, legions of armed, angry, unemployed, disgruntled Postal workers roaming are streets?

  4. Abolishing the USPO is pretty far down my list of libertarian reforms. As a consumer, I have many options for getting my letters and packages to and from. Indeed, I often use Priority Mail when shipping. The price is very competitive and they can’t open your package without a warrant.

  5. I just got a UPS delivery yesterday.

    What monopoly?

    You want multiple providers with a universal mandate and other money-losing requirements?


  6. Warren, joe:

    UPS and Fed Ex can’t deliver letters to your mailbox. It is against the law. UPS and Fed Ex also are forbidden from charging less than USPS for a comparible service. So of course Priority Mail is competitive price wise, it is ILLEGAL for UPS or Fed Ex to charge less.

    And the USPS is famous for doing things bordering on criminal fraud, such as advertising to buisnesses about a garanteed by Dec 24th shipping (so long as you ship your items before a certain date). Needless to say, a buisness I worked for tried it, shipped hundreds of packages almost a week before the cutoff date. Not a single package was delivered by Dec 24th. They probably didn’t even try to get those packages delivered on time. And the USPS flat out refused to refund shipping for breaking their promise, as was part of their contractual obligation in the deal. And they threatened the owner of the company for getting mad about it.

    Outright criminal fraud. If a private company was engaging in USPS kind of behavior (price fixing, fraud, threats, etc.), the CEOs would be in prison and joe would be outraged that they got off so easy.

  7. Great. You liberdopes want us all to be under the thumb of Big Mail. I hope you’re happy.

  8. Rex,

    I hear you. It’s just that there’s a couple hundred things I’d do first before I got around to the post office.

  9. A good idea, but why mandate universal daily service? If it’s a money loser, what’s wrong with people in the boonies getting their mail once a week? Why should urban taxpayers subsidize their rural lifestyle?

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