Competition and Innovation in Postal Services by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindorfer

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By Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindorfer

Any Chainnan of the British publish workplace dwells within the shadow of Rowland Hill, and, if he have been a decent guy, he most likely now and then, whereas making a song the praises of Rowland Hill, as is his due, thinks a silent considered sympathy for his predecessor Colonel Maberly, the top of the put up workplace, the Champion of tested orthodoxy, the chief of the pros, who needed to undergo the impossible to resist strength of Hill's arguments mixed along with his talents as a pamphleteer, agitator, and political propagandist. My favourite passage of the booklet Royal Mail by means of Martin Daunton (1985) exhibits how a lot the put up workplace of the day wanted a Rowland Hill to problem Colonel Maberly and all that he stood for. I quote from a passage describing how the Colonel, while he arrived at approximately 11:00 a.m. and whereas having fun with his breakfast, listened to his deepest secretary studying the morning's correspondence. Daunton files: The Colonel, nonetheless part engaged along with his deepest correspondence, might listen sufficient to make him sustain a rumring statement of disparaging grunts, "Pooh! stuff! upon my soul!" etc.

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He wrote (Hill 1837,40): The Post Office has too generally lagged behind other institutions in the progress of improvement, instead of being, as it might be, an example to the country of skilful and energetic management. Hill's 1937 paper carefully explains his view that the fault lay more in the system than in the individuals. The first flaw in the system was, he felt, the postal monopoly, which exercised an enervating influence upon postal management He said (Hill 1837, 7): There cannot be a doubt that if the law did not interpose its prohibition, the transmission of letters would be gladly undertaken by capitalists, and conducted on the ordinary commercial principles, with all that economy, attention to the wants of their customers, and skilful adaptation of means to the desired end, which is usually practiced by those whose interests are involved in their success.

Postage must be calculated on an individual piece basis and affIxed to each letter. And the prepayment of foreign postage for business COMPETITION AND INNOVAnON IN POSTAL SERVICES 26 reply cards was impossible. Private express companies, however, introduced the possibility of paying for large mailings of similar items on the basis of total weight. Shippers could accumulate charges and pay against monthly invoices, as with most other businesses. Prepaid international business reply cards were also introduced.

Peel's budget of 1842 reintroduced the income tax, both to deal with the deficit, and to place the tax 14 COMPETITION AND INNOVAnON IN POSTAL SERVICES regime on a more socially acceptable basis at a time when the Anti-Com Law League, Chartism, and the "condition of England" question were causing alarm. In 1839, Peel had supported the penny post but had argued that it should not be introduced without creating a new tax to cover the loss of revenue; he hinted that an income tax would be the most sensible financial strategy.

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