Can The Post Office Survive In The Digital Age?
from the doing-okay-so-far dept
Not sure why there are so many stories today about the potential to go "paperless," but the latest is a story wondering just what's going to happen to the US Postal Service in this electronic age. While some are worried that the USPS can't survive, others think there are plenty of opportunities for them. For example, someone in the greeting card business notes that while electronic greeting cards were expected to harm the paper greeting card business, it's actually helped expand it -- because people stay in touch with more people thanks to email, and still feel obligated to send paper cards for certain occasions. Of course, with so much of our snail mail system focused on bills and checks (to pay those bills) a widespread move towards electronic billing and paying could seriously undermine the post office. Some expect the cost of sending letters to start to increase to make up for this -- though, assuming a reasonable level of price elasticity (maybe not a reasonable assumption), this only seems likely to decrease usage of the post office. Either way, the article notes some European countries are already privatizing postal operations -- though, it doesn't sound like anyone is suggesting that here. In the meantime, most attempts by the USPS to update themselves for a digital age haven't worked out too well.