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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Adam Smith Loved The Post Office

Really.  Look at Smith's Wealth of Nations.

Book V, Ch 1:

The third and last duty of the sovereign or commonwealth is that of erecting and maintaining those public institutions and those public works, which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expence to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it therefore cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain...[The] works and institutions of this kind are chiefly those for facilitating the commerce of the society, and those for promoting the instruction of the people.

Book V, Ch 2:

The post office is properly a mercantile project. The government advances the expence of establishing the different offices, and of buying or hiring the necessary horses or carriages, and is repaid with a large profit by the duties upon what is carried. It is perhaps the only mercantile project which has been successfully managed by, I believe, every sort of government. The capital to be advanced is not very considerable. There is no mystery in the business. The returns are not only certain, but immediate.

The postal service is an important part of our commercial infrastructure, and so long as we don't hamper it with stupid pension requirements and allow it to compete, the USPS can even generate revenue.  People should stop trying to tear it down.

ntodd

December 26, 2013 | Permalink

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