The Biggest U.S. Postal Service Problem

With postal service innovation a basic problem, the U.S. Postal System is ranked lower than France, Japan, Poland, and nine other countries.

Econlife Quiz: Do You Know Your Thanksgiving Economics?

Having tired of talking turkey at your Thanksgiving dinner, you could give everyone the latest econlife quiz.  Enjoy! Do You Know Your Thanksgiving Economics? Take the econlife quiz to see whether you know the economics behind the great American holiday,…

The Unintended Consequences of Daylight Saving Time

We should cancel daylight saving time because studies show that the opportunity cost of energy use has changed since Ben Franklin suggested “early to rise.”

The Unexpected Impact of Changing Times

Beyond less sleep, when we moved our clocks ahead last night, we created many unintended consequences. It all began during the 1880s when the railroads said that they should coordinate time. With railroad companies observing 52 different times and even…

History of Money: Almonds, Paper Rectangles and Clicks

Ben Franklin had some very wise ideas about money: Remember that time is money. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man health, wealthy, and wise. There are three faithful friends–an old wife, an old dog, and ready…

Should We Redesign the Dollar?

Have you ever worried that you gave someone the wrong bill–maybe a ten rather than a dollar? With US currency, it is easy to make a mistake. After all, the US dollar bill, the five, the ten, the twenty, the fifty, the…

You’ve Got Mail?

While the U.S. had postal services since the 1600s, Ben Franklin transformed the system. Appointed Deputy Postmaster for the Colonies by the British, he established our first home mail delivery system, diminished to a single day the letter delivery time…

Do You Care If You’ve Got Mail?

In Canada, when postal workers went on strike because of wage cut proposals, many people were saying, “Who Cares?” In the U.S., Hallmark and Amazon have said that they do care about the future of the Postal Service. If asked,…

Can the USPS Deliver?

You’ve got mail? Maybe not on Saturday. As explained in a Teaching Company lecture (#28), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) faces competition from UPS and FedEx, from email, faxes, and texts. Their salaries average 30% higher than the private sector,…

Can the Post Office Deliver?

Having just read a Washington Post article about the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), I started thinking about its future. But first, its past: While we have had postal services since the 1600s, Ben Franklin transformed the system. Appointed Deputy Postmaster…