How the Rise of the Post Office Explains American Innovation


Wherever government extends its tentacles, innovation follows. To some contemporary technologists, that might sound like a joke without a punch line. But it’s a reasonable description of 19th century America, according to a new working paper by Daron Acemoglu of MIT, James Robinson of the University of Chicago, and Jacob Moscona of Harvard. The 1800s set the stage for America’s technological dominance and, … Read More

This week in history: The Post Office and the Constitution


Remember a time before envelopes when you just folded the sheets of your letter, added a touch of sealing wax, and dropped it off at the post office?  Remember when there were no stamps, and it was the person at the receiving end who paid the postage?  Remember when the cost for mailing a letter depended on how far it was going, … Read More

The Postal Service Means Business


“History Repeats Itself: The Robber Barons of the Middle Ages and the Robber Barons of Today” “The Postal Service has been faced with critical financial problems 
in recent years.”  In the last fiscal year, “Postal Service expenses exceeded revenues” by billions of dollars.  “Although postage rates have increased significantly, labor and fuel costs have risen even faster. . .   Rising payroll … Read More