As of this writing, Democrats are worried about Trump’s possible defunding of the United States Postal Service or the USPS. They believe he will sabotage the upcoming 2020 election and, while I agree with them on that, I believe we should get such a vital service out of the hands of the government and into the hands of the people by privatizing the postal service.
My version of privatization is the individualist anarchist version, the Lysander Spooner version, of privatization. All post offices should be sold to local people. They would be sole proprietorships and provide services to the local community. Mail trucks would be owned and run by independent contractors who will buy the mail from the post office and deliver it. I believe this is called a union of egoists (although I have little knowledge of Stirner as I am no fan of his amoral egoism). Should the mail truck fail to deliver the mail then the post office will find a new delivery service and consumers will be compensated. Mail processing plants would either be cooperatives or sole proprietorships using a lights-out manufacturing methodology where the whole factory is automated (my preferred choice).
People would be charged a monthly fee for using the post office (which we already do now through taxes albeit yearly). The many post offices (about 200,000 already existing plus the many more that will spring up) will have so much competition that prices will be low. The independent contractors will be so numerous that delivery costs to and from the mail processing plant will be low and higher quality meaning they’ll be faster than our current system. This competition between delivery services and the post offices will ensure that the monthly fee consumers will pay will be low. All the while, no corporation could survive or even enter the market due to all this competition.
As anarchists, we should not fear the word “privatize.” Some of our so-called “anarchist” detractors (statists in disguise) will call us ancaps but just because Rothbard would support something similar doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. He advocated for corporate privatization, but we advocate for individualist privatization. His supporters advocate for survival of the fittest (despite being the inevitable victims of such a system), but we believe that if all compete then all survive. The fittest shall prosper and his weakest neighbor will succeed.
To get such a vital service like the post office out of the hands of the corrupt, we must get it out of the hands of the State, the very breeder of corruption. We must give it to the people where competition and the free market will ensure fair prices, low prices, high quality, and greater variety. Corporations don’t have to be involved. As anarchists, we must remember this. We should call for privatizing the post office.
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