Stunner of an argument

From this gent.


“It would bring in new management and prevent the nonsensical separation of post offices from mail.”

This completely contradicts the analogy with Network Rail, where the “natural monopoly” element (the rails) are operated as a not-for-profit, but the use of them is open to competition. You could even argue the same thing about the roads, which are operated by the state with people able to run competing buses (with the exception of London), taxis, haulage, etc. on them.

If someone was trying to replicate the Network Rail model, they’d completely separate the post offices and the mail, operate the mail (which is the element with natural monopoly characteristics) as a not for profit and leave the supply of post offices to the market.


3 thoughts on “Stunner of an argument”

  1. Polly refuted by someone with a head on his shoulders and a half-way decent command of a) the facts, and b) elementary logic. Well bugger me sideways. Who’d’a thunk it? You’d get more cogent commentary out of Nigel Dumpster (God rest his soul). The poor old tart probably thinks that modus ponens is a neo-con conspiracy.

  2. Both Japan’s rail network today, and our own are glaring counter-examples to this idea that the rail network is a “natural monopoly”. Japan’s regional rail companies operate for-profit and own the main lines and the rolling stock. The Shinkansen (high speed rail) company own the Shinkansen rolling stock, but JR own the track. Minor for-profit companies operate branch lines feeding JR stations or using JR track for their own rolling stock.

    Regional Japanese rail companies, whilst not in direct competition, compete for the various titles of “fastest JR” or “cleanest JR” or “safest JR”, and thence for stockholder investment.

    In the UK, during what was arguably rail’s most successful period, the construction of the rail network was done by for-profit companies.

    We could solve a number of public-service problems almost overnight by disabusing ourselves of this strange idea that public services must be not-for-profit.

    Here’s a suggestion: regionalise and deregulate the postal network. Let good postmasters buy out postoffices, and postmen their delivery vans, and other professionals their sections of the network. Let good postmasters contract good postmen to do their deliveries. Let them branch out into loans and savings if they like, and let them compete with or contract to TNT and other private mail delivery companies if they like.

    But most importantly: let them make money.

  3. Additionally, where we had the Beeching Axe tearing up vast swathes of our national network, JNR (the national rail company that was privatised) in 1987 sold off the branch lines to private companies which managed to run them at a profit.

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