vigilance is the price of liberty
Has somebody compared the increase of postal rates with the general
evolution of prices, for each country? I have the impression that the
increases of postal rates are higher then the increases for other
Posted the 10/8/99 on RCSD
Williams answered: Let's compare
the increase of postal rates with the general evolution of prices for
Great Britain. After all, GB is the country with the longest
history of universal postage.
comment: Thanks, Winston.
I expected the answer that the postal rates increased more that the general level of prices. My explanation is that the postal authorities, being in most countries a sort of state monopoly, are protected from the concurrence and can therefore ask for higher prices.
Considering the point 3. of your answer, some comparisons of delivery times and prices. A letter sent to me (in Switzerland) from a place in Switzerland, about 120 Km distant, took 5 days to arrive, even if it was sent by A-Post, the equivalent of yours first rate. Normally it had to be delivered the next day, the same as it was the custom in 1840 in England for all letters. I received that letter on the same day with a registered letter coming from Denmark, that was sent 3 days later than the letter from Switzerland. And FYI, the price of a A-Post letter sent inside of Switzerland is equivalent to 37.5p (+44% compared to GB), for a country that is smaller then GB.
Unfortunately I haven't the retail prices index in Switzerland in 1843, at the time when the first Swiss stamps were issued ( a bit later then in GB :), that's why I cannot make the same comparison for Switzerland that you have done for GB.
Notice from Winston: On prices, even in a country as inflation-ridden as England, with I imagine more public interest on inflation, it is not easy to go back to the 19th century. My source was a battered Pelican paperback published in 1969, "A History of the Cost of Living".