The Post Office Reinvents Itself with Banking and Alcohol Deliveries

The Post Office Reinvents Itself with Banking and Alcohol Deliveries

April 16, 2021

Message in a bottle. Money, it’s a hit. Can they save the Post Office?

Loss of revenue from first class mail, competition, and a mandate to prepay retirement benefits 75 years into the future have created a financial crisis for the US Postal Service. Because Congress has shown little appetite to repeal the mandate, many solutions have been proposed to alleviate the financial woes of a well-liked institution. Recently, two proposals have been gaining traction: allow the USPS to deliver alcohol and reinstitute postal banking to provide much-needed revenue.


Video Spotlight: Postal Banking


This post is based on the NBC News article, Postal Banking, Alcohol Delivery Could Save the U.S. Postal Service, Experts Say, by M. Pflum, March 27, 2021, and the YouTube video, Saving the Post Office?, by CNBC Television, June 28, 2019. Image source: Erol Berberovic/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Contrast Postmaster Dejoy’s proposals to save the US Postal Service and those described in the article? Discuss their respective merits and how they create value for postal customers.

Guidance: Postmaster Dejoy’s proposals involve increasing revenue with higher postage rates and lowering costs with slower first-class mail. Both approaches would improve the financial situation Continue reading

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Black-Owned Distilleries Capture their Share of the Kentucky Bourbon Market

Black-Owned Distilleries Capture their Share of the Kentucky Bourbon Market

April 13, 2021

The American distilling world is becoming more diversified.

Distilleries owned and operated by African Americans are reshaping bourbon’s 200-year history in Kentucky. This is an important turning point for a beverage that was initially made by enslaved labor. The new entrepreneurs are making a difference by updating bourbon’s image and providing new economic opportunities. The competition is already intensifying as small, modest startups must fend off powerful, multimillion-dollar enterprises, and as access to capital remains problematic. Nevertheless, there are several indications that the transformation of the distilling world is underway.


Video Spotlight: The Yarbrough Brothers’ Distillery


This post is based on The Washington Post article, Black-Owned Distilleries Are Breaking Barriers that Once Surrounded the Kentucky Bourbon Industry, by J. Wood, March 26, 2021, and the YouTube video, Louisville Brothers Pour Heart, Soul into First African American Bourbon Distillery in Kentucky, by WHAS11, February 17, 2020. Image source: Shutterstock / Africa Studio.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe the Brough Brothers type of manufacturing facility. What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Guidance: The Brough Brothers distillery is a modest operation with limited production space and equipment. With the current facilities, the output will be limited to 50 gallons Continue reading

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Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

Big Ship Creates Big Backlog

When the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal, its gigantic size became a gigantic problem.

To support an ever-expanding global trade, ship size has been increasing for decades. Today, the largest ships can carry between 18,000 and 24,000 containers.  A larger cargo makes perfect economic sense because the cost of shipping one container decreases as cargo capacity increases. However, when things go wrong, big ships mean big disruptions in an already strained global supply chain. It is estimated that the stranded ship held up 12% of global trade at an estimated cost of $9.6 billion a day. This financial and logistic threat, along with more elusive cost savings in the future, may signal the need for fresh ideas in global shipping.

 


Video Spotlight: The Ripple Effects of the Backlog


This post is based on The New York Times article, Why the World’s Container Ships Grew So Big, by N. Chokshi, March 30, 2021, and the YouTube video, Cargo Ship Freed from Suez Canal, but Shipping Backlog Could Last, by CBC News: The National, March 29, 2021. Image source: (c) Glow Images/SuperStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Will the short-lived blockage have a major Continue reading

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