Penn State International Law Review

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Assume a period some time in the early part of the twentieth century. Country A introduced a telephone system some years back. Country B's government is now proposing to do likewise. A consortium of stakeholders, led by postal workers and stationery manufacturers, oppose the initiative on the ground that Country B has a postal service that works perfectly well. They point out that the postal service in Country A was always problematic because vast distances and harsh winters made deliveries unreliable but they say Country B does not have the same problems because it is much smaller and the climate is better. They concede that Country B's communications system could be improved, but they argue that only modest changes are needed: for example, the government might consider centralizing postal operations, which are currently run on a regional basis, and it might consider allowing postmen (no post-women in those days) to ride bicycles. They are ambivalent about a proposal to offer additional services, in particular, a telegram service, because they fear that telegram-writing might corrupt proper letter-writing. They argue that introducing telephones would be a bad idea because some people may have trouble learning to use them. There may be other adverse implications that have not occurred to anyone yet, and at least we know where we stand with the postal service. Question: how should Country B's government respond?