Thursday, February 12, 2009

Government and its influence on development.

As we discussed in earlier classes the government has a great influence on the advancement of their country. The introduction of the book compared the soviet union and its use of technology to the United States and its use of technology. In order for the Soviet Union to keep its type of government in power, it used technology to communicate information to its people and limited communication among the people not allowing for much advancement. The United States' democratic government allowed for much more advancement within the country as a whole and is not said to be the best in terms of advancement but is definitely the most unique.

In chapter three Starr goes on to compare the United States development of postal communication to Europe's development. Although Europe had an existing postal service before the United States was formed, the United States developed rapidly past Europe. According to historian Richard R. John, there were 74 post offices per 100,000 people in the United States compared to Britain who had 17 and France who only had 4. The reason for this huge development of the postal was given by revolutionary leader Benjamin Rush "knowledge of every kind had to be circulated through every part of the United States in order to adapt the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens to our republican form of government." (Starr p. 88) To support this statement Congress took responsibility of establishing postal routes attempting to unite the different regions of the nation. In the United States the low cost of the circulation of newspapers within the postal service was very beneficial for distributors and helped create a broader newspaper network. On the other side of the border in Canada there were very few post offices to service the people making postal communication very low. Another disadvantage Canada had, was that the post office did not have an obligation to carry newspapers and publishers had to negotiate with the postmaster. Eventually, in 1835 Britain allowed free transportation of newspapers to those who paid the high priced stamp tax thus limiting newspapers to those with high incomes.

The Government's purpose of communication either limits or allows for growth of development. The United States government felt according to the Constitution it was their duty to inform all of its citizens and as a result there postal service flourished. Britain and other nations of Europe felt no urgency to inform its citizens, in the introduction Starr stated that Europe valued high quality rather than informative journalism.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good, substantial post. One constructive criticism: keep the post focused, discuss a key point from the introduction or the key point from chapter three. Two posts are better than one if you have two points to make.

Your discussion of the postal service is important. The decision to create a national postal service was crucial to uniting the nation and creating a national network for the distribution of printed material. What was the effect of this on politics? economics? education?

One question: I don't understand the difference between "high quality" and "informative" journalism? What does that mean?


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