Is Y2K going to be the only factor, in an economic collapsegreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Hi folks. (I ask and answer my own question here)
My name is Tim; I am a social scientist from Australia. I have just sent a book of to the publishers I called 'The Year 2000 Millennium Bug Report' (another book you say) yes another book! However, this book represents approx. 5 months of 10-14 hours per day research on the Y2K phenomenon. I have been following your forum for a few months but had not the time to say gidday to you all and thank you for keeping me up dated with current affairs on the European and American home front, I have received many links from this forum that have been beneficial in helping me write the report.
I have approached the subject from a socio/economic perspective as, that is, I believe the main grass roots issue with Y2K. Even if the Y2K impact on the global economy is less than Ed Yareni's 60%, say around 30-40%, the impact will be, minimal but still painful. However, the wild cards are Japan, and the rest of Asia with Indonesia experiencing major food shortages even now, and reports coming out of Korea of cannibalism, America and Australia will rush to their assistance with monetary and food packages to the expense of their own depletion of surplus reserves. If Japan collapses (which it will) then the Aussie dollar will follow the Yen, Hong Kong follows the Aussie so on and so on.
The other wild card is the Euro dollar, here in Australia the financial sector has not even address the cost of changing over to account for this major IT project. The Gartner Group estimates the worldwide cost of the Euro at 645 billion, 45 billion more than their Y2K estimate. (I have pile of documents here about 1500 - 2000 in all so if you want the link you will have to read the book, or wait a month as I am sick of looking at words at the moment). Therefore, the impact of the Euro is yet to be felt in western circles. The implications are that if Y2K wont get you, Asia or the Euro will.
What I am getting at here is this, modern society is neither prepared spiritually, emotionally or physically to deal with a disruption of the magnitude of a 20's style depression, that I estimate will be the midrange effect of the combined impact of Asia the Euro and Y2K. One of my jobs is working with youth either waiting to go to court, just getting out of detention center, or at risk. Some of these kids would rather steal than work, using violent means just to get an item of clothing they desire, how do you suppose they will handle being hungry longer than 2 days. (Remember youth tend to have a pack animal mentality, put them in a situation with out civil authority and see what happens).
In my research I came upon a very interesting parallel in the ol' Holy Bible in the book of Revelations chapter 18: the chapter talks about the world economic system it calls Babylon the Great, it describes how Babylon will fall in one hour. Then goes on to describer what will no longer be present in her city - no buying or selling, no food production, no music or theater, no light of the lamp, no bride or groom. This description is exactly what some of the more vocal alarmists are predicting. What if they are right? any thoughts on these issues?
-- Timothy J Wilbur (email@example.com), July 04, 1998
I feel sorry for citizen's of countries who do not allow them to have firearms. If you have a mob that is going to attack you in your own private home, what means do you have to save your life? As important as water, food and shelter is, I would put firearms up there on the top of my list. I would not hesitate to use it on anyone. However, mobs like those will hit the easy targets like apartments, and large subdivision of homes. Many of them will be killed by homeowners protecting their own. Best protection for home defense is a 12 gauge shotgun.
I do believe we will be brought down with the rest of the world. could this be a way to usher in a new world order? One nation, one monetary system, one government! Frightening. Maybe there will be mass suicides. We've been living life in the fast lane as a nation. We are a society of having it all. When the toys and goodies are taken away, people will not be able to handle living without. Whikle it is overwhelming to think about what could happen, it would even be more overwhelming to find yourself unprepared, a day late and a dollar short.
-- Barb-Douglas (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 05, 1998.
Small correction; Ed Yardeni's 60% prognostication (now 70%) does not refer to the severity of the down turn but the probability of it happening. A downturn is now very likely to happen, but very few can judge how bad it will turn out to be.
-- Patrick Coghill (email@example.com), July 06, 1998.
In the local newspaper (part of the Gannett chain), there was an article buried toward the back of the A section on Friday. In a nutshell, it said an economic slowdown is now under way due to the problems in Asia. It will take some time, probably a few months, before most people notice. Hmmm, right before the elections here in the US....
-- Larry Kollar (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 06, 1998.
The only correct statement you can make about Y2K is we will have economic disruptions lasting days, weeks, months or years. The correct answer will vary for each nation because Y2K work completed in each nation varies. I think it's safe to say a majority of computers/embedded systems in the world will not be checked before January 2000. Not checked means not fixed. This fix-on-failure strategy is primarily being applied to embedded systems in the US, as many organizations are trying to find and fix computer Y2K bugs. One of the most depressing aspects of Y2K is we are still waiting for one large organization to complete work and prove it with joint time lab testing (working together with linked suppliers to see if the entire "system" works when the clocks are turned ahead). Since a few companies started work in the late 1980's (the U.S. Social Security Administration started in 1991) I would expect someone would be done by now. Until we have a few companies finish their Y2K projects the belief that large companies can do their Y2K projects in a few years (as most plan to do) is based on wishful thinking. This may sound pessimistic but there'sactually no proof a large organization is capable of completing Y2K fixes in ten years ... or ever! There will be no Y2K experts in the world before the first large organization completes their Y2K job -- you can't call someone an expert before they have at least one sucessful job under their belt. Since their are no real experts yet, we are all stating our personal opinions, perhaps based on unproven assumptions or wishful thinking. I believe economic disruption in the U.S. will be measured in months, rather than weeks or years. Other countries will be in worse shape. Having said that, your guess is as good as mine!
-- Richard Greene (email@example.com), July 06, 1998.
A great many parts of the world are experiencing economic problems. Russia has 150% interest rates, S.E. Asia has seen a tremendous loss of wealth. Like the computer, we all live in a world economy and if Asia falls, so too does the rest of the world. The closest state Hawaii is already in a recession and has been for the last year. It is only a matter of time before this Asian Financial Flu hits the mainland. Superimpose y2k on top of this picture and an intelligent person would think that Yardeni is very conservative. By February 2000, we will all know the depths of depression. Should we be concerned that our Defenses won't won't work? If our missiles don't work and the planes don't fly, maybe everyone is in the same boat? I did read that the PRC will have the only working navy, since the age of their warships is vintage WW2. I do not expect any Nato units to be left in a foreign territory which will be good because we will all require our armies at home to help. If the governments took an active role in the y2k fix, perhaps we could build some community involvement, but alas, I don't see any government getting involved until it is too late. The Stock Market is so overvalued that it is a bubble ready to burst. I doubt that there will be much need for money since there won't be much to buy. Low supply, high demand usually equates to high prices, but in y2k it will be zero supply, high demand = potential starvation. Do you really think that railroads will operate? What about trucks? Will they have fuel? In the last 4 months, a lot more information is available. It is my opinion that there is nothing I read on the Net which indicates to me that y2k will be anything else than a very serious depression. Baby boomers drive all markets they are involved in. We won't have to worry that we don't have enough retirement funds invested, what you have on December 31, 1999 will be it. Those that are lucky enough to get back to work as things come back on line will do fine, but the vast majority of our citizens may perish. People get sick when they do not have a balanced diet, how is the non- compliant health care system going to handle a lot of sick people? Bill Clinton survives one scandal after another and yet if he picked up on y2k and became its Champion, with his executive powers, Mr. Starr et al, would disappear in a hurry. I would imagine that the only reason he defers is that he wants to ride the gravy train a little further. This is not a popular topic. I have alienated people, so I now keep quiet in public. I write the odd editorial, I've emailed Oprah. I wish I could do more, but I now have to get myself prepared. Where are your grandparents when you really need them? We just don't have the necessary skills to jump back to a way of life 80 years ago. God help us all.
-- Rick Reilly (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 08, 1998.
I haven't seen anyone evaluate the impact in the United States of the triple whammy affecting some electric utilities.
With deregulation already in some states with more to follow many utilities are faced with competition heretofore not seen. Some utlities such as GPU, Niagara Mohawk and Commonwealth Edison are seeking to sell regulated generation assets such as fossil fueled power plants. The buyers of those units will be getting a pig in a poke so to speak. I doubt that any y2k remediation will happen at those sites.
Before the millennium, the Midwestern utilities may have to start complying with the EPA's latest emissions requirements. One utility, American Electric Power, estimates that it will have to spend 1.2 billion dollars to comply.
There you have it; deregulation, increased spending for new emissions control equipment and y2k. Add an economic downturn which will affect the utilities' revenues and the utilities have less revenue to direct to their problems.
Keep in mind that with deregulation an increasing number of nuclear units will be shut down. Oyster Creek, owned and operated by GPU, is an exanple. Because GPU can now buy power at 2.5 cents a kilowatt and Oyster Creek generates power at 3.5 cents a kilowatt, the plant will be closed before 2000. TMI which is still competitive cost wise will probably be sold. Will the new owner have enough time to attain y2k compliancy. Probably not.
All in all, it looks like the grid will lose reserves which will render it more fragile come 2000.
-- Darren (email@example.com), July 09, 1998.