What factors lead to prompt public action?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Factors leading to prompt public action.

7 a serious event or accident has just occurred. (not yet) 7 there is a high probability of a dangerous occurrence. (opinions differ) 7 danger is imminent. (too far away in time as yet) 7 the danger is new and unfamiliar. (yes) 7 the danger evokes images or fear unrelated to the risk. (not yet.. the Digital Winter is not yet linked to Nuclear Winter or Silent Spring) 7 the danger is related to cancer, causes changes in genes, or deformities in children. (seems unlikely) 7 The danger is acute and short term. (not established what the magnitude of the danger is as yet) 7 the damage is reversible. (yes, solutions are known and have been for some time) 7 many people are potentially affected. (yes, the potential impact is global) 7 instances of harm are clustered in time and space. (no geographical links made yet but it would be easy to map cities and say here are centres of problems) (the impact of Y2K will be distributed in time although the focal event is very precise,) 7 children are affected. (yes) 7 cause-effect relationships are scientifically understood. (yes, Y2K is a solved problem) 7 there is a direct impact on people. (yes but this is not yet understood) 7 national security is involved. (yes ) 7 It is publicly known. (yes) 7 it has mass media attention and/or political attention. (yes) 7 consequences are highly damaging to economic and trade interests. (yes) 7 alternatives are available. (yes, there is nothing wrong with pre digital solutions, paper is fine, but so is remediation)

What else do we know about what motivates people to act?

-- Bob Barbour (r.barbour@waikato.ac.nz), July 15, 1998


Great posting Bob. I am sure that you are aware that it is mankind's tendency to be the 'last-minute animal' in all endeavors. As others have accurately pointed out here, that habit of procrastinating may indeed prove fatal for some if all systems fail. Quite succinctly, it is my feeling that people --or at least, the masses--only act when they need to....at the very last minute. Granted, this leads to runs at the bank, at the supermarket, et al, and yet, it is a sad fact of life.

From my vantage point, the next few months will find me making some minor 'just in case' preparations, but a question comes to mind for all: given the fact that the problem ensnares all of the computers around the world and won't necessarily mean that 1/1/00 is the point of no return (some computers may crash well AFTER that date)....what will satisfy the people who are in the know about the remediation and eradication of y2k? Who has the power to say 'we have eradicated the problem globally?' Whom would you believe? The President? The U.N. chief? De Jager? I'm just curious about will bring optimism to ALL parties.

-- Professor K (PROFESSORK@prodigy.com), July 16, 1998.

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