THE BIG PICTURE : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

THE BIG PICTURE - how can anyone with confidence say y2k will be a mere blip?

1. Everyone on the planet has decided not to fix non-critical systems. How will the inability to execute non-critical systems affect the planet?

2. Everyone on the planet is scrambling to repair computer systems faster than normal with a low tolerance for flaws. Globally, things will be missed or flaws introduced in the repairs.

3. Everyone on the planet affects those that are interconnected with them.

4. Peaking 11 year solar cycle(strain on the power grid), current Asian crisis, Euro-currency, and Y2K ocurring at the same time.

5. Lack of information globally on how suppliers are measuring up.

6. Asia and Europe started much later than US did and the US isn't guaranteed to make it on time.

7. Small to medium sized businesses globally are not taking this serious enough.

8. A bank or corporation cannot afford to isolate themselves from their suppliers and still conduct business. A very huge threat from suppliers exists globally.

9. If a company or government runs out of time, testing will suffer the most.

10. The power grid is a network, not isolated plants selling power to isolated consumers.

11. Telecommunications is a planet-wide network.

12. The United States is not prepared to stop buying and selling with other countries. Many companies have grown or been born because of a GLOBAL MARKET. American individuals and companies have billions of dollars invested in foreign markets.

13. Everyone wishes they had started sooner, budgeted more, and had more personnel who could fix their systems.

14. There is a planet-wide shortage of people who can repair the code, fix the embedded systems, and produce the parts necessary for a planet to fix its broken parts.

15. Many more problems will occur prior to Jan. 1, 2000 than occurred before the 1929 Crash.

-- James Chancellor (, July 29, 1998


Just two things to add to the woes...

1) The Leonid meteor shower... and,

2) Randy Johnson will be traded by the Mariners. Ouch.


-- Pastor Chris (, July 29, 1998.

I was handling all this just fine until the Mariners comment. That was the straw that broke my back. I can't take it any more. Just kidding. God supplies all my spiritual needs, the physical ones are just icing on the cake.

-- James Chancellor (, July 29, 1998.

Let me add one more thing.

There is a worldwide speculative bubble in financial derivatives which is around $160 trillion. This puts to shame the old tulip, south sea, and Mississipi bubbles of previous centuries.

-- Joe Owczarzak (, July 29, 1998.


if what you say is true, then we were in big trouble before people became aware of y2k, which has been my point of view. Granted that y2k is a monstrous problem, perhaps the greatest technological challenge of the 20th century, according to de Jager, fix y2k and you've still got a very unstable global community, in terms of its economic structure and its relationship to the natural world. Severe storm frequencies across our continent have increased by 20%. The UN reports that the number and scale of disasters is increasing around the world. 20 million people have been displaced or rendered homeless through "natural" disasters in the last year. I would ask James Chancellor to cite instances when Americans in the past have failed to rise to a technological challenge, and when he finds that Americans are perhaps the most technologically competent people in the world, to explain why he is now so convinced they will be so roundly defeated by y2k? In terms of the problems that threaten the continuation of our beloved way of life, y2k is not the greatest, and it is perhaps the easiest of all to fix! Meaning no disrespect to anyone on this forum, I think that looking at the world through the keyhole of y2k is just that: looking at the world through a keyhole.

-- Joseph Danison (, July 29, 1998.

Yes i agree that th U.S. is the most technecally competent nation, and we have risen to solve many problems, but we couldnt solve the Great Depression. And if you look at the amount of debt, when the intrest payments on the money you borrowed equals your income , you are toast. The federal govt is getting close to that point. Thats what happened in the Soviet Union, They Ran Out Of Money. Since the ruble was not traded outside of the country they couldnt borrow from other countries. What will happen to the U.S. if suddenly the japanese suddenly are unable or refuse to buy T-bills?? Look at the number of people who live from one paycheck to the next, a six to eight week loss of income, and they will lose everything, I know of very few people who actually own, free and clear their home and automobiles.

Im not a doom and gloomer but if another Depression happens it will make 1929-1939 look like a boy scout picnic. Back then 35% of the population grew their own food and 0% were dependent on the fed govt for handouts. People were hungry but didnt kill each other over food, now someone will kill you just so they can drive around in your car untill it runs out of gas. Now 2% grow the food and try and find someone who doesnt get a federal handout in some fashion, welfare, foodstamps, wic. afdc, unemployment, student loans, fha home loans, farmers price supports- peanuts, tobacco, milk, The recession in 1990 when Iraq invaded Quait was caused by nothing more than the big oil companies raising the price of the gas that was already in the tank under your local store $ .25 overnight.This was NOT the gas made from crude oil purchased after the price went up. This scared people, making them (myself included) think" if it went up $ .25 last night, what will it be next summer??" Consumers hold onto their money for just a few weeks and presto, an economy built on a house of cards (FDIC member banks get to loan out 80% of their assets) has a recession. Take the GM strike, if they were to stay down another 8-10 weeks how many of their suppliers have a rainy day fund large enough to survive ?? What would GM do if only three of their suppliers went bust ?? They cant build cars without seats, or without computer controls. Today, The way everyone and every company is SO dependent on someone else to do something for them, a large domino effect is possible. most of the Asian market collapse was caused by Kia Motors large debt load and subsequent bankrupt proceedings.

-- Georgia Ranger (, July 30, 1998.

Mr. Danison, your question was "when have Americans ever failed to rise to a technical challenge"? Your looking at one. Americans have been failing to rise to this y2k challenge for years. Their failure to rise to it is why they are "forced" into this time crunch today. If they had risen to the challenge when it first became a challenge, we would be in much better shape today. But this is more than a technological challenge, it is now a size, time, and qualified people problem. The technological expertice to solve this problem is there for sure, but we were procrastinators. Also, this technological web we live in was not a designed and prefabricated scheme that was planned, executed, and developed. It "evolved" when 2, 3, 4, a hundred systems merged much like 2 large cities growing into each other. Our technology works well when we design a whole system, build it, and monitor it. The space shuttle didn't evolve and merge into existence.

-- James Chancellor (, July 30, 1998.

People in general have little historical knowledge today. This tends to shade threir eyes from the fact that the current cycle of good times is just that, the up part of a cycle. Add Y2K to the underlying vulnerability of todays finacial systems and distribution chains, and those of us who understand that things have not always been thus know that things could indeed go bad. This does not mean that the situation will definitely be horrible, only that there is no real reason why it would not be just another terrible situation that mankind has had to deal with. I see a lot of similarities between 1998 and 1928. Things today are wonderful for some, but many, many people are struggling to survive financialy and the possibility that things could get worse scares the hell out of them. It scares the hell out of me too.

-- Uncle Deedah (, July 30, 1998.

JC, your question is titled "The Big Picture", and yet you are looking through the keyhole of y2k. Your zeal to support the y2k scenario supported by G North et. al. leads you to assume that Americans have already been defeated by y2k. It is too late for what? Not too late to make significant progress, enough to discredit North's position. If you can't give an example of a failure from the past, then your argument for the present case is weak. I suppose you believe that the system of interrelationship that has evolved from computer technology would be presently more reliable and more effective if it had been conceived and designed by some kind of "central committee", a la the space station. The system is distributed and has indeed evolved according to need and is not less reliable thereby. It could not have been designed by any central planning body or any one genius individual, and a space station is not a finished product, either, for it is designed to evolve. The technology is new and not well-understood, and if you are writing it off now when it is facing its first major growing pain, its adolescent crisis, as it were, then I must say you are an intellectual Luddite. Fie on you, sir. You are uncivil, sir! There is room for differences in opinion about the result of y2k among those who believe it is a very serious matter. I am in this forum arguing a matter of perspective, not to discredit y2k alarms, representing what I believe to be the Big Picture. y2k is an element in that view, not the whole view. It is a symptom of what is wrong, but the failure of the system that is Our Way of Life ( OWOL ) has other causes. Georgia Granger and Uncle Deedah refer to other elements in the big picture, the mysterious "business cycle" that many naive airheads believe we have "solved." The economic foundation of OWOL is threatened by the internal instability of the economic system itself that y2k will amplify. Can't disagree! y2k is just another glitch in this economic system, but the economic system is itself in conflict with natural systems, about which we know far less than we know about the internet or the global economy. The threat from CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere is more insidious than the threat of y2k, which by comparison is fixable. My point is simple: y2k is not going to push OWOL over a cliff, but the damage we are doing to natural systems will. That is the Real Big Picture.

-- Joseph Danison (, July 30, 1998.

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