Questions, questions, questions ?????????greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
What evidence do we have, that Y2K wont be the catalist, that triggers the prophesied collapse of modern civilisation?
And is it true that all biblical and secular phrophetic writings dont project past the year 2000 as i have heard?
What makes us in the westernised world believe that life will go on as usual for the next 1000 years 500 years or 50 years, when all around us grief, famin, war, murder, and social anarchy are every day experience for third world people?
any comments? Timothy J Wilbur
-- Timothy J Wilbur (email@example.com), August 03, 1998
There's no evidence of any collapse since a date was not given by any prophet. If a prophet was for real, wouldn't he/she write down a date? What's with all these signs?
Who do you know that can or has written future history? Of course no one, history makes itself. No one can predict what's going to happen 2 hours from now much less after the year 2000.
There are no guarantees of anything living beyond the next 10 minutes. Ever since the beginning of written history, there have been murders, famines, and so on and so forth. Live today. Be content today. History repeats itself.
-- Bardou (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 03, 1998.
Some of us will certainly pay a price at some point for ignoring common sense rules for prospering in this material world: save for a rainy day, don't spend more than you earn, neither a borrower nor lender be, read and educate yourself, hone productive skills, etc. And when a whole bunch of us have to pay that price at the same time, well, it'll hurt.
But what we have going for us that previous generations never had is a tremendous amount of information and options. We have many many ways of creating many kinds of wealth. The options available to any individual who chooses to read, listen, learn, and work are tremendous. An economic collapse reallocates assets from those who make unwise decisions to those who make better decisions. The assets don't disappear -- they just get moved to different people. I think the best strategy is to be one of the folks holding cash and real assets, and not just promises, when that happens. You'll probably be set to buy valuable assets at bargain prices. People made millions during the Great Depression.
Personally I don't expect an apocalyptic outcome. I don't think all the problems -- or even most of them -- will be solved in time, but I think those who expect some kind of "Road Warrior" future are getting a little bit over-excited. Let's admit it, it's exciting to think there might be a real crisis and that you'd be one of the few to be really prepared. It gets the juices flowing. People who are bored with everyday life find the kick of those primitive survival instincts a refreshing change. What we ignore is that people can adapt to new information. 200 years ago they were running out of firewood in England. It was a crisis -- and then they found they could use coal instead. End of crisis. A period of crisis stilmulates people to find new alternatives. This doesn't mean we won't have a period of unrest, but these very kinds of discussions about apocalyptic outcomes stimulate people to adapt and blunt the effects. Remember the gas crisis in the 70s? For a while we had to wait in lines -- we were told that the gas would all run out by the 90s -- then automakers started making gas-efficient cars and now the price of oil is lower in real terms than any time in the last several decades.
The end of civilization? No way. I bet that even during the Great Depression, everyday life seemed pretty normal. If there's real problems with power outages, food supplies, etc, people will panic for a little while, then will adjust and we'll end up with a new situation, probably better than we have now. Probably have a new kind of power generation system that is much more decentralized. People will take computer programming much more seriously and will probably allocate more time to testing and doing the job right. People will become more self-sufficient in food supplies.
For those who aren't prepared at all, who haven't been reading, staying abreast of the situation, there will be pain. There is always a price for ignorance. But civilization will be just fine.
My greatest hope is that it will knock the federal government back about three steps. When the federal government is about as significant in everyday life as the local dogcatcher, then we'll be making progress. Huge institutions are always at a disadvantage when responding to a crisis because they can't adapt quickly, and there is nothing larger and more bureacratic than the federal government.
-- Mark (email@example.com), August 04, 1998.
>I bet that even during the Great Depression, everyday life seemed pretty normal.<
Here is a perfect example of humanus urbanus extinctus.
Oh, and the Black Plague was pretty normal, too. As was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the sacking of Rome in 476. And let's not forget the grand years of the Crusades. Beats a tailgate party any day, 'swhat I always say. Yep, history is just chock full of these nifty little snippets for us to read about. Just because some folks were inconvenienced doesn't mean it could ever happen to us, right? I mean, this is America, right?
Point is, these few examples changed the world. Forever.
All who survive this will measure time in two chunks, before y2k and after. The 20th century is over, and the world we knew with it. Talking about things being just fine in the long run misses the point of Tim's post entirely. We won't personally get to live here in the long run, we must ponder our brief sojourn on this earth *in the context in which we live*.
Standing at the library in Ephesus and again in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, I was blessed with a little better understanding of how great our civilizations have been and how PERMANENT they seemed to those who built them. Standing in the ruins of Herod's palace on Masada, it was hard to imagine how this magnificent place could have ever fallen.
If it was hard for me, it was impossible for Herod.
It is virtually impossible for most to think outside their boxes, and very hard for the rest to do so.
These ARE the last days of this civilization, regardless of what comes after.
Become aware of this. It is a gift, I believe, and adds a poignant beauty to all that is happening around us.
-- Will Huett (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 05, 1998.
I think we're only disagreeing about what "end of civilization" means. None of the events you mentioned (plague, etc) resulted in the "end of civilization" as I understand the phrase. Neither did any of the horrible things that happened in this century. I never meant to imply that there isn't tremendous suffering sometimes -- there certainly is. There might be because of Y2K -- I think there probably will be. But when someone says "end of civilization" I picture the movie "The Road Warrior" -- no laws, no production on any kind of scale, extinction of most of the populace, etc. I just don't see this problem as being anything on that scale. There are no invading armies threatening us. There is no incurable disease ravaging us. Basically, a whole bunch of our stuff is gonna be broken. This is very very serious, and there may be people going hungry and cold and there may be looters and thieves and gangs running amuck, but it's just not a civilization-ending event. Could there be a period when in some places there is no law, no production, etc? Yes. Like L.A. during the riots, etc. But riots are a long way from the end of civilization as I understand the phrase. We've had way worse than riots in this country. Look at the Civil War.
What's likely, in my opinion, is that a whole bunch of stuff will stop working. Let's assume food shortages, fuel shortages, unemployment, people losing their homes, increase in crime, lost savings in financial instituions. What happens then? A period of intense suffering, and then people begin to adjust. People motivated to make a lot of money offer their services to get systems patched together and up and running again. Things work intermittently for a while, people pay high prices, move in with relatives, etc. The profit motive will insure that supply rises to meet demand. People are very clever when it comes to finding ways to make money. The biggest threat to a quick recovery will be government intervention, ala the 30s New Deal interventions that deepened and prolonged the Great Depression for a decade.
Yes, ancient civilizations passed away. Sometimes because of one cataclysmic event, usually gradually over centuries so that the people who lived in them hardly knew things were changing. But we aren't a little kingdom in the middle east. We have tens of millions of brilliant, motivated people who have tools and information that Herod and other ancients never had.
It is possible that Y2K will end civilization. But that possibility is remote enough that I think we only lose credibility when we make those kinds of arguments. There are serious enough Y2K problems to warn about without talking about "the end of civilization." That's the kind of hype that backfires. People won't take it seriously if we talk about the end of civilization. We end up sounding like just one more class of end-of-the-world nut waiting for Jesus to come down from a cloud or Gaia to open up and swallow us or flying saucers behind comets to take us away to heaven's gate.
-- Mark (email@example.com), August 05, 1998.
Mark said "Yes, ancient civilizations passed away. -
- But we aren't a little kingdom in the middle east. We have tens of millions of brilliant, motivated people who have tools and information that Herod and other ancients never had. "
I rest my case. Your unshakeable assertion that "we" are different, smarter, better is precisely why you cannot imagine anything ending our moment at the top of history's dung pile. I assure you, not one past civilization felt ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU DO.
Mark >Sometimes because of one cataclysmic event, usually gradually over centuries so that the people who lived in them hardly knew things were changing.<
ROFLMAO! You could not be more wrong. What a joke that statement is. Complex systems reach a point of instability and change in an instant. I strongly recomend you read "Complexity- the emerging science at the edge of order and chaos" by M Mitchell Waldrop
You said that you picture "Mad Max" when you thing of TEOTWAKI and that that isn't gonna happen. Well, it has happened over and over. Ask a south Vietnamese farmer, or a survivor of the Holocaust. You could ask an Aztec, but hey, they're all dead.
Mark said >This is very very serious, and there may be people going hungry and cold and there may be looters and thieves and gangs running amuck, but it's just not a civilization-ending event.<
Do you ever listen to yourself? Think globally, pal. Any welfare-state government that cannot prevent what you just described will fall. "Road Warrior" is merely a transitional stage.
Mark >I just don't see this problem as being anything on that scale.<
You can't even IMAGINE the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, so what makes you think you would see it coming?
You said we disagree on what the end of civilization means. I will tell you what it means. It means the end of the societal structure in which we currently live, know our place and understand.
This is very, very possible from y2k, my friend.
Good luck, you're gonna need it.
-- Will Huett (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 06, 1998.