The effects of all of this being felt alreadygreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
In our little local newspaper tonight was an article about John Deere & Co, one of the biggest manufacturers of farm machinery in the world, doing some serious belt tightening. Seems they posted record earnings for 20 of the past 21 quarters, but suddenly they have begun some measurable and quick contracting, citing economic downturns, stock market losses, low commodity prices, and loss of exports to foreign markets. Workers are being "shut down" ( a layoff, really) for one week the end of this month, and then they've already been told to expect 8 weeks of shutdown in fiscal year 1999 - which begins Nov 1 of this year!
Now this isn't directly related to Y2K but I bring it up because it was only 3 months ago that the champagne corks were flying with these guys, the officers were all getting big bonuses, and their analysts were predicting more record growth. Today, their stock is valued at half of what it was and already the community is talking about the loss of personal income per worker ($10-$15K per worker) and the impact it will have on all the businesses that these workers patronize. They are our biggest employer. This is a foretaste, and no one perceived any warning.
Think - it could be YOUR family whose income is suddenly cut off, by Y2K or an impending depression/recession/whatever. NOW can we get people to start preparing for hard times?
-- Melissa (email@example.com), September 17, 1998
And not to mention the suit (believe it's Walmart) that was decided the other day against the bank card processor because the chain wasn't able to handle the dreaded "00" exp date.
the first Y2K suit goes against the industry. Harbinger??
Want some tea leaves or entrails??
-- Chuck a Night Driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 1998.
The cold economic winds that started blowing out of Thailand that have become a hurricane devastating much of Asia, Latin America and Russia, aren't anything at all to do with Y2K. If the economists knew what they were to do with, they probably wouldn't have happened at all.
There's a lot of evidence for a long-term economic cycle (the Kondratiev cycle) that drags economies into depression every sixty years or so. My own belief is that the people managing our economy are typically in their sixties: they can call on 40 years of personal experience and perhaps another 20 learnt from their parents and childhoods, so things go wrong, quite inevitably, over a slightly longer timescale. If so, we're due for a repeat of 1929 etc.
And then ... there's Y2K looming, about which history can tell us nothing.
-- Nigel Arnot (email@example.com), September 17, 1998.
Chuck, the first settled lawsuit was Produce Palace in Warren, Michigan.
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 1998.
Nigel, it so happens I am one of those 'chartist nuts' who keep track of the cycles of the economy. According to my charts, we are now moving into a period when we will experience the exact opposite of the Great Depression. That is, all the major cycles that were down during or shortly after the period of 27-32 will be up, and the ones that were up will be down. Sounds like good news to me!
-- Paul Davis (email@example.com), September 17, 1998.
Please describe your indicators in more depth. What is showing an up cycle in your charts that would lead you to this conclusion? Share the good news.
-- Uncle Deedah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 1998.
The problem with John Deere is normal ag business and really is not even a direct impact of the economy, much less y2k. Crop prices are in the basement (corn prices are lower than in the 1940s), cattle and hog prices are the pits - in other words, farmers have no money to buy big new equipment and there are no longer any government supports to pay the farmers during bad years and no government buy programs to bolster prices. Ag related stocks like John Deere can not be tracked and compared to the rest of the economy - they act almost independent of the stock market.
Don't get me wrong - I would much rather the government stayed out of the ag business completely, but when they help the middle man make a small fortune at the expense of the farmer it doesn't work.
Melissa, I have a couple of guesses as to what town you may be near and yes I do feel for the workers, but this has been going on all of my life and people that work at Deere should know how unpredictable the company is.
-- beckie (email@example.com), September 17, 1998.
All the comments about cycles reminded me about the classic Heinlein story, "The Year of the Jackpot", which is an TEOTWAWKI tale about all the cycles bottoming at the same time. Fun little yarn - I've felt that we're in what Heinlein calls "The Crazy Years" for quite some time now. I note with interest that we're due for both a decent meteor shower and some good-size sunspots in the next 12-18 months. Just more blows to a weakened structure. *sigh*
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 1998.
I feel silly - I didn't express myself well. I didn't mean to imply that the local economy problem was related to Y2K - I just meant that watching these folks go through the anger and disbelief - the fear - the worry trickling through the community - it reminds me what kind of hardship and emotional reactions we are going to see as Y2K affects our lives economically. Kind of a dress rehearsal for what I see ahead for us on the horizon. Yes, people here should have seen it was a possibility - just like 16 months from now, we will all be amazed at the people who did not see the situation coming.
Back to lurking. :-)
-- Melissa (email@example.com), September 18, 1998.
Mac Just so long as we don't fall into G R Dickinson's (sp?) "Iron Years" (Short story quasi prequell of "Wolf and Iron") A book I STRONGLY recommend, as far as responses to a TEOTWAWKI event.
-- Chuck a Night Driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 1998.
Melissa, dont go back to Lurking, many appreciate your comments, and the analogy of what is likely to come.
-- Vic (Light_Servant@yahoo.com), September 18, 1998.
Chuck - funny you mention Gordon R. Dickson. I've read quite a few of his DORSAI stories over the years, but haven't kept up with his more recent work. I did notice some Dickson titles the last time I was at the library - will have to go and see if they have a collections or two and look up "Iron Years." Right after I review some of the entries in my Reader's Digest "Back To Basics." 8-}] Thanks!
-- Mac (email@example.com), September 18, 1998.
Melissa, I agree with Vic. Please don't go back to "lurking." Not everyone is going to understand the point you are making sometimes, but that is OK. Discussion and debate are a great way to learn. People sometimes make smart or cutting remarks, too, but consider the greater good. Many people are truly helped by this forum. Hang in there!
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 1998.
At the risk of being seen as Gayla's "Yes Man" I must second her opinion, post anything you feel would be helpful. As to the sarcastic remarks that some may make, be a duck, and let it roll off your back like water.
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), September 18, 1998.
Uncle Deedah, having a sense of humor is one of the things that is going to help us make it through this!! :-)
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 1998.
Actually Uncle that would make you my "yes man" but I don't need one so go ahead and be Gayla's
-- Vic (Light_Servant@yahoo.com), September 19, 1998.