HOW BAD WILL IT BE!!!!!greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
It seems that most persons answering questions on this web site, are more to the side of alarmists or extremeists...
I have done more research then most, but maybe not as much as others, and I beleive the Y2k problem will be a problem, but not to the degree most seem to be preparing for here. I do think there may be runs on banks (Just in anticipation of what might come). I do think one should be prepared for food shortages,water, and ways to stay warm. Having some bartering items like silver, gold and cash can't hurt...
But selling your homes and moving into the country? MASS histeria?
Maybe I am still naive, but come on people... Isn't the American public going to rally around a problem like this....
In the great depression, yes there were food shortages and many out of work, but not many were defending there homes with guns, worring about mobs of looters attacking there homes...
I feel Y2k will have its impacts, and even without y2k our economy is heading into the dumps, but I have a hard time believing what many of you are preparing for will happen.
I would like to hear from boths "sides of the coin" on this issue? Is there any one else out there that doesn't see this as "total devestation" as sometimes presented here? Or am I the minority??
-- Rob Laden (DALLASGUNNS@prodigy.net), September 19, 1998
I contend that no one knows just how bad it will be.This is truly a unique problem with so many variables that to be dogmatic on either end is irresponsible. I do have doubts about people coming together as in the 1930s as this is a different generation.Tere can be little doubt that there will be some non-compliance.Please remember that the House Panel itself recently concluded that more than a third of important government systems would not be ready.That should eliminate a completely optimistic viewpoint. On the other hand there is time left and predicting consequences of something unique and still months away is not an exact science.There is a range from a few annoying glitches to signifiant disruption.I boldly predict the future will be somewhere in between.Meanwhile we should follow the problem and be willing to adjust our point of view.
-- Dennis Chornomaz (Dchorno@aol.com), September 19, 1998.
The $64,000 question. All anyone can do is guess.
Depression era........sure, some of the problems were the same, but the PEOPLE were far different. This much is obvious. Also, the structure of our society was far different. There really is little comparison. I've looked for it, but the differences outweigh the matching points by a lot. Why did I look? I wanted a historical model to judge the very question you are asking. Most possible models I could find were either far too narrow or , like the 'great depression', just too different.
I work with the general public, and have for most of the last 20 years. This does not make me all knowing, but it does give me basis to consider how the public will react. I expect the vast majority of pople will not react at all untill it becomes concrete to them personally. Lip service at most, but no other reaction till they see bare shelves, closed banks, inert electric lights.
Will the general public band together and 'pull through'? Very tough question. My instinctual answer is yes in some area's and resoundingly no in others. There is a large percentage of the public that has no concept of working for the common good. This percentage varies depending on where you are. This is where the idea of moving to the country has merit. Out here in the farm lands where we live, people DO get together and help. In suburbia or in town where we formerly lived they generally do not. Sure, the occasional church group or civic group does good works, but as a percentage of the population these efforts are miniscule.
Think about the way you mentioned preparing. Under exactly what conditions would having gold and silver be a good idea? Only if the modern banking and fiat money system has collapsed. THINK what that means! Checks are worthless, cash is worthless, money transfers do not exeist. Sure, this is an extreme example, but it follows logically.
Keep food on hand, water too, and prepare a way to stay warm. All this implies that those who do NOT prepare will not be eating well, drinking clean water, or staying warm in the dead of winter. How do you suppose the general public will react to that? Prior experience with natural disasters tells us that less than 5% of urban people are ever prepared. In the country, that jumps to better than 30%. Y2K is a 'possible' disaster with a date we all know. That should mean those percentages will rise dramatically. SHOULD mean that. Now, understanding how well our government takes care of people during disasters, where would you like to be IF a disaster occurs? In an urban area where 5-15% of the people prepared and the rest are cold, hungry, and rather upset, OR in the country where 30-60% of the people are prepared and ready to take care of themselves and perhaps others?
This explanation is very simplistic, and possible wrong. What really stands out are the possible results of our actions.
As explained by a CSY2K participant: "If I am wrong, I live. If you are wrong, you die". That idea places a whole new perspective on the discussion. The fact is that Y2K is very serious, is assured to cause problems, will not go away, and is so far unpredictable in how serious it will get. It is going to happen, the only question is how dangerous it will be.
There ARE alternatives to selling out and moving your entire life. Preparing a safety hatch does not require that commitment. Arrangements can be made with those already in safe areas, places can be rented, reasonable supplies put in storage. Knowing that, and knowing that the 'possible' results of being wrong can be deadly, what makes sense to do?
I have life insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, business insurance, etc. I NEVER want to need any of it. I have Y2K insuance and I NEVER want to need that either. The chances of my dieing in the next two years are slim. That does not mean I will cancel my life insurance tomorrow morning. The chances of running into severe societal problems in the next two years are far greater, and Y2K insurance is a policy you just can't buy and forget. You have to do it all yourself.
You just have to balance the risks and costs yourself, and decide how much insurance is wise.
-- Art Welling (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
I'm a "tweener" too. I guess the question is, "Doesn't it sound serious to you when you consider stockpiling and alternative currency?"
I think there will be major disruptions. I haven't convinced myself of the return to the 1900's. Three days without water scares me. A week without power sounds darned unpleasant. Groceries emptying that first time could snowball into many more times as people panic. I think we'll recover very well. I also think it's just sane to hedge your bets.
-- margie mason (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
For what it is worth, rather than just being scary, 3 days without water can kill you. I see a great deal of discussion about food, money, gold, electricity, etc. Having a source of water should be #1 on everyones list, without it all other preparations are in vain.
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
As far as the comparison to the Great Depression, I base this on what I've been told, since I'm not quite 40 yet. What happened then was not a sudden disruption of vital services. The market crash was a big incident, but not like losing utilities, gov. services, etc. Also, if you remember what happened in LA with the Rodney King mess, you might believe that some people are a bit different than in the 30's. How many people lived off the gov. in those days? I don't think this will be TEOTWAWKI. I don't have time to become a self-sufficient farmer, so I'll do what I can. It really is a "slippery slope." If certain things happen, it will get very bad very quickly, and could stay bad for a while. Contingency planning is extremely important - for each of us, local, state and Federal governments, corporations, small business, EVERYONE. I hope there isn't any violence. But that's just a hope - I have seen violence in my own town of 50,000. Not just garden variety stuff, but mob action. I've had my home destroyed by a tornado. The prudent course of action is preparation. I won't say "It can't happen here."
-- Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
When people talk about Y2K and try to relate it to how it was in depression, stock market crash WWII etc they are leaving important factors out of the equasion; 1). The world population was approx 2.5B then,by 2000 it will be 6+ Billion, (more people fewer resources, i.e. the US is no longer an agricultural country-we import in the winter, for example, a great deal of produce from South American.....how Y2K ready do you suppose they'll be?); 2). The world is heavily armed, in the US there are more guns than people, there are more hot spots, factiousness with close neighbors, ie Ireland, Balkans, Bosnia, Mid-East, etc, if DoD can't launch Desert Storm type of responses (and it won't be able to with less than 40% of mission critical systems ready) and is overwhelmed maintaing order in US.....what happens in these areas of unrest. If people are cold/hungry in US Cities that have changed from largely homogenous to tensly multi-cultural in the best of times......what do you suppose could happen if electricity, water, food, heat disruptions. 3). I have been through several large earthquakes and saw the supply disruptions for just a few days and the response of some of the people. We knew we could rely on help from other parts of the state......this event will hit the entire world at once, is unprecedented.....I think it is very prudent to make preparations for more than just a few days disruptions. I have been investigating Y2K very thoroughly for over 18 months, looking for FACTS that would make me optomistic. I listen to optomistic points of view and ask for the data that supports it, which is never forthcoming, and is generally solely based on weak preferences.....well of COURSE none of us want things to unzip, but tell me why they won't? Look at Congress/Media consumed with Starr report........do you see any island of sanity there???!!! Don't look for Government to get their stuff together, and we depend on them for Tansportation, power, FAA, agriculture, water, etc etc. Godd Luck.
-- Suzanne McIntosh (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
Rob, within 50 miles of my house there are 4 million people. (Houston) We have several murders EVERY day. We have had children shot (sometimes killed) for football jackets, shoes, bicycles, etc. This is not the same type of society that existed in the 1930's. There were a lot more farmers then and less "city dwellers," too. But one of the biggest changes is how dependent we now are on services provided by others.
Most people probably have their own definition of what devastation is to them. I don't think millions of people are going to die, or anything like that, but have you seen recent video reports of what is going on in Russia? They still have electricity, water, etc., but their economy HAS been devastated. ABC reported that 70% of all "financial" transactions were being done through bartering. What do YOU have to trade? When the ruble was falling, the people were scrambling to put their money into food and everyday items. Why? Because those items wouldn't lose their value. That left shelves bare. Read the thread about Soup Kitchens and see what was said about Russia.
PS- I haven't seen any "mass hysteria" on this forum, just people uncertain about what might happen who are preparing for all kinds of possibilities. I think every one of us HOPE we won't end up needing it.
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
The subject of this thread - "HOW BAD WILL IT BE!!!!!" The answer - no one knows. It's like an approaching storm. Until it hits, we cannot know, but IMHO the forcast does not look good. The questions we must each try to answer for ourselves and those we care about are "HOW BAD COULD IT BE?" and "HOW BAD DO I THINK IT WILL BE?" I have the feeling you're looking for those answers. (I have come a long way, but I'm still asking.)
-- Mike (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
I don't know how bad it will be. IMHO I am thinking of a problem about on the level of major flooding all over the country for a peroid of 3 to 6 months. That is pretty bad, but not nearly as bad as the 'end of the world' stuff I keep hearing.
-- Paul Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
I work at a hair salon located in a mall. Every Christmas I witness fist-fights in the parking lot over parking spaces. People pushing and shoving over "tickle me elmos"... People shouting that they waited 30 minutes for a hair cut, when they were told that it was only a 20 minute wait... 10-year-olds telling their mother's to shut-up, and the mother's listening... not exactly the 1930's behavior here...
-- madeline (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
Madeline, you just triggered an old memory... my kids are 19 & 15 now, but does anyone else remember the Cabbage Patch frenzy? I could not believe what grown people would do to each other to get one of those dolls. I guess now it's Elmo and beany babies... when people want something bad enough (food?) it is amazing what they will do to get it- especially if it is for their kids.
-- Gayla Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
Selling a home and moving to the country sounds pretty good to me. I live in "the country".
I love living in the country. The power goes out all the time, but who cares. We have a wood stove, lanterns, extra food and even a kerosen heater if I get tired of hauling wood. We wrap up in a snuggly and, believe it or not, talk to one another.
Chances are, if I lived in the city and could move to the country I would. I don't see it as "panic", but common sense. If I lived in an area that I thought might endanger my family and had the means to move I would. Who wouldn't?
That being said, most won't be able to do that and it's time they get to know one another. Neighbors who know each other will take care of each other. Neighbors who don't know, or don't care to know, each other are in for a rough ride for awhile.
Let's not call everyone who moves to "the hills" wackos. The "hill" I live on has a darn nice view. :)
-- Pastor Chris (email@example.com), September 19, 1998.
I've been reading a book on the depression and the people who lived in the country didn't even notice the depression. They had hogs, chickens, orchards and they just kept on living the same as before. It's us wage slaves who are going to feel the pinch.
-- Amy Leone (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 1998.
Funny someone mentioned the Cabbage Patch Doll craze...I remember that well and just thought about it the other day, with thoughts of people scrambling for food instead. I tend to expect the worst, afraid that if I didn't that I might slack off on preparing, maybe not having enough stored away. A few of you mentioned the IMPORTANCE of water...thanks, because I saw plenty in the store and didn't even get it. Makes me want to run out and buy tons of it this week. BUT, didn't someone say that it doesn't have a long shelf life? How long will it keep if I get lots now, this early? What about that flavored kind, does it last longer? Someone said they put bleach in their water. Why? Also, we moved from a large city before we knew about y2k, and even though I am somewhat relieved by that, it IS MUCH colder here and that does concern me. Small town folks do seem to help one another, but there is always that chance that in desperation they will be looking out for number one. Let's hope that we can all pull our resources together. For those of you in the large cities, I am sure it will be hard to know who you can trust. Be selective and get with those who you can help and those who can help you. Blondie
-- Blondie Marie (Blondie@future.net), September 19, 1998.
You might want to do a bit more investigation of the Great Depression. It seems to me there was something called the "Dust Bowl" which had to do with drought conditions.
-- Mike (email@example.com), September 20, 1998.
1) 30's paralells don't work for the following reasons: a) the "event" in 29 which eveerybody looks at the Marrket crash axtually was reversed by May or so 1930. then the depression began. Our history books tend to compress years into paragraphs so the reader gets a compressed view. b) Y2K is a specific, narrow date, short onset event c) Then, there were many fewer urban dwellers and many more farm dwellers. I don't have the actual numbers but I would guess that the proportions have about reversed (anybody with census data??) d) The prevailing attitudes of the day were : i) "An honest day's pay for an honest day's wage" ii) "Earning an honest dollar" iii) "Make it do. Make do. Do without" iv) "I(we) don't take hand-outs, we earn our way." Do I need to say what the current versions of these are? e) then, kids in the general population were overjoyed to get anything like shoes, jackets, pants (particularly long ones as that meant you were growing up), etc. Now, if it don't have Michael's name on it or FUBU or AIRWALK or Pacific Sunwear or CB or whatever, the kid refuses it. Then, you could leave the door OPEN and not have problems. Now, all doors are locked.
f) Then, you could leave the pies cooling on the back porch. Now, you can get shot for your sneakers. g) Then, a man was judged not by the nattiness of the tie or gold he wore out, but by the quality of his word. (OH LORD, NOW I'v gotta define this one!! A man would "give his word" that something would get done, or that something was the truth, or that he could accomplish something, or pay something back, etc. and, it was not a miracle when whatever he "gave his word" on happened or was true. Highly unlike today unless both are Brothers of one Degree or Another)
h) Then, pulling yourself or your neighbor up by his (or your) boot-straps was an accepted way of handling adversity. the last ANYTHING raising I saw was 4 years ago when the Jehovahs Witnesses put up a church in a weekend. (Outside of our local Amish communities, that is.)
i) Being neighborly didn't mean talking to them and getting to know them, but meant bringing food when someone in the house was ill or had died, or ...
j) A man was expexted to be able to provide for his family, in an honest way. Now, in many places, being a good father is dropping off diapers once a week at the homes of your childrens' mothers.
I AM NOT SAYING THAT THEN WAS PERFECTION, BECAUSE THEN THERE WERE TERRIBLE INJUSTICES DONE TO MANY PEOPLE (OF COLOR, OF GENDER, OF GENDER BENDING PREFERENCE, OF DISABILITY, etc). WHAT I AM SAYING IS THAT THE ATTITUDES OF THE DAY WERE TO HELP YOURSELF AND HELP YOUR NEIGHBOR AND NOT LET THE GOV'T HELP US!!!!!!
Uncle D, have I left out anything?
-- Chuck a Night Driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 20, 1998.
Youve covered it pretty well, but since you asked (be careful what you wish for) Ill add $.02. The economic forces that caused the depression were underway well before Black Thursday when the market took its biggest hit. As you stated, people tend to think the depression started on that date, but that bursting of the speculative bubble was really just the most visible event. And yes the market did reverse itself, but turned down once again, reaching the low point in 1932, if memory serves. The economy did not recover to what it was before the depression until the early 1940s, but all of that war spending pulled us out of the remaining doldrums. Unfortunately, all of those huge government programs created by FDR are still with us.
As far as government help is concerned, many people did look to the government for help, but understood they would have to work for what they received. Public works became the order of the day, and lots of our basic infrastructure (dams, rural electrification, etc) was built at that time. Of course the US was not saddled with a multi-trillion dollar national debt in those days either. I dont know that we could repeat that performance, and Im sure that I dont want a war to help save us.
Farmers composed about 30% of the populace then, compared to 5% or so now (read that on Norths forum, I think) so a lot less are feeding a lot more now. But yeah Chuck, you got the flava right, times and folks were very different then, especially city folk.
BTW, some of us fossils still do 'bidness' on a handshake and our word, but we're getting rare.
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), September 20, 1998.
"How bad will it be?" is the most obvious question on everyone's mind. "No one knows for sure," is the most obvious answer. Chaos (Complexity) Theory confirms this - at least as far as the details of the Event go. You can never know the details; there are way too many overlapping factors and feedback loops.
But "Chaos Theory" also suggests a different answer if you ask a slightly different question? Will the overall system of systems (civilization for lack of a better word) reach a critical mass of problems and "phase transit" or flip to a new equilibrium.
Very large systems are virtual impossible for scientists to measure - again too much data to collect, let alone process (and too many people are lying about their portion of the data which makes it even tougher to calculate).
Therefore, we have to fall back on "intuition", "guessing", or as someone did recently check out their old "eight ball". So here's the question: Will we reach a "critical mass" of problems that will push us over the edge or down a slope too slippery to stop our fall until we hit bottom and a new equilibrium? That "new equilibrium" will, of course, have no "value judgment" of it's own. The new "system" will not ask if it the "best system" - people will be thankful to be alive and merely go about the business of day to day living, whether it's as cave people, survivalist groups, intentional communities, or New World Order.
My guess, feeling, observation: I can't tell you what the new "civilization" will look like, but I will place my money on one that looks VERY different from what we have today. I think we WILL reach a critical mass of problems and natural selection will have its inevitable way us - weeding out the old order and filling the vacuum with a "new equilibrium." It's the transition period that is so difficult to foresee and will be so difficult to live through.
At least this group is looking at the problems. That puts you (us) a step ahead of all those who are not preparing. I would add Good Luck, but it sounds like most here make their own.
Rick at =Rick's Internet Cafe'=
-- Carl Chaplin (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 20, 1998.
Ahem, some of you have slightly distorted ideas about the 1930's. I had the somewhat dubious advantage of being brought up in the style of the 30's, (in the late 50's early 60's) and remember wearing short pants until I was 5, keeping special clothes for church, intensive home study until I was 5 and could go to school, etc. I have always felt this gives me something of an advantage in understanding the earlier generation, esp. since my father likes to talk about his upbringing, and he was born in 1917. Please note that when my father was born many of the things you get a 20 to life for now were not against the law in any way. There was no Federal law dealing with drugs, no Federal gun laws of any sort, no registration of firearms, black powder was a common thing, and many folks still did their own simple gunsmithing. While there was perhaps less approval of 'sharp' dealing then than now, it certainly existed, as my father would certainly be one of the first to tell you. Many banks were perfectly willing to foreclose on vast farms and large tracts of property for sums considered small even by the standards of the day - rather than extend credit. Most road bums were armed, and many crimes were committed by people who were desperate for something to eat. I have heard many stories of people who were shot while trying to steal something to eat out of someones elses garden by moonlight. During a church social my father attended in a nearby community, the entire group was attacked by thugs who had no desire for anything but to fight, and who cut up a great many men with knives. This does not jibe with the 'softer gentler' time I keep hearing about. Fact is, they probably had more crime than we do now (adjusted for population) and going by our standards for crime, rather than the standards of the time. We are much more concerned with legislating personal morality than what our forefathers considered true crime, and I would be willing to debate the facts of that issue with anyone. An excellent book on the real history of America, warts and all, is Bettman's book "The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible". This book examines real life as it was actually lived by real Americans, not the pablum you get from textbooks. Give it a read, and learn the truth about what went on in early America. BTW don't lend the book to anyone if you want it back, esp. teachers. They don't want to return it.
-- Paul Davis (email@example.com), September 20, 1998.
Thanks for the reminder, now that you mention it I do seem to recall a fellow named Dillinger, and a couple named Bonnie and Clyde.
You are quite right in pointing out that we as humans have a very ugly side, as history shows (even the whitewashed version) and I did not mean to insinuate that all was perfect back in those days. However, when I see people giving each other the finger, and foaming at the mouth in a fury over minor traffic offenses, I still say some things were different then. I respectfully point out that we are comparing 1930s Depression behavior vs. 1990s booming economy behavior. I dont look forward to seeing how the people of today behave when they are hungry and broke. The economic picture is rosy right now, and people still go for the throat over minor issues.
You also raise a valid point about the perception change, insofar as what is regarded as a crime these days. Being a Libertarian I think weve gone way overboard in trying to regulate peoples private lives. But that is another subject, and one on which I could wax poetic indefinitely.
-- Uncle Deedah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 20, 1998.
Perhaps now, in the cities and suburbs, is the time for people to start conecting more with their neighbors and community. Church groups, book discussions - there are clubs and groups for everything and hey, if one doesn't exist that suits your fancy, start one! That kind of networking may well be everyone's best "insurance policy", city or country.
But yes, I do believe things could get nasty. There was a show on cable this past week (sorry, I never get to see whole shows so I can't remember the name) of a city with a one week power outage. Got real ugly. When people are unprepared and their families are cold and hungry, even good people can do desperate things.
-- Melissa (email@example.com), September 20, 1998.
Where I live about 30% or more of the people are living on welfare, Not to say that even 1/2 that many need it. The crime rate is very heavy amoung these people. They are use to having everything furnished for them. This tell me that not very many will plan and prepare. I believe this type of people will be what we have to pretect ourselves from.And yes they will not think twice about stealing your food from you. GJ:>)
-- GJ (Manyirons@aol.com), September 22, 1998.
I think that it will be a total collapse. 1) I believe that it will begin in January with well understood business software glitches due to the so-called "Jo Anne effect" (see earlier threads on this if you don't know what it is). Because this particular problem is so specific and well understood, it may lend itself to "fix on failure" and then used to demonstrate how "easy" Y2K fixes are, and so ease John Q. Public's perception of the problem. But it will definitely establish Y2K as a household word. 2) Once govts/countries/businesses do fiscal year 2000 roll-overs, the fireworks will definitely begin: people will have real live personal encounters with checks not coming, scrambled financial data from the the institutions that they used to trust, etc. This will probably begin the bank runs, which will put Y2K in a spotlight that will make the Clinton/Monica coverage look piddly. 3) The final chapter: On or about Jan 1, 2000, virtually all of our technology fails, due to the remaining software plus now the failing "embedded" systems that supply our power, filter our water, etc. Multiple simultaneous failures such as these do NOT lend themselves to "fix on failure", thus I believe that short term recovery will not be possible.
-- Joe (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 22, 1998.
Has anyone considered this thought:I live in one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S. Ten years ago, it was nothing but a little country town, but now it unbelievably congested with transplants from various parts of the country. I'm wondering,when TSbeginsTHTF, will half the people in my town pick up and head back to their home town?? One can dream, can't they?!?
-- madeline (email@example.com), September 23, 1998.
Rob: I too felt that "we the people" would band together and whip that y2k crap. But I have had the extremely bad luck to have been up close and personal with a few ugly situations and very much want you to be right. I can tell you that it is indeed a very thin veneer of civilization that separates us from the jungle of our not too distant past. Things get very ugly very quickly and real people get real dead real fast. I'm fairly certain that there will be some small groups who will help each other. At first. After a very short time it can, and it probably will, get very ugly. You make your plans according to your feelings and since yours are almost certainly more of the 'rosy scenario' th an mine are I very much want you to be right. We are no longer the moral and just people of even 10 years ago, let alone of the days od yore circa 1940s-1950s. That fact alone is reason to be most cautius in your thoughts.
-- sweetolebob (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 23, 1998.
I'm 73 years old. I was am the eldest of a family of nine kids; born on a farm with a big garden. Mom and I canned hundreds of jars every summer. We had no indoor plumbing; no electric lights. We were very poor and didn't know it. Things are different now than in the depression. Folks just don't act the same. I pray every day that I stay healthy enough to lead much four kids and thirteen grand-kids through the problems of Y2K. Yes, I consider myself lucky to have the background of going through the great depression. I've spent the lasr year getting things together that will make things more bearable
-- HULL STETSON (email@example.com), September 23, 1998.