Ed Yardini Getting Soft? Not A Chance!!!

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Sorry for the length. I had to pull this copy off a pdf file. There is no direct link. The following is taken from a transript of the CSIS conference:


SPEAKERS: SENATOR SAM NUNN, former U.S. Senator, Chairman, CSIS Y2K Risk Assessment Task Force ROBERT BENNETT, Senator (R-UT), Chairman, Special Committee on Year 2000 Technology Problem MARIA LIVANOS CATTAUI, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce SHINICHI HOSONO, First Secretary, Economic Section, Embassy of Japan (Japan) JOHN IVINSON, Action 2000, (United Kingdom) G.K. JAYARAM, Chairman, Transformation Systems, Inc., (India) SERGEY ROGOV, Director, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia) JOHN SARAZEN, Senior Year 2000 Consultant, Pi Technologies (Russia)

[...] MR. YARDENI: Well, if you insist. It seems to me that -- people ask me what's changing and how's my assessment of the macro-economic issues changing. The one thing that's clearly different from a year ago is, many countries, many companies, many governments, have a Year 1998 problem.

I don't know if we want to call it Y8K, but companies are facing severe stress all around the world, countries are facing severe stress all around the world, and simply are being totally distracted by the fact that there's a very serious recession in many countries now.

I was supposed to do a video teleconference with a major bank in Chile last Monday, and a week before they sent me a letter saying, you know, thank you very much for blocking out the time but we are so distracted with the impact of the Asian contagion on Latin America and Chile on our bank specifically, that we've had to cancel the event. So I think that's just an example of the kind of distraction that the current problems are in fact, posing.

Based on what I heard today it seems to me that clearly, the situation is not improving and it's just as clear to me that we're simply not going to know -- we're going to go into this thing largely blind as we go into the year 2000.

Based on what I heard today it seems to me that we immediately need to have disarmament talks -- nuclear disarmament talks between the Russians and the United States, with the specific purpose of making sure that nuclear missiles are not aimed at each other since neither one of us can completely guarantee that these things are under our control.

Based on what I've heard today I think public officials are at some point, probably the middle of next year, going to have to tell the public that they cannot assure them of the food supply, they cannot assure them that the lights will be on, they cannot assure them that the phone system will work, and that they need to make preparations at their community levels to deal with these issues.

I tell all my friends that talk about stockpiling, whatever you do, don't do it in December of 1999. If you're going to do it, do it in the summer of next year. And there's nothing imprudent about that, there's nothing panicky about that; quite the opposite. The worst that can happen is a lot of us will feel very silly that we have all the spaghetti sitting in the basement and it was totally unnecessary.

But I don't think it's going to be unnecessary. I think we have to seriously start to consider having rolling shutdowns for a weekend, or for a day at least, of the electrical power systems and the telecommunication systems in our neighborhoods. It doesn't have to be all at one time across the country.

But the fact of the matter is, we are not going to test our electrical power system, our telecommunications systems because they are on all the time. What we have to do is have one day where we push all the clocks forward in our local phone system -- that means we won't have access to the phones for one day -- and see what happens. That's going to happen anyway but it's going to happen basically in an uncontrollable situation in January 2000. Given what's at risk, why don't we seriously think about doing that under a controllable situation looking up ahead here?

With regards to my assessments of a global recession it's still at 70 percent. It's just a subjective assessment, but the fact of the matter is, in some places there's 100 percent likelihood of a recession because it's happening right now. And my sense is because of the recessions in many countries we can pretty much expect that those countries will not make their Year 2000 deadline.

The Year 2000, by the way, I was reminded by a Fed Governor recently, starts in April of 1999. That's when state and local governments move to a fiscal year. A lot of us have been wondering, when is everybody going to start to get it and when is everybody going to start to recognize there's a problem?

The public, the media is looking for an event, for some real breakdowns, for some real problems. I think April 1st, 1999, April Fool's Day of next year, may very well start to demonstrate the kind of problems that we have when state and local governments move their clocks to a fiscal 2000, and that leads to all sorts of disruptions as data is exchanged with the federal government, with companies, and as these entities have problems on their own.

The federal government is making progress; 50 percent of their computers are apparently ready. I don't know what that means. Very often we're not verifying it. Korea was mentioned. Korea as of August, was 30 percent ready on its mission critical systems; totally unverified from self-reporting. Brazil has announced that the deadline for all companies -- this is the SEC of Brazil -- has announced the deadline for all companies to be ready is -- get this -- December 31st, 1999. And there will be fines imposed on companies that aren't ready. Japan, the banks -- there was an August survey done by the Bank of Japan. It's on the Internet. You can't find it because it's buried away in one of their FTP sites. I did link it on my Internet site. And it's all self-reporting; totally unverified.

And I'm not being critical of Japan. The fact of the matter is we're all just taking these surveys at face value and the honest appraisal is, they're not worth anything because they're not being independently verified.

So I remain very concerned about a global recession. I think it's going to be wicked and I think we have to recognize that it's going to combine Y2K with the global banking crisis. This is not an Asian contagion; it's a banking panic, a banking crisis that's simply centered in Japan.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to just give you a little u

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), October 20, 1998


Thanks, Michael, for giving us the chance to see the latest assessments "from the horse's mouth."

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), October 20, 1998.

I found it on this URL.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), October 20, 1998.

Whew! I became convinced mostly by listening to Yardeni. Then I hear all this stuff about his revising his stance, when just a couple of months ago he said it's a physical impossiblility. He's still in there. He's not whitewashing. I've got to agree, though. Not many folks are going to pay attention until a major failure happens. Maybe we'll get "lucky" and it will happen in April 1999. Then I won't have so much extended family to worry about.

-- margie mason (mar3mike@aol.com), October 21, 1998.

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