How will unprepared nations impact us? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ed Yardeni just posted a detailed assessment of the y2k-readiness--or more accurately, lack of readiness--around the globe. ( --PDF format; reader available on his site) The latest official communiques here seem to be along the lines of "We'll be just dandy, but the rest of the world may seem some problems." The general public seems to taking this as assurance that there's nothing to worry about. What do YOU see as the impact of massive computer failures worldwide? I ask because I'm working on promoting awareness of the seriousness of the problem to the Don't Get It's out there and this line of thought--It won't happen HERE--is the latest misconception I find myself having to counter. Your perspective will be a big help to me in framing my responses to those who tell me "All is well, sweetie; don't you worry your little head." Thanks.

-- Faith Weaver (, November 02, 1998


What do I see as the impact of massive computer failures worldwide? Simple: another Great Depression. I often tell people I know that I don't see lengthy problems with electricity or phone service in the U.S., but that millions of people here will lose their jobs.

Jobs will be lost here because businesses like GM can't build a car if they can only get 90% of the parts needed for each car. It's going to be like ten UPS stikes going on all at the same time. We also import a lot of parts and materials from other countries.

Plus, more than at any other time in history, imports and exports are vital to a healthy economy. International trade IS going to collapse because of Y2K.

And I haven't even said anything yet here about other countries and their N U K E S...

-- Kevin (, November 02, 1998.

Faith...I feel surrounded by DGIs, ie: wife (a nurse of 18 years), her immediate family, and many friends. I have managed to convey the seriousness of y2k to others, however, and I am grateful for that. The world situation is as serious as that facing the USA, if not more so, because of the vast infrastructure of computers worldwide. Ours is a nation of trade imbalance...we import more than we export and most, if not all, orders, trades, and payment is done by computer. If the world's computers can't communicate, then we most certainly can count on: Food shortages, no imported manufacturing parts, no imported clothing, and the thousands of other imported items that we have come to expect as a part and a =right= as a citizen of the USA. Throw in the current Global financial turmoil, stir the mix with a dash of y2k uncertainty, and simmer for 424 days. Eat wisely of this and survive, ignore the bounty and suffer. I view the USA's current position as a very pecariously balanced 'House of Cards' with a string of 'Dominoes' running from the foundation to the rest of the world. Does the 'House of Cards' collapse begin the 'domino effect', or..?? Then.....there is the =small= issue of military power....will y2k shift the balance? Russia has stated that they will =not= address y2k until the year 2000 and only then =if= problems arise. Are their weapons of mass destruction y2k failsafe or failprone? What about ours? All I can add is, GodSpeed, America, we're going to need all His help. We are in for a rough ride in about 424 days......JMHO....

\/\/illis in OKC, OK 11/02/98

-- Willis Thomason (, November 02, 1998.

>Simple: another Great Depression.<

and for years I've been wondering, when will we have the Red Guard equivalent of Moa's Cultural Revolution. Must be very close. Full time uniformed "resourse officers" guarding schools here in this little boondock village!

Expect anarchy, civil war ....

The ERA OF FINGER-POINTING has begun. "We'll be ready, but we don't know about our supliers, vendors, other countries."

Hey, mon, US has by far the greatest number of PC, embeds, networks, etc. Combine that with the greatest %'s of drug users, legal and illegal, lowest test scores, anomie, stress levels pumped up by malnourishment, world's greatest surplus of body fat, disenfranchisement of the middle class, etc. and you have all the right ingredients for a potent witch's brew. Kaboom.

-- Creature (, November 02, 1998.

Creature points out something often overlooked: its not just how "far along" a country is with Y2K fixing, its also very much a function of how dependent a country is on computer technology, as well as "intangibles" like their culture (e.g., is road rage common?). Don't let anyone fool you -- It Can Happen Here, in the good ol' U.S. of A. -- and Will Happen, because 1) dependence on other countries that will not be ready for Y2K; 2) Y2K fixes will not be completed on time in the U.S.A.; 3) dependence on computer based technology that will break down with Y2K; 4) a culture that will not be able to handle what Y2K will bring.

-- Jack (, November 02, 1998.

I might be imaging this, but it seems to me that another trend becoming prevelant is stating that not only are we just dandy but we started our Y2K projects in 1996 or 1995 or whatever......


-- CP (, November 02, 1998.


I suggest the following:

1) Take an inventory of products in your house, driveway and office that are manufactured overseas-particularly Japan. Keep in mind that even products with a U.S. brand name are manufactured overseas.

- Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba, JVC, NEC, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Aiwa, Canon, Epson, Casio, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sanyo, Sharp, TDK, Teac, Clarion, Alpine, Sega, Fuji, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Seiko, Citizen, Toyo Tire, Bridgestone, Yokohama Tire, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Isuzu, Suzuki...just to name a few consumer brands. Even if you own an American car, the electronic engine and emission controls, stereo and assorted other parts were manufactured outside the U.S. and most likely by a Japanese company.

The list of companies providing industrial products, construction machinery and tools and medical equipment is VERY long.

America doesn't build much anymore.

At least not since discovering the "service" industry. Everyones too busy writing books on how to set-up a 7 x 7 matrix to network market seminars on how to set- up your own 7 x 7 matrix to sell distributorships for a new ground-floor launch using the "secrets" learned from the previous 4 x 5 matrix technique that made everyone millions by bartering phone-card downline "opportunity seekers" mailing lists for health and nutrition regional directorships that can be converted to 4 x 4 matrices...(don't get mad - it's a joke)

2) Next, consider that for every Japanese employee of these companies, there is at least one non-Japanese employee - American subsidiary assembly factories, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, service and installation companies.

How many Japanese people work at your local Honda dealership? Where do the employees spend their money? How many other local businesses sell goods and services to the dealership?

3) After counting all the products, you may want to consider the dollar value of all of these products as a percent of your possessions. I suggest this percent is a measure of the impact of Japan on your life.

From Japan, PNG

-- PNG (, November 02, 1998.

Excellent post by PNG. One way I've evaluated Y2K is to think about the following totally unrealistic/optimistic scenario. Consider EVERY computer function in this country as being TOTALLY Y2K compliant. Now imagine the rest of the world at 30% compliance at best. Whats the result? Global economic chaos seems like the only answer. Our stock markets tank (DOW 1500) with millions unemployed as half of our economy is decimated because of foreign dependence. And this seems like the BEST scenario I can imagine out of this mess.

-- R. D..Herring (, November 02, 1998.

PNG, how could you? What is the only 100% American made car???

Honda Acord, Marysville OH and other US Suppliers!!

On the other hand, consider the problems with a Y2K compliant bank and then the international funds transfer isn't. BOOM! CR

-- c d n g (not@2.nite), November 03, 1998.

c d n g: Sorry, I don't understand the part about Honda Accord, Marysville OH? and other US suppliers??

-- PNG (, November 03, 1998.

My own take on the situation is that we will have 3 'shocks' from Y2K. The first of these will take place when the general population decides that maybe they had better lay in a couple of weeks supply of food, and maybe a generator wouldn't be a bad thing either. This, of course, can lead to panic buying sometime in 1999. It will also result in some weird situations and a breakdown in the operation of markets.

[Note that in the latest Northeast power outages an enterprising gentleman was arrested because he bought generators someplace outside the effected area, transported them into the blacked out area and sold the $500 generator for $800.] Who will be the first to be arrested for 'Y2K bean gouging' -- selling beans for more than a 10% (or other government edicted) markup? Sign up now to serve your community by reporting black markets in solar panels.

Second, we will have the effect of Y2K on our internal systems......infrastructure, business. This is what most people decide to prepare for, a week or two -- maybe even a month or two -- of confusions until 'they' get it fixed.

But third, I think we will have a double hit shortly after January 1, 2000, caused by:

a. the failure of businesses and b. the problems associated with unprepared international or foreign suppliers.

Coming on top of the first two, I expect this final double tap to be brutal.

Let's look at the following general product categories:

1. Oil -- we are highly dependent on foreign oil. While we 'muddled through' the 73-74 oil crisis, this has the capacity to be far worse. Rationing? Higher prices for shipping, which translates into higher consumer prices? Much higher prices for home heating oil (and expect natural gas to rise due to increased demand for it)? Higher prices for plastics?

2. Water -- as was discussed in threads a couple of times, the Middle East oil exporting nations are dependent on a highly computerized (non-compliant) water distillation system. Thirsty men don't worry about pumping oil.....survival comes first. This can be expected to further reduce oil production capacity in the Middle East. [Note to self: may want to check out the stock of Venezulean oil producer YPF.]

3. Manufactured goods that are central to any residual assembly capability we may have. For instance, Brazil now makes most of our ball bearings, used in everything from kitchen mixers to generator sets to cars to heavy machinery. This is just one example. Shortages. Price increases. Failure to be able to maintain what we have because of lack of spare parts. Can you say Russia?

4. Clothing. Nike, other Asian factories. Demise of the American clothing mills assured that we became an importing nation. Think of all of the "made in China" clothing labels now seen in our stores, the "made in Japan electronics," "made in Thailand (or Malaysia, or Cambodia, or Korea) labels on shoes, and cars, as have already been mentioned. Think of the computerized processes used for fund transfers, ordering, shipping, navigation and dock handling. [Nude and bearfoot in winter in the Northeast is not fun.]

I believe that if there were no -- absolutely none -- computer failures in the United States or Canada we would still see major impacts from the effects of Y2K in foreign countries. If we didn't have problems here I see shortages and higher prices, lasting several years. Our internal problems possibly add a new dimension -- disinflation of our earning capability in the face of price inflation.

These, of course, are effects that aren't generally considered when we talk about preparation. They are effects that I see making 'stockpiling for a week or two' a futile effort, because I see a lot of long term problems........higher prices and shortages for more than a addition to chaos that I expect to see occur because of immediate local effects around January 1, 2000

Hey, but "All is well, sweetie; don't you worry your little head."


-- rocky (, November 03, 1998.

Maybe were just thinking too small if we only want to help ourselves, our community, our state or the U.S. nation (and friends) survive Y2K. Maybe we need to come up with ways to mobilize a planet.

Y2K Contingency Planning for Planet Earth ideas anyone? With extra focus on the industrialized nations while special forces do what they do best and ID the nuts everywhere? (Do you get the feeling some Native Americans and other people in indigenous cultures may be laughing at us? The comfort is, they are in this one too. Might have some good survival ideas too).

Whew, looks like a top-down, bottom-up, inside and out re-examination of the way we do business in all aspects of our lives, including the choices we all make. Glad Im not alone in this one.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 03, 1998.

Sure GM can build a car if they only have 90% of the parts. It's called a Ford.

-- Craig (, November 03, 1998.

You're right, they leave out that extra 10% that keeps breaking on a Chevy.

-- Uncle Deedah (, November 03, 1998.

One of (if not the absolute highest) rates of despair and personal misery (nmeasured any you like to take it: alcohol abuse/drug abuse/not working/etc.) is on the reservations/associated towns near reservations.

Those are very hot tinderboxes if federal monies and debit cards/automatic deposits are missed or not made correctly. Then you must assume the local stores (remote from other shippers though) are kept supplied.

I do not envy the Native Americans, never have as I'm part TN Cherokee, but the ideal Hollywood Indian (early villian in the Western, ridiculed aborginie, or now, the infinitely patient wonderfully natural saint) never existed. In any form.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 03, 1998.


I don't envy them either, or us. I should have been clearer about refering to the keepers of the "old" ways and knowledge.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 04, 1998.

Assume we in USA are 100% compliant and rest of world is 30% compliant. Anyone who thinks this will not impact our way of life is whistling "Dixie". We now live off 65% of the world's resources and I don't think the rest of world will give us another 20 or 30%, without a fight, because we are compliant. We are going to have big trouble, both social and economical.

-- HAK (, November 04, 1998.

Diane, have you been reading H P Lovecraft or Lord Dunsanay or something? He was always on about the "old" keepers, stuff like that.

-- Richard Dale (, November 05, 1998.

No Richard, I always depend on you to tell me what I should think.

-- Diane J. Squire (, November 05, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ