The voice of reason?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Ziff-Davis has published on the web a recycled version of one of Ed Yardeni's essays on ZDNet:
The same essay appears on Ziff-Davis' Y2K site zdy2k.com
Maybe the voice of reason will finally hit the mainstream press?
-- Buddy (DC) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 1998
Yardeni on ZDNet
same essay, different site
-- Buddy (DC) (email@example.com), November 17, 1998.
You done hit on a good one here bud. I only wish that more people who were Y2K "hard-core" could/would share the views Dr. Yardeni puts forth here. Recession might be tough, but it ain't the end of civilization as we know it. Seems like we had a pretty tough recession in the early 70's, but that didn't result in mass starvation, or marauding urban bands terrorizing the countryside. Heck, the 30's Depression didn't even call forth such events, to any great degree.
But it seems that not many who are 'Y2K hardcore' want to stop anywhere short of catastrophe. That's too bad, for (at least) two reasons.
(1) The catastrophic view just doesn't hold water any more, in a probabilistic sense.
(2) The catastrophic view drives the general public away from taking Y2K seriously to any degree. Like it or not, that's a fact. Don't believe it? Just ask around with John Q. Public, you'll see.
I guess Y2K is similar to the argument between evolution and creation. People can look at the same set of facts and come away with completely different conclusions. Who's right? Time will tell.
-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 1998.
"(1) The catastrophic view just doesn't hold water any more, in a probabilistic sense."
Got any hard numbers? Or is it a feeling? Do you wear your seatbelt?
"(2) The catastrophic view drives the general public away from taking Y2K seriously to any degree. Like it or not, that's a fact. Don't believe it? Just ask around with John Q. Public, you'll see."
I should base how I feel on what John Q. Public thinks? Huh? Is this the same John Q. Public that I know? Ask him what to do?
I don't think so!
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
Whose voice? Whose reasons?
Try The House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, which issued the following report on October 8, 1998. Rep. Stephen Horn, Chairman of the Subcommittee; Republican, 38th District of California. Here's the Summary of the Report. Here's the report itself.
Without water and power, possibly without 911 services, possibly without fire protection, possibly without resupply of food, how long will any large metropolitan area in this country remain orderly ? 3 days? 4 days? 10 days?
I'm thinking of Miami-- New York-- Los Angeles-- Atlanta-- Chicago--- Dallas/Fort Worth-- Detroit-- St. Louis--
I haven't seen any promises yet from the power companies that this level of disruption is impossible. I have seen a good many well-informed estimates that it is possible. These estimates may be wrong. Is that the way to bet?
What should parents with children do?
-- Tom Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
I'm inclined to agree that the "hard" view is overdone.
There's worse experiences than the 1930s within living memory. This country (the UK) endured WWII during which half its workforce was conscripted, it was pretty much completely cut off from its normal overseas suppliers, and was having the heck bombed out of it. We survived. I think folks in the USA tend to go over the top, because they've been lucky enough not to suffer war being waged on their homeland in living memory.
Something similar to WWII (but minus the deaths by bombing) is my worst-case scenario.
There is, however, a caveat. Y2K is a different sort of problem to anything that has happened before, and so the uncertainty associated with it is far greater. There is absolutely no precedent! Even though I'm not preparing for the end of the world as we know it, I shan't deride those who do. It's just about conceivable that they're right.
-- Nigel Arnot (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
John - "Recession might be tough, but it ain't the end of civilization as we know it."
Same with a depression I wouold say.
"I guess Y2K is similar to the argument between evolution and creation. People can look at the same set of facts and come away with completely different conclusions. Who's right? Time will tell. "
Nigel - "I think folks in the USA tend to go over the top, because they've been lucky enough not to suffer war being waged on their homeland in living memory. "
I think there is a good reason why we have shows like X-Files, Millenium and so on. We as people have it WAY too good. Even when there were wars, the most we really had to endure was raioning. Oh boy...there's a toughie. I tend to look at countries such as yours, France and the rest of Europe and you have had far more to overcome than us. And while Japan is in financial problems right now, let us bare in mind that they came back from a horrendous amount of destruction during WWII. We nuked them...TWICE...and they still rose in a very short period of time to be a world technology power.
Mention a change of life here in America and we run around squawking that the sky is falling.
-- Rick Tansun (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
Thats odd we only have "Joe Public" over here.
-- Richard Dale (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
(1) The catastrophic view just doesn't hold water any more, in a probabilistic sense. - John
Please translate this, I can't wait.
-- Will Huett (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
This is not the thread I was looking for, but the New World Order is truly well on its way in Europe. The "social democratic" ie socialist parties who now dominate the Euro parliament will be co-operating to introduce similar policies pan-Europe, eg same levels of tax, government intervention, all from MPs who are even more removed from their constituents than the National Parliaments. We are really stitched up, there's nothing we can do about it, how do you influence the direction of European law making in Brussels. If anyone beefs about a law, you'll just be singled out as a minority, "its good enough for the rest of Europe so its good enough for you". Democracy will not exist in any way shape or form, policy will be decided by Euro committee.
-- Richard Dale (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
When I mentioned "the voice of reason" I was thinking of Yardeni more as someone with credibility who, if quoted in the mainstream press, may get the country to take Y2K more seriously. His essay does not espouse the doomsday view, but does give a warning that the U.S. as a country is not taking the problem seriously enough.
John Koskinen's recent quote, "It's the people who say you don't have to worry about it that you have to worry about," also might help to get people to take it more seriously.
I do not subscribe to the view that the collapse of civilization is at hand, but I do admit it is within the realm of possibility if this problem is not taken seriously. I wouldn't care if Gary North, Paul Milne, and "Infomagic" all appeared on Nightline if it would get the press and the public to examine this issue more closely. I think the only way that the country is going to wake up to Y2K is if an open dialog about the problem occurs in the popular press and media.
-- Buddy (DC) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
Unfortunately, Y2K does not neatly encapsulate itself where we would like it to be. Anyone who says, "Its just going to be an economic problem, with a possibly severe depression" may indeed fully appreciate the Y2K problem at one level, but be in denial that the problem could affect other areas. Like electricity, like clean water, like food supply, like telecommunications. If Y2K affects any or all of these areas, you'd better believe that it could be the end of the world as we know it.
-- Jack (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
Exactly Jack. Buddy and those like him misses the point also that the '70's recession and the Great Depression, even WWII didn't have the interconnection dependancy on a global scale that we do now.
Yardeni CAN'T be a "doomsayer" if he wants to be heard at all. And other well known experts like him. They have to water down their real feelings in what they say/how they say, and defend thier images so as not being viewed as "wackos" by ignorant Joe Q. Public. That's the sad fact of psychology at work which feeds into the problem, vicious circle.
-- Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
I don't miss the point at all, and I don't think Yardeni does either. As was stated about Yardeni in the Boston Globe article (p. A19, 11/14/98) "In your heart of hearts you probably think it's more like 99 percent." [chance of a global recession due to Y2K]
At this point, I don't care to argue whether it is TEOTWAWKI or not. TEOTWAWKI has already happened numerous times. How many people had cell-phones 20 years ago? 20 years ago there was still an iron curtain.
The point is that if an open dialog takes place in the mainstream press and other media then the chances of mitigating a disaster are increased.
I am not saying that Yardeni is "the voice of reason" because he is not a doomsayer. He is the voice of reason because it is people like him that the country will take seriously.
-- Buddy (DC) (email@example.com), November 18, 1998.
Nigel and Richard - try reconciling G.I. Joe with Tommy Atkins if you want a real conundrum. For that matter, did you hear about the porn writer over here who named a character John Thomas. Her British born editor about choked to death over the line " 'gimme a cigarette baby', said John Thomas ".
I don't envy you guys the way the pan-European govt. seems to be forming up. It would be sort of like the US elected the governor who appointed everyone except the state legislators. Then we would elect the state legislators. Then they, and the governor would elect a representative to the Federal govt. - so the Feds would be at several removes from the people. Anyway, that is how it seems it would translate over here - but I don't think we would like the system much either. (And I may have that totally screwed up - feel free to correct me.)
The WWII analogy is a good one, and I have used it several times. I cannot imagine the damage to American society from Y2K problems even approaching the damage done to Britain or Germany during WWII. But we will see very soon.
-- Paul Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 1998.
"WE nuked them twice...."
I wish to point out that the destruction of both Dresden and Ploesti were greater than the destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The current image of total nuclear destruction of a country is hardly the true image of those two explosions. The efforts of the anti-nuke croud have been quite successful in re-arranging the world memory and perception.
Before you (not you Rick) folks say I'm all wet, my personal physician growing up was the #1 pediatrician and the #2 geneticist on the 1952-53 US gov't sponsored study of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He brought back photos of the destruction, as well as photos of the rest of teh country and stories of both. I have serious problems with the way the use and results of nukes is represented and remembered.
I also have problems with their being in the arsenals of the countries where they are, and fervently pray that they will never be used in anger. I just have a different (fact based) view of what has gone before.
Chuck, *ducking to take that one on his shields, *triggering the lasers, and putting the flame resistant suit on.
-- Chuck a Night Driver (email@example.com), November 19, 1998.
Paul and our mates from the UK -
Big difference in society (both UK and US) in WWII and 1999. Social cohesion (shared values) much lower. I suspect that this is one of the concerns we all feel to a greater or lesser extent: do we think our neighbors will step up, or fold, or worse? Only strong local community preparations will be able to "hold the line" in the event of disruptions to the infrastructure. I grew up in a small town in the Northwest. Everybody helped out when the storms and/or floods came along and we all got through. That's the only viable model for "muddling through" the problems caused by Y2K.
Dr. Yardeni and Sen. Bennett are getting the word out and for that, I am most grateful. Bennett was/is a PR professional and he knows how to communicate and persuade. If the message is big/frightening/complex, you break it down, start small, and keep at it, increasing the content and frequency as you go along. This gives people a chance to absorb/process the information and then listen for and hear clearly the next item without major upset. We would do well to follow this approach in our communications with our neighbors.
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 1998.
Michael Hyatt also has a very good editorial at his website (www.michaelhyatt.com look under editorial archive) entitled "So How Bad Is It Really Going to Be?
Have a good day!!
-- Donna in Texas (Dd0143@aol.com), November 19, 1998.