What is a scale from 1 to 10?

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Whats a reasonable scale to base an estimate of 1-10 for the impact of Y2K on? I have seen several reports of people predicting 7's or 8's and others who predict 10's.

I had seen the Easterbrook scale and was amazed that some predicted nuclear devastation. Now I have found the WDC scale which is much more optomistic and unrealistic, with a 10 only being a collapse of the government and famine.

I think the Easterbrook scale is much more accurate since the 10 on the WDC scale is much too likely and the possibilities of being worse than that are not covered.

What do you all think is a better scale for the Y2K impact, and what is your number on each?


The Eastabrook scale http://www.elmbronze.demon.co.uk/year2000/

0: No problem. Nothing will happen. (LaLa Land).

1: Minor problems, 3-5% of businesses perish. Minor recession. Government slows perceptibly.

2: Some problems, 5-8% of businesses gone, government creaks. Good-sized recession.

3: Significant problems, ca. 10% of businesses perish, government shudders. Large recession.

4: Heavy problems, ca. 15% of businesses down. Government partially ineffective. Large recession plus - think of 1982 + 1979 + 1974.

5: Severe problems, 15-20% of businesses down. Depression, 20% unemployed. Some parts of global economy very shaky.

6: Partial collapse of global economy. Big depression. National gov ineffective, local ones shaky but functioning.

7: Total collapse of global economy, major loss of infrastructure.

8: Reorganization at regional level, some pre-industrial reversion.

9: Limited civil and international warfare, widespread loss of life.

10: Opportunistic military conquest leading to nuclear winter.

WDCY2K Washington DC Y2K Users Group Scale http://wdcy2k.org/survey/

0: No real impact

1: Local impact for some enterprises

2: Significant impact for many enterprises

3: Significant market adjustment (20%+ drop); some bankruptcies

4: Economic slowdown; rise in unemployment; isolated social incidents

5: Mild recession; isolated supply/infrastructure problems; runs on banks

6: Strong recession; local social disruptions; many bankruptcies

7: Political crises; regional supply/infrastructure problems and social disruptions

8: Depression; infrastructure crippled; markets collapse; local martial law

9: Supply/infrastructure collapse; widespread social disruptions and martial law

10: Collapse of U.S. government; possible famine


-- Brad Waddell (lists@flexquarters.com), January 03, 1999


We really need a search engine! Brad, good topic, has been discussed on this Forum on at least two other threads. Somebody will know and post the URLs here. There must be new scales too ...

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 03, 1999.

Try: http://www.russkelly.com/experts.html Was looking in on it last night and there's a recent update (December).

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), January 03, 1999.

Excellent post Brad, excellent question.

Agree with you that the Easterbrook scale seems more realistic.

At present I expect from a 4.5 to a 6 on that scale. (Who man knows exactly? We'll know more, and fine-tune, as that daggone date approaches)

Problems at first will not be so severe in the U.S., but problems [catastrophes] overseas will roll back on us (as Sen. Bennett has predicted).

-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (pcdir@prodigy.net), January 03, 1999.

a (a@a.a) -- Which scale does your chart use? If it averages a 7.5, is that between: "7: Total collapse of global economy, major loss of infrastructure. and 8: Reorganization at regional level, some pre-industrial reversion."

OR between "7: Political crises; regional supply/infrastructure problems and social disruptions and 8: Depression; infrastructure crippled; markets collapse; local martial law" ?

Either way, I think we can safely say that we're NOT safe...

-- Sara Nealy (saran@ptd.net), January 03, 1999.

Its the listings at


Ranking of problem ranges from 0 for absolutely no concern, to 10 for a belief that the problem is so serious that major worldwide social, economic, and technological disruptions will occur.

Pretty subjective, but hey, these guys can't afford to be labeled "panic-starters".

-- a (a@a.a), January 03, 1999.

A, Those "expert" numbers cannot be averaged. The keeper of the poll himself, Russ Kelly, just wrote back to my e-mail that no definition of the numbers 1-10 was given - so each has his own definition of a 10 scenario, therefore the numbers *cannot* be averaged to come up with any useful number if the scale of the problem they are commenting on is not known. It's almost like they are all handicapping completely different contests.


-- Brad Waddell (lists@flexquarters.com), January 03, 1999.

Regarding the Russ Kelly scale: The value of this scale to me is that of seeing the delta's of where these same experts were before and compare it to where they are now - since they are using their own indicators/barometers, this has validity where as averaging may not for the reason just posted.

For example, as of the summer of 1998, Ed Yardeni and Ed Yourdon were both at 8, and De Jager was at 6, and Gary was at 10. Of these folks (the only ones I remember) it looks like only Ed Yourdon has changed, going up from 8 to 9.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), January 03, 1999.

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