Panic: Inevitability and Timing : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We have discussed this subject before. I bring it up again to get your latest thoughts, and also the thoughts of some posters who have joined the forum recently.

Reports of Y2K successes and optimistic remarks by leaders, when based on reality and facts, are certainly good news. That said, look at some of the headlines this weekend regarding the Travel Industry's successful testing, or the reported remarks from the Senate Food Industry Hearing to see how leaders and the media are dealing with Y2K events. IMHO, they play up the positive whenever possible. After all, nobody wants a panic on their hands and nobody is ready for one - yet. Do the 'powers that be' think that by waiting they will be able to better control a panic, or that it can be contained, or perhaps they believe a panic is not inevitable?

Some of us feel that one downside to preventing people from becoming alarmed immediately is that they will fail to take meaningful actions for preparation now, while they still can. Others say the later most people get it, the better, since it gives them personally more time to prepare if others aren't competing for the same supplies.

I think that the powers that be have been, and continue to be, "between a rock and a hard place". No great choices. If they get folks alarmed enough right now to make serious preparations they risk creating a panic now, especially in certain sectors such as the banks. OTOH, if they continue the "let's keep a lid on this Y2K stuff" (or positive spin), then many remain Y2K asleep. When people finally do get it later I think that they are still going to panic - only there will be less time to prepare, which argues for worse panic, and also people may be more angry at the powers that be for the obvious reasons.

If you accept the assumption that Some level of panic is inevitable, then why not get it over with now - it is hard for me to imagine people in a continual state of panic for the next 10 months. This will give more people more time to get more prepared. If you do not accept this assumption then say why.

So the two-part question is do you think panic is inevitable, and what about sooner rather than later.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 06, 1999


So the two-part question is do you think panic is inevitable, and what about sooner rather than later.

I would say it is inevitable and, barring anything terribly dramatic,it will be later. Your question presumes that, if the government came out and said there would be "problems" and advised preparation, that panic would ensue. I think that is very unlikely. Canadians are very similiar to Americans and share (mostly) the same cultural values. The Canadian government has publicly announced the military callup and operation for Rollover - no panic. I think if the President went on television and announced martial law beginning December 29th right now that the vast majority of our populace would do NOTHING. The members of the Y2K community are a small, select group. The mistake that has been made by North and Milne in various predictions is in believeing that awareness in the masses is inevitable. Its not. We will get to Rollover with the majority asleep at the wheel. The shortages we see are occuring because the preparedness industry is very small to start with. It only takes a tiny increase in people prearing to stress supplies like Petromax laterns and freeze dried food. The only chance for panic prior to Rollover is a major catastrophic failure prior

to the day. July 1 when many states rollover the fiscal calendar could prompt a response if major welfare systems go down. GPS rollover could cause problems but I think the results are too remote from the populace. (So what if a few oiltankers get lost or collide!)

Panic is most likely the first week of 2000 for obvious reasons.

-- RD. ->H (, February 06, 1999.

sorry, bold off

-- RD. ->H (, February 06, 1999.

Based on information available to date: yes, later, for reasons expressed throughout this forum.

-- Old Git (, February 06, 1999.

Yes I believe people will be highly angry when the first big waves of y2k failures occur this spring that will scare them. Most of our nations people are Hard-working honest wage earners types for a living type of people who expect the Government to tell them honestly when we are facing a crisis. I Have studied this problem in detail for over a year,thousands of hours and thousands of documents. I am from a defense R&D backround in electronics before I was downsized out for health exposure reasons. When I was alerted to the y2k problem I remeber what a B!+@H it was when our custom embedded chips were to trouble shoot when their microcode failed. I T/S to Comp level. I Think our world leaders should take a clue from Churchill and Rosevelt from WWII and also from the movie Deep Impact. These are examples of No excuses type leadership. That's what we need at this late date. Stop the media smear campaign against those who are doing their best to prepare their families and comunities. You the government will find it hard to get people to cooperate if they realized they been intentional misled about the gravity of the y2k situation. We need responsible leadership that will tell my 84 year old dad and 90 year old step mom they need to prepare at least at some level. They lived thru the depression they finaly G.I We need a goverment that needs to remember that they are suppose to put our nations safety First or else our republic may fail. A Bad patch road is upahead and it would be wise move now to Show responsible leadership and do the right things, Without red tape or delay. Make sure our comunities have extra food,medicines.water wells. Promote y2k victory gardens make it a partnership with the community. If we all work together we can lessen the severity. But you got to care, the stakes are to high not to do this. Y2k aware mike

-- y2k aware group (readiness @conservation. com), February 06, 1999.

I think that panic is inevitable if the government keeps lying, but it really isn't necessary if everyone takes the next 10 months to prepare.

Some people want to blame those of us who stock up on food for being the cause of the problem and that is ludicrous. If the machines are going to fail, they will fail.

The government is now telling people that they do not need to stock up because if there are any supply problems, they have plans to distribute food to everyone, although they haven't informed us in detail of exactly how they plan to do this (FEMA and/or National Guard?).

If everyone starts storing what they need now there may be some very temporary shortages, but we still have over 10 months to restock the supply, to make sure that everyone gets enough, while everything is still working.

If they expect us to wait and see, only to find out after the supply chain fails, that we now have to stand in line and wait for food from the government, THAT will cause PANIC!!!

If that isn't STUPID, I don't know what is!

-- (@@@.@), February 06, 1999.

RD: Yes, we have known about Operation ABACUS, the upcoming COMEX/MOBEX National Guard Op in early May, etc, and you have a point. No panic, and barring a huge failure, there may be none until it's rollover time. If I understand you correctly, then your opinion is also that no amount of awareness campaigning will wake up enough folks to 'force' a panic now- only a very serious actual failure could do this. I'm not sure. I think it would be possible, but perhaps I am giving people too much credit (rare indeed for me). I say this because if through awareness peoples own self-interest was perceived to be at stake, I think that they would take action - collectively, resulting in panic.

It seems to me that if there was to be a hit-home, deliberate, and effective awareness campaign, especially before any date of potential calamity as you cited, that this would 'force' a panic of less severity and duration. Basically, what I am thinking of here is the differences between what I will call proactive and reactive mass reaction. If I were a leader given a choice between now or later, based on my current thinking I would chose to force one now. Obviously I am not a politician, and it seems to me that politics may be playing a very large role in what is going on - or should I say what is not going on..

Gang: If you accept the premise that it is inevitable, do you think it would be better if it happened sooner rather than later, or do you think it does not matter?

-- Rob Michaels (, February 06, 1999.

We all are raking the Feds (whom I despise) 'cross the coals for not promoting y2k awareness and preparation. But what form would that take ? FEMA already advocates long-term food storage in their official documentation (I've posted elsewhere). Red Cross, medium term.

Now should the government pick a number on the scale 1 - 10 ? How would they do that ? Are they omniscient, to know what can't be known ? So, we agree that their choice of number would be arbitrary. Thus leaving many of us on this board unsatisfied, regardless of what number chosen. In any case, you can't make a preparation warning without a number.

Now, suppose they choose "10" ? Good as any other number, right ? Well, then what should they say ? Everybody get an AR-15, 5000 rounds of 223, and a cabin in the woods! No, don't be sarcastic, let's be responsible and reasonable here, they should pick "5". Then what should they say ? Everybody, there's going to be a global depression, so take all your money out of the bank today! There is no number that can be picked that would satisfy everybody on this board. And in the absence of a number, which is a projection, no warning can be made, beyond the existing FEMA and Red Cross warnings.

I'm the first to despise the idiotic 'needless and frivolous' statement. But we've got to be fair here.

By the way, I saw Gary North (posting this morning) picked up the Marie Antoinette comparison I made to Glickman's statement (I posted yesterday). Great minds think alike, or is he secretly reading this board ?


-- Runway Cat (, February 06, 1999.


Your question brought out all the angles to this complicated question. Good post! Here are some of my opinions on the subject.

Is panic inevitable? Probably. The reason I say that is because computer code *is* broken, as Peter de Jager would say (or would have said!). Whatever happens later in 1999 or early 2000 as far as public reaction goes, depends on decisions made or not made in 1996 and 1997 to start Y2K work. Whatever is going to happen is probably a fait accompli.

Of all the sectors of the economy, the banking and financial sectors are the furthest along in remediation. Unfortunately, public utilities like water treatment and purification are the furthest *behind* in remediation of all the sectors of the economy.

Is the government between a rock and a hard place on how to deal with these issues? Absolutely. For one thing, when people who are on the edge of becoming Y2K "get its" start to think about preparation, the first thing they think about is their money in the bank.

In my opinion, the banking issue is what scares the government the most. Often the people who plan to set aside some extra water and kerosene are also people who want to set aside some extra cash. So, to prevent banking problems, the government would also have to convince the general public that public utilities are in good shape.

The only way I can see panic being avoided is if the government could somehow make sure that no one else makes personal preparations for Y2K besides those that already have. That would be extremely difficult to do, in my opinion. It could also endanger the lives of some people, such as those dependent on prescription medications.

Another angle here is that our government might be successful in convincing the public there is no need to prepare, and then find that panic starts in the financial world when companies decide (this summer?) who will and who will not be a Y2K-compliant vendor.

The later panic would start, the more intense it will be. I bought a book recently at Barnes & Noble called "How To Survive On Land And Sea." Here's a quote from Chapter 15, "When Disaster Strikes"...

"Disaster, strangely enough, seems often to bring out the best in human nature. Mass panic in the face of impending disaster is in fact extremely rare. Most people evacuate calmly and in an orderly manner with their families. As long as there is enough warning and escape routes remain open, people will react reasonably."

What I'm wondering about now is who would be blamed for Y2K panic if and when it happens. Could they be held legally responsible in some way? Would Gary North get the blame? People like us who call Y2K forums on the Internet?

Or would blame go to someone like John Koskinen... =all

...or someone like Senator Bob Bennett because of the $100 million information campaign "to calm unreasonable fears"...,local/30dabafa.205,.html

...for not giving the public enough early warning so that they could have prepared calmly, as opposed to preparing in panic at the end of 1999?

-- Kevin (, February 06, 1999.

It seems that the advantage to be had in having it sooner is that more people can prepare if given the facts. This would assume that they would still have jobs, a fair economy, all the farming and businesses still producing and delivering the products to buy to prepare for the rest of the year.

It seems that releasing the facts about y2k may not actually cause a panic and people would leave their money and stocks alone as the person in Canada believes. However, if the people react differently here, and they do try to remove their cash and sell stocks as the y2k community is now doing, the panic would have to be contained by the government and the economy would surely be impacted negatively. Confidence alone is what holds it up. Even if they nationalized power and continued to function on many levels, I think it would become immediately impossible to prepare and defeat the purpose of warning people.

Personally, I think the government and business owe it to people to tell them the truth and that is the right thing to do. But I seriously doubt that this government will do that. All signs point to a strategy of cover up and avoid panic. So it is really only speculation.

I also realize that many people, my family included, will still not be getting it on Jan. 2. They will expect that someone will eventually fix things and will be shocked when they don't. So I would be inclined to agree that most people just wont believe it. IMHO I think that panic will come when a large failure happens, or the nukes are shut down in July or some other large and disasterous thing happens.

I have been wondering, since many state govt.s are behind and fed. govt wont finish, wont they be unable to write checks when they reach the beginning of their fiscal years in Oct. and July, I believe? Even if we get through April. I think inability to send welfare checks or social security checks will bring on chaos. Just agreeing with the views often stated on this forum already, but these things are all part of the panic question.


-- Lora Ereshan (, February 06, 1999.

Unless we have some kind of major computer system failure this year that will alarm the public, there's no reason to think the American people, fat, complacent and well-entertained by television, will have any but the vaguest interest in Y2K until January, 2000. I used to think there would be panic this year but now I doubt it. There'll be plenty of panic next year though but by then it'll be too late.

-- cody varian (, February 06, 1999.


I don't think that fiscal year roll-overs will have the impact that many of us do. To quote PNG...

"Fiscal years have little to do with company or country operations. Producing products, providing services and distributing them are the elements that create commerce. Looking ahead in projections and deciding where and when you are going to post the results is keeping score...not producing, providing or distributing."

In other words, New York State and Canada could have trouble keeping track of its budget in April, but that wouldn't affect computers that calculate and send out benefits checks. Different systems are involved.

More likely to be noticed by the public would be things like non- compliant nuclear power plants being shut down in July to give them time to cool down (it takes months), or maybe the GPS roll-over in August, or maybe embedded systems in December that look ahead a day, week or month.

April fiscal-year problems, in my opinion, will not be noticed by the public. The same goes for July fiscal-year roll-over problems.

-- Kevin (, February 07, 1999.

RC: I saw your post about the Marie Antoinette comparison but not Gary's pickup - LOL, and yes he does read this board (at least he used to) - I remember him posting once too, way back last year some time to defend himself on some issue - don't remember the specifics. One other thing, did you ever see my messages to you regarding the Forecasting Mass Psychology thread?

With respect to your answer on this threads subject, you are probably right - but I am not willing to be fair - people's lives are at stake - leaders don't have to pick any number, they have to lead, but I agree that the 'how to' part raises lots of questions and challenges with regard to warning people - but nothing as serious as Inaction and the subsequent results. Yes FEMA and Red Cross are out there, but J Q public probably doesn't even know what the hell FEMA stands for - but they do read papers, listen to radio, watch T.V. And that's where the difference can proactively come from. Most people won't listen anyway until they get that it will affect them personally. This is where prudent preparation can be preached. My point is that even a 1 is greater than 0.

Kevin: You wrote "The later panic would start, the more intense it will be." This is also my feeling, and why I am trying to understand how it is that if this is a valid assumption, why isn't a panic 'forced' on us Sooner rather than later. Some of it may be politics, some of it may be that they want to buy time. Maybe RC is right, there isn't any answer to the "How would they do that" in the context of a warning that would deliberately precipitate a panic. Panic is inherently unpredictable

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.

I read the Mass Psychology thread Rob, it was cool, but my brain wasn't firing that night...

My basic point about the gov taking action re y2k is that I don't see how anybody can talk about proactive y2k preparations without first doing what we've all done here: pick a number. The sine qua non of y2k getting it. Absent that, they have no place to begin thinking or talking from.


-- Runway Cat (, February 07, 1999.

Listen CAT, here's what can be done by Billy K on TV, absent picking any number:

My fellow Americans, I come before you tonight with a heavy heart. I have been advised since 1995 concering the date abbreviations in the world's computer software, that will cause data corruption and system malfunctions early next year. This is a serious problem, but only one of many we face. I therefore advise every household to stockpile one year's worth of food per person. Futher every household should have barrels and buckets for catchment water and water storage. Get some Aladdin lamps for light. Keep some gasoline in case you'll need to drive in an emergency situation early next year. Have a first aid kit. Buy a 12 gauge and learn to shoot fast, accurate, and only shoot those who need to be shot. If y2k doesn't hammer us flat, you'll still feel better for not being such teletubbies. If y2k hammers us completely flat though, nothing you do now will make much difference, because the country will descend into anarchy and most of you will die. My fellow Americans, this is still a free country. The choice to prepare for something unknown like this is up to you. I've said all that can be responsibly said. Good night.

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), February 07, 1999.


How long ago did your spacecraft crashland here on Earth?

Klatu bardada nicto?

-- Uncle Deedah (, February 07, 1999.

Blue, good read, what are your chances of being hired as the speech writer ;^?

-- Leska (, February 07, 1999.


Since FY roll-overs might not produce visible problems, I think I know another good Y2K barometer to measure "death by a thousand cuts."

It's the vendor delivery time component of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators. When the economy slows down later this year, as it probably will, vendor delivery times in theory should shrink as competition for distribution resources decreases.

On the other hand, if vendor delivery times *lengthen* even as the economy slows, it would show that Y2K problems are subtly impacting the supply chain.

What do you think?

-- Kevin (, February 07, 1999.

The only panic that matters, this side of 2000, is bank panic and bank panic cannot be "allowed". Of the three iron triangle components -- telecom, power, finance -- only finance is currently at risk, and it appears that this risk is quite high. In terms of systems design, this should tell us something about the robustness of our monetary system, but that is a topic for another thread and another day.

I think setting food and fuel aside would not be a problem, in fact, it would likely be encouraged, if it were not for the banking issue. For, as others have indicated, the former cannot be encouraged without substantial spill-over into the latter. Y2k is touching on an Achilles heel long thought safely tucked away in a nice green paper bootie.

And this is not only an issue of adequate currency being available for distribution. I believe the return of this much capital into hands of its owners will deplete the individual banks' required reserve ratios well before the bits of paper run out. This will cause loan call-ins, bank closures, and FDIC bailouts. Note how these effects are never mentioned, only that "we're printing an extra $50 bil". Repeat the reserves collapse a hundred times across the country and a severe contraction is the result, even before the rollover.

What the Gov SHOULD do is be straight with the People. Tell the People to gather some supplies if they want, even encourage it, but lay off the banks, and explain why they MUST lay off the banks. Unfortunately, this course of action will expose the downside of fractional reserve banking to a level of public scrutiny not seen since The Great Depression.

My expectation is that, in order to shield the financial sector (and only to shield the financial sector), all notions of Y2k preparedness will at first be tolerated, then downplayed, and then ridiculed. Should the banks approach the abyss at anytime before 2000, I expect Y2k preparedness will possibly be criminalized in some fashion, especially as it pertains to financial matters.

Or maybe not.

-- Nathan (, February 07, 1999.

Unit Deedah, if you just won't blow my cover, I'll share my earth-ops manual with you: (How to Serve Mankind

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), February 07, 1999.

RC: We pick numbers as individuals, and prepare accordingly. But if they did pick a number for everybody, what would it mean, since it is all relative. Lets me use an example: Y2K will be a 5. You and I can accept that as forming the basis of our preparations perhaps. People are told that a five is coming, and the associated level of preparations that would entail. We have an equal warning start point, but not equal results, in that some will only be able to prepare for a 2, while others could handle a 7 - so 5 becomes meaningless. I do not mean to suggest an equality of outcomes is in any way realistic. It isn't. But people prepare as individuals, families, and communities based on their means, to the maximum extent possible, and regardless of if we predict a 1 or 5 or 10 - their maximum is still their maximum. Does this make sense to you? Maybe I am just tired myself now - way past time to log out and catch some Z's.

p.s. Thanks for letting me know about the other thread, I thought you would find it up your alley!

Gang: What I am really interested in sorting out is this: If the powers that be know darn well that a forced panic now would be better (of shorter duration, less intensity, and would result in more prepared people, compared to the alternative), then why don't they do it? RC has offered some thoughts about this - what do you think?

offline, Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.

My take

They are afraid of looking like fools if Y2K fizzles.

-- Uncle Deedah (, February 07, 1999.

Here in Canada, there was a "doom and gloom" report in the Alberta Report regarding Y2K back in the spring/summer of last year. At the same time, CBC (One of the big three television stations in Canada) did a news segment on Y2K, where some major players were advising that everything might go to not-heaven. Since then, there have been numerous reports (such as Abacus for the armed forces) which should have clued (or panicked) J.Q. Public. There are none so blind as those who will not see!

-- Lois Knorr (, February 07, 1999.


The only way the Feds could "force" an early panic would be to engineer some dramatic public failure. I don't believe any anouncement or speech will work. On another thread, it was pointed out that emergency (panic) buying in hurricane prone areas is always the day before the storm hits even in the face of firm 72 - 96 hour warnings. The Feds could 'arrange' for a nuke plant to fail in a spectacular fashion - just a thought.

yours is a good point however. We are on a slippery slope between 5 and 10. Mass panic could well bring an unnecessary TEOTWAWKI.

-- RD. ->H (, February 07, 1999.

What if the government did make a public announcement that Y2K was going to be very bad and everyone needed to "prepare or face death"? Panic by those who would want to avoid dying is only one side of the equation.

What about the actions of those who would choose not to prepare but who instead want to have all the "fun" they could before their end? For some people I know, their idea is "If Y2K is real, I'll get drunk and stay drunk until I'm dead." Stupid but mostly harmless to the rest of society. I imagine that 'round the world cruises and trips to Vegas will see an spike in activity this fall as some people go for a "last fling".

But what about the worst side of humanity. How many rapist, robbers, physcopathic murderers, arsonists, etc would see OPEN SEASON on the rest of society? How many crimes of their choice would they try to commit if they were given six months warning that after 01/01/2000 society will be under martial law and there will be no tolerance for their actions by law enforcement and armed citizens? What about their "last fling"?

Some panic is inevitable, no matter how far in advance the public gets the news. But I really worry more about how sociopaths will react to the news and what damage they will inflict on the rest of society before they are put to an end.


-- Wildweasel (, February 07, 1999.

Kevin: Regarding your question about the vendor delivery barometer, I think that's way cool- it seems that it would be a very subtle barometer, but in the absence of FY or other more obvious ones, well worth watching. To some extent the validity of it as a barometer may be linked to the reasons for the slowdown itself, don't you think. Just a thought. Back to the subject at hand now.

WW: click-click. You are right to bring up the point about different people (like nutbags) reacting in different ways than others. Remember also that the locks in some prisons will default to open too. Reaction is a big part of this whole panic question, and by extention, a big part of Y2K. I have come to the conclusion that the more time folks have to get ready, prepare, and subsequently calm down, the better, because they will be reacting more rationally. Not all people, but most. If you have some time to think about a problem before it happens I would argue that you are more inclined to act rationally than if you suddenly found yourself just confronted with it, and under pressure to 'do something'.

In other words, you have time to make choices, not just react out of fear and panic. I am also a believer in human nature - the nutbags, like the poor, we will always have with us - But we are talking about giving a majority of people time to consider beforehand, so they can make a choice under better conditions, which should result in better choices being made. Yes, there will be those who go for the last fling, but I think this will be confined to those who have nothing to loose, since others will still have at least some concern, even vaguely, with consequences. We are entering a period of consequences whether people like it or not, it will be forced on us. With any sea-change comes the new tide, and the tides of fate are flowing. CHECK SIX!

Gang: I just popped in to check a couple of threads and will be offline until tonight, but I am still very interested in discussing the question about "why don't they do it now rather than later". Thanks Uncle for your take, I think you are right in that looking foolish is at least a part of the answer, as what RC posted also may be. Any others with thoughts on this? Catch up with y'all later, BFN Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.


nathan is the one with the light showing in the X ring on this one. From both .Gov and .consumer points of view, these things absolutely MUST not happen. However, as the leader of the bad guys says in "Die Hard" : "Involve the government and the very thing that can not happen, happens!"


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 07, 1999.


Yes, the panic is inevitable. The timing will be a surprise, possibly due to some nonY2K catastrophe, such as North Korea launching a nuclear missle on South Korea, or Japan's entire banking system collapsing. Oh yeah, there's a powder keg in the Middle East, too. IMO, the US government seems to be delaying any severe alerts to the mass populace because they want to evince the appearance of complete control. Are they so haughty to brag that America's financial systems are Y2K proof? Any bank runs during the mass panic will make them look weak and foolish. Government officials would be exposed as being stupid by not taking effective precautionary measures. Didn't the ancient Roman emperors use bread and circuses to placate their people? I don't trust the government.

-- dinosaur (, February 07, 1999.

What we have failed to pinpoint in our discussions about public panic is the VERY DIFFERENT KINDS OF PANIC. The kind of panic that the government wishes to avoid happening now is the kind that over stocks enough to cause (temporary) shortages and withdraws enough cash from the banking system to collapse it prematurely. The kind of panic they INEVITABLY CREATE for themselves LATER is the kind they hope they can supress and control with the force of bullets. What seems to escape their consideration is that WHEN HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE panic later (for to any sensible person, good reason) because they and their families face immanent death from lack of water, heat, food, medicine or any of a myriad of other life sustaining items and services upon which our people have come to depend, they will most reasonably seek to obtain whatever they need by FORCE. It is not wrong for them to do so because the will to live and to do whatever it takes to survive is supreme in the human will. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH POLICE AND SOLDIERS IN THE WORLD TO CONTAIN THE RIOTING AND UPHEAVAL WHEN THE PUBLIC IS DEPRIVED OF LIFE SUSTAINING SUPPORT. EVERY UNPREPARED CITIZEN WILL TAKE BY FORCE WHAT HE CANNOT OBTAIN LEGALLY TO SURVIVE. EVEN AGAINST AN ARMED GOVERNMENT THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE IF YOU DIE BY BULLETS OR STARVATION, SO THE VERY NUMBER OF UNPREPARED CITIZENS PRECLUDES THE PRESERVATION OF ORDER BY FORCE. FORCE WILL BE OVERWHELMED. PERIOD. THE RIOTING WILL BE AS WIDESPREAD AS THE SHORTAGES. It would behoove our government TO DELIBERATELY CREATE PANIC NOW SO THAT MORE CITIZENS WOULD BE PREPARED AND THUS FEWER WOULD RIOT LATER. The collapse of the monetary system is inevitable and will be replaced with a conversion to some other method of exchange (which I hope some one is now devising) and will be much less traumatic to governmental continuity if that is sole significant impediment to peace and order. It is utterly foolish to risk a catastrophic collapse of the entire American system in order to protect a monetary system we all knew was not sustainable.

-- Ann Fisher (, February 07, 1999.

The more I have thought about this 'why not now' the more unrealistic it now seems to me, even perhaps, idealistic. I am thinking about those posts that mentioned the banks, as I also did in the first part of this thread. That's it I think. There is no way to precipitate a deliberate pre-emptive Y2K related panic without affecting the already precarious banking situation. Preparation takes money - people live check to check or go to - you guessed it - the bank to get money for Y2K supplies. A 'forced' panic would not therefore be necessarily less severe - in fact it could be the pin to brick the worldwide debt bubble and then it's Game Over for the global economy, which is already on the ropes. So now I have changed my opinion on this one part of the question, based on the above - it's the economy, stupid: money and the banks.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.

I have 3 numbers - what I'm preparing for, what I think is reasonable to expect, and what I think is very plausible. These are very different numbers, with my level of preparation far below what I obsess about. I am pretty much through with my goal. What I know is that over the next 10-11 months, I will not be able to resist doing some more, even if at a far lesser pace. I will have more food than what I planned on, because a run to the wholesale club is so therapeutic. However, I expect also to have a lot more cash on hand for the same reason, since I have the time to liquidate my mutual funds and some other assets. So maybe there is less of a bank run if the panic is put off until the last minute.

My second point is that as long as the big guys are successful in their analogy of Y2K being a storm, there will be no panic because virtually noone prepares for a storm. I don't think J.Q.P. will be galvanized until he sees that his nest egg is directly at risk. I think the catalyst for a panic, if it occurs prior to rollover, will either be a crash in the stock market (not until early fall?) or a severe cash shortage (perhaps as soon as this spring??).

-- Brooks (, February 07, 1999.


"We all are raking the Feds (whom I despise) 'cross the coals for not promoting y2k awareness and preparation. But what form would that take ? FEMA already advocates long-term food storage in their official documentation"

If that's the case, then perhaps they should tell Glickman to shut up!

I am not saying that the government should tell us exactly how much to prepare for, I think most people can figure that out for themselves. However, it is very wrong for them to lie to us and tell us there won't be any problems when they don't even know for sure themselves!

-- (@@@.@), February 07, 1999.

Rob, in response to your post: "The more I have thought about..." I believe that removing money from the banks AND SPENDING THAT MONEY ON Y2K PREPAREDNESS POSES NO THREAT TO THE BANKING SYSTEM. The money remains in circulation and returns to the bank by another route. What the feds and the bankers FEAR, AND WHAT WOULD COLLAPSE THE SYSTEM IS TO SANDBAG THE CASH AND REMOVE IT FROM CIRCULATION. The banks can play games with the required reserve numbers to cover the lack of depository funds, but nobody can cover the obvious disappearance of the green paper with which we facilitate normal cash transactions if it is all under a hundred million mattresses. So, as I see it withdrawing and spending it is not the problem.

-- Ann Fisher (, February 07, 1999.

Okay Ann, so how do they prevent people from doing that? Figure they've got (now) ten months left - they can't "freeze" accounts that long.

(Pretend it were mid-December: a bank "holiday" still would not be possible commercially (though it could be possible physically), but even that would immediately kill the holiday shopping and immediately create the panic they fear.) So I see no way they could prevent withdrawals - even though they desperately want to do that.

From their (the fed government's) viewpoint, how do you freeze all bank account withdrawals without causing panic - then how do you "protect" banks from people withdrawing "some" safer amount of cash?

(Assume two weeks worth of grocery money for arguement's sake. How do they keep people from withdrawing that much?)

Know your customer? Have to prove dishonesty, wouldn't you? Too many people trying to pull cash for that to work. Disinformation? Again, too many people (30% maybe) who don't now believe the government.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 07, 1999.

Ann: There isn't enough physical cash for anything other than the 'normal' volume of activity. The extra $50 billion, in addition to the already printed $150 billion of reserves, is not enough but for a tiny percentage of folks to get back what they deposited - we are talking single digits here (4% - 6%). And remember that some folks will sell paper denominated assets like stocks, bonds, etc. to raise physical cash for Y2K supplies - turning digital dollars into a higher demand for actual green backs. So even if they are re-circulated, there won't be enough physical cash on hand. There are also those that plan to pull out "just a little" physical cash and hide it - this money won't be re-circulating anytime soon. And have you seen the latest poll on zdnet for the percentages of people who are already - without any further awareness or panic - planning to or already are taking cash out and holding it?

I just do not see any way that a Y2K related panic could be orchestrated and implemented without the banks going down. Do you? Maybe I am missing something.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.

Robert said: Figure they've got (now) ten months left - they can't "freeze" accounts that long.

Robert, somehow they've got to move to an all electronic payment economy , before 2000-1-1. Despite the problems for small business and public confidence this will entail, there appears to be no other choice left.


-- Runway Cat (, February 07, 1999.

off I guess...

-- Runway Cat (, February 07, 1999.

RC: They have been moving in the direction of a 'cashless society' for a while now, haven't they? It is hard to imagine a cash run on the banks if there isn't any cash anymore - threat elimination. But I don't know how they could get this done before rollover. There is a book that I saw a reference to back on the y2kchaos site called something like "Y2K - Gateway to a Cashless Society" but I haven't seen anything posted about it.

-- Rob Michaels (, February 07, 1999.

Rob, I've posted references/review of Ludwig's Y.2.K.G.T.T.C.S. several times on this board. Sure the author's a bit of a loon, but his analogy between the elimination of monetary gold by FDR and the coming elimination of monetary cash is extremely intriguing. But for obvious reasons, it has to happen in '99, while the computers are still running. It is a way to have both "unfrozen" bank accounts with simultaneous cash shutdown.

-- Runway Cat (, February 07, 1999.

"Robert, somehow they've got to move to an all electronic payment economy , before 2000-1-1. Despite the problems for small business and public confidence this will entail, there appears to be no other choice left."

Do you seriously believe that everyone in this country would just roll over and spread 'em?

I don't.

-- Uncle Deedah (, February 08, 1999.

The alternative to turning over and spreading 'em (i.e. not submitting to the complete criminalization of cash), being ??? Gonna write your Congressman ?

-- Runway Cat (, February 08, 1999.

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