Get With the Program: No Panic Before October : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Yes, I could be wrong. Yes, I am preparing as though panic will hit tomorrow (actually, we are already 95% prepared, so we're at peace). But here is the deal:

Much like the impeachment "process" or any ongoing media story in our culture, the Y2K issue becomes, over time, our culture's perverse type of morality play, complete with roles and plotline:

Ko-skin-em (the storyteller)

Greenspan (gravitas)

The alarmist Senators (Bennett/Dodd) and Rep (Horn)

The Y2K "experts" (de Jager, "Gartner" et al)

The kooks (North, Yourdon, GIs generally)

The survivalists (any militia type)

etc. etc......

The dramatis personae assume comforting roles over time. Even Gary North, ironically, calms the masses ("oh, it's those nut cases again, Mabel, aren't you glad Y2K can't be anything like they say?").

The plot itself must veer between comedy and tragey but always (ALWAYS) end in comedy (thinking Aristotle here, guys). It alternates between brave exposes of possible calamity (which titillate the audience) followed by reassurances that the "good guys" have everything under control. Cut to commercial.

Most important, the sheer length of the story militates against panic. "If it's so bad, how come nothing ever happens?" (That one from my 19-year old GI son, commenting on how people think these days and he's right).

Yes, more and more people are preparing. But there isn't going to be any panic (which is a whole different animal) until or if the big boys decide to let the market go down by taking away the floor (or having it kicked away under them) and I don't see this happening until the end of this year or, more likely, next year early.

Look, the buggy bell curve ain't going to START spiking until AFTER 1/1/2000, guys. Despite the validity of the pre-2000 run-up of problems, they don't call it the Y2K bug for nothing.

I'm not saying, relax with respect to your preparations, but let's chill out about the panic thing. GET PREPARED and then you don't have to factor panic into YOUR equation. Isn't that the real point?

-- BigDog (, February 24, 1999


Are you maybe thinking of Aristophanes?

-- Flint (, February 24, 1999.

Big Dog, because so many ppl don't have a clue, and it's been so ridiculed and lumped into the "turn of the century hysteria," we also don't expect to see early panic. May be wrong though ;(

But we can certainly envision a competitiveness and snatching flare-up, not to mention humongo ego bursts from those newly semi-informed. Sorta fun & disgustingly amusing, revealing, to sit back and watch the curtain slowly pull back on a newish avenue for humanimal misbehavior.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, February 24, 1999.

Nope, gotta disagree...the upcoming market crash (as early as next month -- read Alan's lips) coupled with withdrawal limits (May?), war in the mideast (summer?) and escalating y2k snafus and bad news will cause panics much earlier than October. But make no mistake, Nov 99-Jan 00 will be the grandaddy of all "panics".

-- a (a@a.a), February 24, 1999.


You hit the nail right on the head!

-- Dave (, February 24, 1999.

Flint -

Please read and summarize Aristotle's "Poetics", Comapre and contrast his definitions of Tragedy and Comedy. Three pages, double-spaced. Due Monday.

(gad, I knew the B.A. would come in handy someday...)

-- Mac (, February 24, 1999.

'course the typos (what the heck is "Comapre"?) kinda take some of the wind out of it... *-}]

-- Mac (, February 24, 1999.

Wrong! The herd is begining to move. Look for mid April.

-- Scotty (, February 24, 1999.

Unless there is some dramatic event connected with y2k in the next six months, I don't expect the sleeping American public to wake up until next fall at the earliest. It's mindboggling how complacent people are.

-- cody varian (, February 24, 1999.

This is what I really like to see - solid predictions.

Market crash - March.

Withdrawal limits - May.

Mideast war - Summer

Self-evident y2k panic (evident to Joe Sixpack) well before October.

Thanks, 'a'. Just hypothetically, if we should happen to pass these milestone dates without anything like these events, would your prognosis change? So far, the doomists seem not a bit dissuaded by the failure of JAE, the failure of the FY99 problems, the failure of any year 1999 problems so far, the failure of significant Euro problems (all were dire predictions, you remember) and they've been postponing the 'inevitable' market nosedive without a backward glance.

But you're adaptable enough to recognize what doesn't happen and modify your expectations accordingly, I'm sure.

-- Flint (, February 24, 1999.

I'm seeing many more people starting to prepare. The news media is about to make y2k prep somewhat politically correct, and possibly do a lot of good in encouraging people who otherwise wouldn't even start yet. But, I, also am not looking for real panic untill the Fall or early Jan. Because, let's face it, the news folks are not noted for stamina. What's front page today will be old news on Monday. And no editor will be caught dead in bed with old news.

Heaven forbid if Monica does something cute, or Bill drops his political (or literal) drawers in public again. If so Y2K will again be read on page 7c. Note the cover of today's "Time". Y2K just doesn't have a good press agent yet. After all it's photo op's that count.

(But the banks ARE getting a little squirrelly)

-- Lon Frank (, February 24, 1999.

Big Dog,

Apparently you haven't heard about the Japanese Banks:

"The FSA said that as of December, nearly half of the top 19 Japanese banks had completed needed updates for just a quarter of their main computer systems. Only two banks had updated more than 75% of their systems."

When the Japanese banks shut down, the WORLD shuts down, and I think it's going to get ugly in April when their computers start seeing double zeros.

-- (@@@.@), February 24, 1999.

Paul Milne doesn't visit us much these days. So hafta go to csy2k to get his latest:

Soon, the Panics Begin

"The upcoming Senate report will be a balancing act. It will mainly try to convey that there is big trouble affot, BUT they want to AVOID PANIC at ALL COSTS.

Ever since day one, they have UNDER-ESTIMATED the severity of the consequences.

The world's econonmy will not be able to weather the effects of Y2K without catastrophic damage.

Soon, the panics will begin. One more month? Two? Three? I don't know. But they will come.

It is hysterically funny that all the people who calmly prepared beforehand will not be among the PANICKERS. All the naysayers will be the panickers.

And by the way, don't fail to get the latest issue of US News And World Report coming out on Monday, either, with their lovely Y2K story. They called today to let us know that the long awaited issue will be out then.

I think the pictures of my hacienda came out very nicely. (From the proofs, anyway.) "

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (, February 24, 1999.

"Ever since day one, they have UNDER-ESTIMATED the severity of the consequences. "

You have to wonder when day one will come. So far, the consequences of every single spike date have been overestimated.

A year from now, will these people still be telling us that it hasn't happened yet but will, or will they be saying it's really happening but we just don't notice it?

I still expect preparations will come in very handy for most of us. But I can't say when. Starting a year from now wouldn't surprise me.

-- Flint (, February 24, 1999.

My take on this is that the herd will continue sleeping. However, the markets and that banks will see a run, set off not by the herd but by the small to medium size business owner who deals in large amounts of cash every day and by savy investors who are leaving the market.

The cashed based business owner is savy,street smart and rich. He is described in the book The Millionaire Next Door. Instead of making their weekly cash deposits to keep their cash business going, they transfer money from the stockmarket into their business, thereby holding back enormous amounts of currency. Currency leaves the system and not one withdrawal is made!!

This talk about the average family only having $500 or so in the bank is not only irrelevent, it is misleading. When it comes to precipitating a run on the markets or banks the herd matters not. What's on TV only matters if you are concerned about the y2k awareness of millions of people with very little money.

It is not the herd that will precipitate a run. It will be the invisible Millionaire Next Door, the cashed based business owner.

The run from the stock market will be done by the savy investors. As fearful foreigners and the greedy herd flood our markets and buy stocks and bonds, the savy investors are selling to them. Just like currency leaving the system without withdrawals being made, investors are leaving the market without the stocks market falling.

-- Tomcat (, February 24, 1999.

Flint: I merely said I expected panic earlier than October. I am not Nostradamus, and as you surely noticed, the hypothetical events I mentioned were followed dates in question marks. And I said the market could crash "as early as next month", dickhead, learn to read.

Furthermore, I am now convinced you are schizophrenic. The last time you posted your predictions of y2k consequences, they were almost worse than mine. Now you're whining again about people jumping to conclusions. Make up your mind.

-- a (a@a.a), February 25, 1999.


personally I think you're close to correct, though I'd expect the first real shortages to occur sometime around September...there is no evidence that the folks who are artificially propping up the market now can't do so for at least another five or six months, in any case...and even if it crashes, it'll be used as a means of drawing the public's attention *away* from y2k in order to "avoid panic..".

ah well, guess we'll see in a bit, eh? Arlin

-- Arlin H. Adams (, February 25, 1999.


On April 1 this year, Japan begins its *1999* fiscal year. It's still in its 1998 fiscal year right now. Again, everyone concerned about fiscal year roll-overs needs to read the following article. Here's a short excerpt:


Japan begins FY 1999 on April 1, 1999 - It does NOT begin FY 2000 on April 1, 1999.

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.


What concerns me the most about dates later in 1999 is when computers dealing with production and especially distribution start seeing "00". That's when Y2K will become more than an accounting problem.

-- Kevin (, February 25, 1999.

read Tomcat's post again.

-- humptydumpty (, February 25, 1999.


Very true. A panic could start inside the business community just as easily as it could with the general public.

If date-related failures start a panic, I don't think it'll be fiscal year roll-overs that cause it.

-- Kevin (, February 25, 1999.

Flint -- Yes, Aristotle. Aristophanes is satire :-)

Agree with Tomcat, in the sense that this is the one event that the government can't control: the smart money cashing in the chips (because the smart money won't be controlled or spun and the dumb money will follow like lemmings within a month or two). My millionaire friends are AGI (almost get-it's) at this point. They are watching, they are very nervous, but they don't want to be suckered in by Y2K hype (their words) and miss out on the market continuing to go higher. Most of them already have sophisticated sell plans in place for fall (whether their clever market plans will be overwhelmed themselves by that time is certainly a good question).

If Milne is a psychotic, Flint is certainly a schizophrenic. Personally, I'm both. I certainly don't rule out the possibility of an earlier panic, but I do think February-April 2000 is the real panic window. After all, even if the market goes down 40% this summer or fall, lots of corrective action can be taken. AND, it takes months even for deep recessions to take hold. But we won't be able to wish away facts post 1/1/2000.

Another prediction: at least 50% of U.S. panic in 2000 will be over events and crises being generated overseas (political and military) that could bite us BIG-TIME. A deep recession or even an incipient depression may be the least of our problems.

Don't miss the real point of this thread: complete your preparations NOW. Notice what else Milne said: the ones who panic will be the ones who didn't prepare. I'm not trying to sound dippy, but all the regulars here are my neighbors/friends even when we scream at each other: COMPLETE YOUR PREPARATIONS. Then, we can watch and be helpful in analyzing what does happen over the next year without losing our balance.

-- BigDog (, February 25, 1999.


We have ample posts indicating that JAE events AREoccurring and not being publicized, which should have been our expectation from the inception of the def'n. These things are INTERNAL and will REMAIN internal until and unless someone gets canned and comes clean, on his/her way into court.

Fiscal year rollovers will have effects on internal functions, and also will not escape the reservation. Realists have pointed this out numerous times and most of us have accepted it.

thankyou Mr. Speaker, I now yeild the balance of my time

Chuck, who simetimes surprises even himself at what he tries to pass off as humor

-- Chuck, night driver (, February 25, 1999.

'a', I'm just pulling your leg a little bit. Let's generalize.

You expect that by October, seriously visible things will have happened, not just things non-y2k-attuned people see out of the corner of their eyes. Perhaps banking restrictions on the public of some sort, perhaps visible widespread shortages of non-specialized goods, perhaps a significant market decline (a couple thousand points, do you think?). Maybe forced shutdowns of some nuclear plants. You expect stockpiling and cash withdrawals to become the norm, maybe.

In other words, we may not be able to predict exactly what will happen or exactly when, but by no later than October, y2k will be a major big deal and obvious changes will be in full swing.

In this respect, my predictions were distinctly different. I predicted no serious public inconveniences or panic until justified by actual failures and screwups. That is, no big problems caused by *anticipation* of these screwups, but rather caused by the screwups themselves. This doesn't rule out temporary and local shortages of common stuff, which may happen more by October than it does now. But nothing very serious.

I don't think I'm being schizophrenic when I expect big problems but don't expect them as soon as you do. I'm also encouraged by the reported remediation progress and lack of any y2k-related problems so far. I find prospects of collapse and dieback more and more farfetched. Serious recession still looks probable to me.

The focus of my preparations lately has moved away from being unable to *get* food or power, to being unable to *afford* them due to unemployment. This is a more long-term approach, of course. I still expect important commodities to be scarce and maybe rationed during 1Q 2000. I expect the banking system to suffer much more from external causes (nonperforming loans) than from internal causes (bad code in the banks).

Summary: I think your timeline is a year early. Your events are right on.

Chuck: So long as y2k-related problems are kept on the reservation and have no (or very limited) external impact, we're fine. After all, we're preparing against the escapees, right? Internal-only problems have no economic impact we can feel.

-- Flint (, February 25, 1999.

Flint: you said:

"The focus of my preparations lately has moved away from being unable to *get* food or power, to being unable to *afford* them due to unemployment."

I too worry about unemployment, foreclosure, high prices, etc, if this thing is "only" a 4 or 5. But you and I are both computer oriented professionals. If we are unemployed, what does that say about the rest of the country/world? If IT people loose their jobs, we will have to be talking some serious unemployment wouldn't you say? In which case, the 4 or 5 will quickly become a 6, 7 or more because of societal collapse.

What do you think? Also, do you remember the thread where you posted your reply to me concerning your prognostication of y2k?

-- a (a@a.a), February 25, 1999.


I find it hard to make that kind of generalization about employment. Of course I'm not an IT professional, I'm a PC and embedded system developer. And I've moved away from the big city to a smaller city. I don't know what the demand would be for my skills here if my current employer is no longer interested. Moving elsewhere would involve selling a house. If unemployment is high, this gets pretty tough. I'd need to play all this by ear, I think.

My gut feeling as time goes by is that the private sector is making pretty good progress, and the public sector is definitely NOT. And the government is far and away the single largest employer in the area where I live now. I can't guess what this means

Certainly the time to stop worrying hasn't come yet by any stretch. I just can't see a flash panic this year (of course a lot depends on media coverage and spin). I can easily see a grinding slowdown next year as bigtime inefficiency sets in to settle for a while.

-- Flint (, February 25, 1999.


From my understanding, when they begin the 1999 fiscal year, computers will begin to make calculations which reference the year 2000. Example: interest calculations, payment due periods, etc. Is what I've been hearing (from Ed included) not correct?

-- (@@@.@), February 25, 1999.

Heeeellllllloooooooooooo????? Kevin? You there Kevin??? KEEEEVVVVINNN !!! Your response please??

-- (@@@.@), February 28, 1999.

Flint -

I've talked with my Mom about life in the Depression. Her sense is that government jobs were absolutely the best place to be back then; her Dad was a Federal employee and life was much more stable for them than for many of their friends.

Ironic that the gummint is now in the worst shape when it comes to Y2K...

-- Mac (, February 28, 1999.

But the government won't be laying anybody off, nor will itself (as an entity) be suffering. It's people will likely be suffering, like the rest of us, but the government will keep dinosauring along. Not at all efficient, probably not even doing its job - but it will lumbering on. For example, will anybody be fired when medical reimb. checks to hospitals and doctors are delayed for three-four months, and when paid, over half are too high or too low? Nope.

There is no accountability there at any level that I can see.

Try to track the "smart" stockmarket money as follows:

Stock market (for the "millionaires amongst us" referenced above - best would be to stay in stock until just *before* the rest of the mob panics and pull their money out in anticipation of future losses in Dec 1999 - Feb/March 2000. When pulled out from stocks, put them in bonds - remember, this must be *before*& everybody else does.

Then, in mid-Jan mid-Feb (before March 2000), get out of bonds, and buy what every body is panicking and selling. Then stay in stocks for several years, but not later than maybe 2010, when everybody else will start selling stocks as their retirement time comes due. During the 2014-2018 reccession (caused by massive loss of consumer buying power as baby boomers retire and sell stocks), buy more.

In other words, sell stocks in early October 1929, wait - but don't get your money stuck in the banks, then buy stocks again in March or April 1930. If possible, wait as late as 1932, and get some more at the height of the depression. Then by 1943 when the war caused stock to recover and people had money, sell.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 28, 1999.


Yes, when unremediated systems in government agencies and businesses hit their fiscal year 1999, there will be accounting problems. These entities will have trouble keeping track of their finances.

But, until sometime later this year, this won't be visible to the public. If the only glitches early in 1999 are in accounting, there might be enough resources to fix the problem. Plus, accounting problems won't necessarily affect benefit checks, manufacturing or distribution, because they use different computer systems from the ones the accounting department uses.

Most computer systems in a government agency or business are not programmed on a fiscal year basis. The problem is in the accounting department.

The Jo Anne Effect is very real. It's happening now for some. Ed Yourdon is not wrong. Just don't expect the JAE to be very visible.

Let me give you a quick example. Let's say a doctor's office is part of a chain of offices that enter fiscal year 2000 on April 1, 1999. Sure, the accounting department there or at the main office will have problems if accounting is unremediated. It might not be much trouble to fix that problem.

The biggest problem for an unremediated doctor's office will start when a patient on November 5, 1999 decides to make an appointment for January 4, 2000. It's that kind of non-accounting failure that the public will notice.

Late in 1999, there could be so many lookahead failures in so many sectors of the economy, that there wouldn't be enough computer pros to take care of all the glitches.

-- Kevin (, February 28, 1999.

.... because several doctors' sceduling programs have crashed the program and corrupted patient databases when the users have tried to scheule into 2000.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 28, 1999.


Just because they're on the reservation doesn't mean there is no publicly felt economic impact. The internal drag, the lack of investment, the delays in retooling for the next model year etc. will have external impacts, but look like simple delays/


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 28, 1999.

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