How much preparation ("panic"?) is 'Just Right'?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Let's assume Y2K is bad. Maybe even Real Bad.
How much preparation is appropriate? If the "people in the know" (banks, rich & powerful, industry and Government) feel that Y2K will be bad, they have to decide how to "manage" it. Issues include:
- How much do we tell the public?
- When do we tell them?
- If we tell people to prepare now, what is the effect on the (already shakey) global economy?
- What effect on Y2K remediation will panic have?
- And on, and on...
Although our influence here is limited, it is not entirely non-existent. Many people here participate in community awareness programs, email/write Government & media and everyone talks to friends/family. We have (some) influence.
How much panic/preparation is enough? I think it useful to distinguish between what level of "awareness" is best, and our own sub-conscious need to be "proven right".
-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@anonymous.com), February 26, 1999
You've hit the nail on the head, A99. The gov't and industry leaders who truly understand the situation are between a rock and a hard place. If they come clean, stock prices plummet and bank runs occur.
When you hear PR "spin" statements from these guys, remember what Bill Dunn wrote on Hyatt's website:
"A typical statement of spin follows three basic rules: 1) include at least a tiny grain of truth somewhere in the statement, 2) promote the best interest of the person or organization making the statement, and 3) if rule number 1 gets in the way of rule number 2, ignore rule number 1."
It is human nature to cover your own butt. That is what these guys are doing, and will continue to do right up to, any beyond, 01-01-00.
-- rick blaine (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 26, 1999.
I think that no amount of panic is necessary. If you prepare for the disruptions that may occur, then there is no need for panic. I think that one problem with that is, if enough people prepare for even a month or two of disruptions, there wont be enough supplies (including money) to go around.
In addition, I believe that the govt and corporations have about the same level of trust of the people as some people have in them. Not very much. I believe that most people would not panic about y2k if they were given the facts (including the risks) in a rational and candid way.
I would much rather see the general public be informed and "panic" and prepare- NOW rather than be unprepared. Should "the worst" happen, then many people who are unprepared will be VERY PANICY INDEED and VERY ANGRY and VERY HUNGRY and VERY THIRSTY , and VERY COLD; perhaps all at the same time.
I would not suggest that people should be told that a Gary North-like scenario is likely (i dont even believe that myself). I would suggest informing them that things COULD be worse than a "winter storm". I believe that the govt will not take this suggestion. I believe that the "powers that be" have determined that the 72hr-1 week idea is best. Well, i hope that they still feel that way on 01.05.2000. I know I am not looking forward to the consequences of that decision.
-- kay (email@example.com), February 26, 1999.
This old git worked in public opinion polling some time back. We specialized in doing political polls and did some for national figures (Jimmy Carter, e.g.). The first question we asked was, "What would you say are your three biggest problems right now?" and we would add locally, statewide, or nationally, depending on the office our client was after. We'd ask them to rank the problems. Then we would ask them about our own list of problems, and to rank them on a 1-3 basis (very concerned, concerned, not at all concerned). The rest of the questions would be about other candidates and how they would vote if the election were held today, you know the kind of thing.
At the end of the poll, we'd feed the info into a computer and come up with how strongly people felt about various issues. Then we'd give the stuff to our sister firm, a PR bunch, who would write the platform and speeches for the client, all based on what the polls showed. What we're seeing now is not more awareness on the part of politicians, it's more like awareness on the part of the constituents. Politicians have polls done all the time to test the waters and make sure they're giving their folks what they want.
Sure, Sens. Bennett and Dodd and a few others have been voices in the wilderness, but they've been drowned out by others with other agendas. Now that the impeachment business is out of the way, I'd guess Y2K is beginning to show up clearly in the polls. It may very well have shown up before now, but behind the impeachment issue.
Anonymous 99, the questions you raise will be answered by polling. It won't be long before someone posts here, "Hey, I just answered a survey about Y2K!"
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 26, 1999.
I think that information is being fed incrementally, in amounts that the Powers That Be feel are just enough to swallow. Today, in theory John Q. Public has been told that Y2K may cause some disruptions similar to a bad snow storm, and to prepare for a few days worth of problems. John Q. has been told that the National Guard is also preparing to deal with disruptions, though this is precautionary only, as any problems will probably be "minor". This is pretty radical, compared to even four months ago.
I highly suspect that by the time that Summer rolls around, John Q. will have incrementally now have been fed a few more insights: The snowstorm may be more like a few weeks, and disruptions may be more of a "major" type, thus the need for a lot more military preparation.
-- Jack (email@example.com), February 26, 1999.
Good point. This may well be the game plan.
I have also been thinking, too much revealed may just conflict with National Security interests.
How can they admit to a huge problem (if they in fact believe this is so) without leaving us very vulnerable to attack? I realize the rest of the world will have problems of their own, but a well organized band of y2k compliant terrorists could cause damage.
The whole world watches CNN, how many evil people would be licking their chops at the thought of the last Superpower's moment of vulnerability?
I wish they would just tell everyone the TRUTH, (I'm not one to blindly trust gov.) but, what if they truly believe they can't? Maybe the 'prepare for a few days' message, while gov. prepares shelters quietly is the safest?
Well I'm feeling especially schitzo today, hoping there is a GOOD reason for this apparent lack of public leadership. I hope there is an enormous flurrie of activity behind the scenes, contingincy plans for every possibility.
Yesterday I thought they were all evil little men, protecting their selfish little agendas. Today I have arrived at Never-Never Land hoping they truly know what they are doing.
Anonymous99 is right, we do have a certain amount of influence, the amount of adequate preps is a personal decision, based upon your interpretation of the imformation available to you.
Depending on your conclusions, there lies the responsibility to prepare and educate others to do so as well.
As for being "proven right", I have never in my life hoped more to be "proven wrong" about the potential disaster headed our way.
-- Deborah the Ping Pong Ball (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 26, 1999.