Domino example : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

On 3/10.1999, the citizens of Greenville Sc were rudely awakened to the fact that our booming upstate economy really WAS tied to what happens in Korea, Indonesia, etc.

Fluor Daniels (a major international construction company headquartered in Greenville) abruptly announced they intended to place 10% of their workforce on indefinite layoff. This is approximately 5000 of the 50,000 employees worldwide and means a layoff of two to three hundred workers here in Greenville. Reason given to the press and to the employees was the severe slowdown in construction projects in Third World or developing countries. Fluor Daniels built King Faisial Hospital in Saudi, about half of the airbases in Bahrain, a quarter of the improved roads in Jakarta (as a sub to the government of Indonesia) and just finished renovating the ferry slips in Rangoon. Suddenly, no business!! No warning to local leaders or politicians.

This only underscores to me the interconnectivity of the businesses that drive the world. Even little greenville has it's potential big problems. We are the base for BMW-America, Michelin, Liberty Life, Fluor Daniels and many other fairly large employers that have strong overseas ties. If their customer base is paralyzed secondary to computer disruptions, guess what happens to the little old South Carolinean that works locally for them. (Not to mention that SC is in the bottom 5 for preperation by tate government). Is there any possibility that the US can avoid a severe recession or depression within our borders if the rest of the world goes totally down the tubes for six to 24 months? I believe that this is what has the Wonderland on the Potomac boys and girls so frightened. There isn't a dang thing they can do about it. No amount of money nor any amount of cyber help sent from the US is going to help Korea, Brazil, Mexico or Germany.

This story is just a blip on the national economy but in a bustling, booming upstate economy, it hit like a thunderclap. It certainly woke up our Upstate Progress Council.

In view of the above, one of the things needed on this forum is more discussion about how to handle y2k if it is a 6 or 7 rather than a 1 or 10. Probablity factors indicate just that. Do you go in debt? or do you pay off debt? Do you prepare for your mortgage company to go under (smile) or do you think you will go under first and prepare for that? Opinions solicited.

Got jobs?

-- Lobo (, March 12, 1999


Lobo; This is a good post. Your focus makes sense. Keep the perceptive questions rolling. Thanks,

-- Watchful (, March 12, 1999.


I couldnt agree with you more, I was talking to my good friend Pam today, (*wave* Hi pam!!!!!!) when the topic came up about how dealing with Y2k was easy if you believed it to be a 1 or a 10. In those cases the path is clear. Anything grey in between is really tough to figure out how to plan.

Heres a few:

1. Where do you put your money if only have of the banks fail? How best do I protect my retirement fund?

2. What utilities services might I need to complement.?

3. How secure is my job, whats my companies exposure to the global situation?

4. What happens to my kids education ?

5. How can I prevent this situation from overwhelming me when I already have a dozen critical life issues to deal with right now?

Anyone of these questions could be an entire thread unto itself. If your a 1 or a 10 person, the answer is straight forward. If your in the 3-7 range thats when the situation becomes difficult.

Feel free to add or elaborate.


-- nyc (, March 12, 1999.

nyc: I presume you meant "what do you do with your money if only half the banks fail". If half the banks fail, the banking system fails, and without a banking system, an individual bank has very little value to society. It's a totally interwoven system.

This is what most people don't seem to understand. I know of a good many people who say "my company is on top of this thing; we're going to be ready!" as if they live in some kind of isolated state with no connection to and dependence on, other entities such as banks, utilities, power, customers, suppliers, vendors, etc. Your company or your bank may be 100% compliant and still go bankrupt in early 2000.

-- cody varian (, March 12, 1999.

In my planning and preparation, I have never thought of Y2K being a 6 or a 7, I have planned for it to be a 10. Even if it were a 6 or a 7 in your neck of the woods, it could only be a 4 or a 5 somewhere else, no one really knows, so prepare as if it were going to be a 10. What do you have to lose? We not only have to think about Y2K and the possibilities that it may bring, but now we have some other wrenches thrown into pot such as our national security being threatened by the latest Chinagate scandal, and the solar flares that are suppose to fries us. How big of threat are these on a scale of 1-10, I don't know. If it were a 10 and you are still alive, don't worry about your mortgage or anything else worry about staying alive. It it were a 7-8, I wouldn't worry about paying any debt back to anyone. It it were a 5-6, I wouldn't worry about paying debt back to anyone. It it were a 3-4, I would have enough cash on hand to start all over again if I were to lose my job. Forget paying your debts because you can always file bankruptcy, but you would have CASH, food and supplies on hand to survive, if you have prepared for a 10. If you pay off your house, you are stuck there unable to move or sell because everyone else is in the same boat. Your home won't be worth what you paid for it. Nows the time to take out an equity loan and pay off your vehicles and use the cash for supplies and a nest egg. No one's job will be secure (is anyone's job secure right now) in light of what we are anticipating? Are you repared to walk away with something in your pocket or walkway with nothing at all? I wouldn't worry about my children's education, they have a lifetime ahead of them to become educated. Hope for the best plan for the worst.

-- bardou (, March 12, 1999.

I think you are looking for simple answers where there are none. If it was that simple, we would have been in a recession for more than a year now. Any explanation of why we MUST have a recession next year has to give a reasonable explanation of why we are not in a recession right now, and have not been in a recession for several years.

-- Paul Davis (, March 12, 1999.

Well, here is why, you see there is this Y2K computer problem that is about to come down on us, and ... uh, never mind, forget it, Pauly-anna, you just wouldn't understand.

-- King of Spain (, March 12, 1999.

Good point Paul. Example is Asian market and bank failure while we hardly noticed. So, there are lots of interconnections (I think of them as dependencies) and also lots of independent arenas. Sort of dominos with some taken out to block the downfall of all the dominos.

-- Maria (, March 12, 1999.


I suspect that the domino effect we're seeing in the U.S. now, besides large scale layoffs (Boeing just announced more), is a worldwide money parking lot into U.S. currency and the N.Y. stock market. What happens when the U.S. can no longer hide Y2K and the "glitches?"

Even if it is a 5 to 7, plan for the 10. Plan to loose your job, and plan accordingly. They refer to it as making contingencies.


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 12, 1999.

All good Points.....

Im going to continue giving the other side of the coin tho, with the following question for thought,

If you bag paying the mortgage and bills and it turns out to be a three or a four and your mortgage company or credit card company happens to be a survivor, who will probably be hungry for cash to keep surviving, what do you propse to do?

Also in regard to the failure of half the banks causing the failure the entire banking system.... Ive posted this a few times elsewhere in this forum so ill keep the response brief.

In the banking world banks who are strong dont die trying to support banks that are weak, they eat them, its called Darwinian economics. Banks that are well prepared for Y2k are also well insulated from debt from those banks that arent.


-- nyc (, March 12, 1999.


Here's another article for you to ponder on concerning banks...


Maybe we should worry

By Chuck Green

Denver Post Staff Columnist

Jan. 22 - Until now, I hadn't considered the so-called Y2K computer glitch to be much more than a minor speed bump on our wondrous journey into the 21st century.

I certainly didn't take it seriously recently when a national gathering of survivalists described the impending computer crisis as likely to cause "the largest disaster in human history.''

I figured if the toilets flush, the water taps don't run dry and the gasoline pumps keep operating, my life won't be terribly inconvenienced. That's the beauty of being a simple journalist, living at a level barely above that of an ameba.

After all, the utility companies and the banks and the IRS all have assured us that they have the problem under control. The power company will keep our lights lit, there is no need to hoard gold because you're worried the banks might shut down and the revenooers will still be able to process your tax return on April 15, 2000.

Rest easy, they say.

Well, not so fast, pardner.

It seems there might be cause to worry after all.

While your friendly banker might reassure you that there is no need to panic and start keeping your cash under the mattress, your friendly banker might be talking with forked tongue.

Colorado bankers - and stock brokers and credit unions and trust companies - are asking the Colorado legislature to protect them against lawsuits filed by customers in case the Y2K bug infests the nation's financial system.

A Republican state senator from Englewood, Tom Blickensderfer, and a Republican state representative from Greeley, Tambor Williams, have proposed a law to shield "financial service providers'' from liability if customers can't access their assets because of the so- called millennium bug and decide to sue for punitive damages.

The protection is extensive.

You couldn't hold your bank responsible if your money is unavailable because of "transportation delays, energy failures or communications problems,'' according to provisions of House Bill 1190 now pending in the legislature.

It also provides financial institutions immunity for punitive damages as the result of "any failure of any computer system because of a Year 2000 problem.''

So, come January 1 you're on your own, according to your personal banker.

According to some experts, this could become a trend. Utility companies, data-transmission providers, hospitals and a vast array of other businesses might be expected to ask legislators for similar immunity in case they are crippled by the Y2K bug.

Apparently your banker isn't very confident that his computers will keep whirring, or that the electric company will keep the tranmission lines buzzing, or that the telephone company will keep the phones ringing.

And if your banker isn't comfortable with Y2K preparations, how comfortable should you be? Suddenly the Y2K threat seems more personal than it did just a couple of days ago.

In fact, it's really starting to bug me.

[snip] ---------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Kevin (, March 12, 1999.


The following is the best article I've ever seen on the domino effect...not on how it affects banks...but in general. It doesn't even mention Y2K.

It's an eye-opener, though.

"I, Pencil"

-- Kevin (, March 12, 1999.


Look at this qoute from the article you posted.

"So, come January 1 you're on your own, according to your personal banker. "

Damn , this isnt even factual, this is the authors interpretation of the facts hes gathered. The placement of the phrase "according to" is such as to get him as close as possible to a real industy quote, we he obviously doesnt have, and it is no such thing. Ok enough of the gut reaction to this, onto my response.

The fact that corporate america is moving toward protecting themselves from litigation is not a statement about thier Y2k Preparedness. The fact that they still believe it will matter in Jan 2000 is I think tho. Litigation, especially in the financial sector is business as usual. I think the real danger with the litigation issue is that it can turn Y2k testing into a paper chase instead of the important issue it really is. I rememeber during one of our integrated tests the order came down from the Y2k office to perform our batch processing for midnight Dec 31 when the system date was january 4th 2000. My comment at the time was "what exactly are we doing here? testing for Y2k or generating paper?" Needless to say reason one out on that one and we got our way. Ive tangiented sorry, I get carried away

The point here tho is be careful about relating litigation protection to non compliance. Its similar to saying I get maximum insurance for my car because im such a bad driver and I need to protect myself financially.

I read the pencil article, I see what your trying to say and your correct. Bottom line is all our efforts are for nought if the power and Phone lines are down. I think that no matter what your position is in this forum thats the undeniable fact. I like to think in terms of a house with a foundation, you can fix the roof to keep the rain out , but if the foundation is shot its all pretty much worthless. I have a lot of optimism about Y2k because where I am the foundation (electric, phones) appears to be in a state where it can reasonably be expected to be at some level of functionality on Jan 1 2000. I also know that enough of the financial infrastructure is compliant to assure me some level of comfort. The 17 % non compliant number be thrown around doesnt represent to me a crisis so much as it does a shift of power. What does concern me now is city services, social unrest and food supply. There is obviously an issue on these. Its my opinion that these are the areas on which we need to focus now.


-- nyc (, March 13, 1999.

nyc.. Wonderland on the Potomac is toast by their own admission (no matter how much IBM tries to help). Atlanta is lost in a morass of contractors vs. city council (and probably a wee bit of larceny thrown in). NYC seems to think they'll make it. Detroit admits privately that they won't. Yes, I think that local and regional support structures should be our major concern. You might have a 3 or 4, it could well be a 9 or 10 in my neck of the woods. Question. Do you think you would hear it on whatever media is operating? I don't. The severity of the event will depend on the stability of the infrastructure in the area in which you live. If the power grid goes down in ... say, Texas and stays down for a month, do you think those banks will survive? I don't. Heck, Midland couldn't even survive good times, let alone bad.

The potential impact to the lifestyles of the general populace is so tremendous that it is no wonder that the government wants to spin. They really have no choice. Should they begin to trumpet gloom and dispair, anarchy would be in place in the US in 10 days. The general individual out in la-la land CAN'T handle the truth and has no emotional backbone to answer to it if they did. No, I don't have much faith in the common man. Over the years, I have seen man put to the test many times. There are a few shining examples but for the most part, mankind regresses to a bestial stage when cornered. This is what will happen in the inner cities and wil pit neighbor against neighbor. Keep a Low Profile, Partner. The best way to win a fight is not to let it happen.

-- Lobo (, March 13, 1999.


I think both the media and the government are less monolithic than you imply. Each has individuals who see End Times coming, and both are full of people who haven't paid y2k any attention at all. They are composed of people who have among them a wide range of opinions and expectations. And unlike the Federal Government, the media don't even have any single 'official spokesman'.

If there weren't ample cause for it, you wouldn't see such a wide range of expectations on the part of those who have spent considerable time looking at y2k. We've seen lately that not only do the experts disagree in important ways, they tend to change their minds back and forth as new data pour in. Some days I can't see any escape and prepare like mad. Other days I can't see why I was doing this. I feel like a blind man running into a different part of the elephant each day and wondering how I could have been so wrong yesterday.

With this happening to me, it's hard for me to see how anything as populous as government or media could stake out a consistent position. If I can't see the future, I don't expect them to see it either. Even if I thought I knew the future (and it held still from day to day), I could still understand that others may not.

I'm sure there are many individuals among our information sources (including corporate leaders) who privately expect worse times than they're willing to admit publicly. Maybe they're trying to forestall panic, maybe the don't want to look foolish if they're wrong.

In a sense, I too have ascribed ulterior motives (neuroses) to those who disagree with me, and I've been blasted for it. So it's clear there's a double standard at work here: We can properly accuse anyone who disagrees with us of lies, coverups, or systematic thought control. But we won't tolerate anyone making analogous accusations back at us. After all, we're right and they're wrong, yes?

So I especially see the media as feeling around in the very dim light, trying to guess what these vague shapes might be. Is that a coat rack or is that a monster? In the dark, fears and imagination rule. I'm hoping that as the new century dawns over the course of this year, the light level will increase enough to let us see more clearly. And of course I hope that these shapes don't turn out to be monsters after all. Some days I'm sure they won't be, other days I'm afraid at least some of them will.

-- Flint (, March 13, 1999.

Well said, Flint.

Trying to stay out of the elephant's way,


-- jor-el (, March 13, 1999.

At the top of this thread is the mention of Fluor Daniel laying off 5000. This is news for today. But Fluor has many smaller companies within her family. I used to be part of one of those smaller entities until a layoff hit us five months ago. I was with the smaller company for over fourteen years, two years away from retirement. I think this is the root of why I began a thread on this subject (depression). See "Hallyx wrote, 'If I could only get this depression out of my head....'" This experience of being laid off so close to retirement, along with the preparations for Y2K led me to an emotional depression.

PJ- unemployed and hurting.

-- PJ (, March 13, 1999.

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