You may understand the Y2K problem, but do you understand the bet?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
People are always trying to come up with analogies for the Y2K problem. The Titanic is probably the one that I see most often. Hardliner came up with a pretty good airplane analogy a while back (though had to add parachutes at my request). Others: "Like a boat sailing on a beautiful day towards a deadly waterfall, not seen, but the sound getting louder and louder."; "Like a shotgun on a room full of people that will be fired, but it is unknown whether it is loaded with birdshot or buckshot, or for that matter whether it is even loaded at all."; etc.
My own personal favorite Germany in the early 1930s, after Hitler took complete power, and how Jews viewed the future. Now, Hiter had written his Mein Kampf a few years before, and in that book he said exactly what he would do if he ever got the chance. Now, he had the chance.
Certainly, in hindsight, the smartest thing that any individual Jew could have done in Nazi Germany would be to leave, even if at great material cost. And a few did, but of course the overwhelming majority did not.
And I suspect that the reasons for remaining in Germany were, at face value, probably reasonable. "They", meaning the civilized world, would not allow anything like Hitler had promised actually happen -- "they" would step in through various ways (diplomacy, sanctions, etc.). Or maybe the thought was that the Jew bashing had simply been the rabble rousing that Hitler needed to get what he wanted, and having achieved this goal, they were not really in any danger. Or maybe even the thought that no one, not even Adolph Hitler, would actually do the unthinkable -- such a thing would be too much for even him to carry out.
I think that the time has come, this day in middle of March 1999, to realize the following: It was more reasonable for Jews in Nazi Germany in the early 1930s to believe that Hitler would not actually implement the "Final Solution" than it is for us today to believe that Y2K will be anything less a disaster of global proportions. I base this claim on The Usual Overwhelming Evidence: lack of any Y2K compliant anything that counts as I type these words, just empty promises that everything will somehow work out.
Like in Germany of the early 1930s, our world as we know it is about to be spun on a roulette wheel, and our very lives are being bet on the outcome. Comments?
-- Jack (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999
Jack- you have a good point here. I think that what is involved in both of these situations is denial and a lack of ability to comprehend that these things could/would actually occur. If you are used to "following orders" and playing by the rules, you wait for the powers that be to instruct you. Also, in Hitler's Germany, you had a relatively advanced cultured society- that the holocaust would happen was incomprehensible I'm sure. Many of Hitler's victims believed they were good Germans and nobody would let them be harmed.
Similarly, today many people cannot comprehend that their world could be changing. They are waiting to be told that all is well and nothing bad will happen. It is a combination of denial- if it's not there, I don't have to do anything about it right? And also a lack of comprehension as to just how dependent our lives have become on computers and technology. For instance, in the latest USA Today poll, while many people (>50% I believe) thought there would be major Y2K problems in the developing world(any place but the USA in other words!), most people thought we wouldn't have major problems here.
Given the import/export system we have in place, the steady stream of oil, minerals, food, electronics and just stuff that we import into this country, just how I wonder will a major problem in another country not be expected to affect us?
So- it's both denial and a total lack of comprehension in both situations.
-- anita (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
Jack --- Interesting and while you're probably due to be flamed/scoffed, this is a worthy analogy, tho like any analogy, it can be pushed too far.
I knew a former German Jew well (teen-ager during those years) who later became a prominent Israeli. It seemed "obvious" to him, but his family and just about everybody (DGIs) considered a holocaust IMPOSSIBLE and INCONCEIVABLE and for many of the same reasons ("they won't/can't let something like this happen.")
Actually, we may have a worse problem. At least during the 30s, Jews could get out and go somewhere unaffected (my friend went to Palestine). We have no where to go that will be unaffected (some places better, some worse, but none unaffected).
Where this post hits me personally is that, beyond preparation, I sometimes ask myself whether I shouldn't still more drastically rearrange my life, say around June-July, "betting" on a negative outcome and giving myself and family slightly better odds of making it through safely (focusing on skills acquisition, strategies, etc).
Thanks for the challenge ....
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 16, 1999.
Anyone familiar with the life story of George Soros? Let's just say he didn't get where he is by being a sheeple.
-- Puddintame (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
Interesting point - I would point out that the much of the real threat stems from:
a prediction of government action - that certain members in the elite and the press WANT to happen: gun confiscation, martial law (no problem - they are only arresting right-wing wacko survialist terrorists and hoarders, not good liberals), greater federal control of what's left of the free media: radio, small presses, and the internet, reduction of the degree of independence of individuals, etc.
a lack of government action - that the general population does not WANT to believe did not happen, (they want to believe that the government, utilities, and industry won't fail and that these sectors are going to be ready because "they" say will be ready) and
certain lies from the federal government that the general population wants equally desperately to believe will happen , (despite overwhelming but carefully hidden evidence that the government is lying about). That is, the government is deliberately (in my opinion) misleading people about:
- the degree of the government's readiness
- the ability of the government to help "everyone" "everywhere" if anything does go wrong
- the stability and response of the "system" to failure - if mentally you cannot stand anything more serious than a "bump in the road" then you will eagerly listen when the media repeats the mantra about bumpy roads and winter storms.
- the media so eagerly sucking the words from the federal government in their haste to stay in the "mainstream" - in this, they (the media) are worse than the Nazi propagandists who printed stories about "relocation" to the east - at least in the 30's the Nazi media were bright enough to know they were being deceived. (They printed it anyway, but at least they knew.)
Other signs: the government is actually ony panicked about the banking system - nothing else appears to matter, but they always return verbatim to "preventing panic" and bank runs - because they know this will happen as long as people can still get their money out. Expect bank closures or "holidays" - starting with limits on withdrawals, then a closure of Wall Street when people shut out their bank pull money from stocks and insurance policies. Soon after - blame gets back on the "right wing wacko survivalists and hoarders" who are causing this - then another "Christian-night" when windows are broken and people beaten in the streets - like in 1936?
So, where am I off base or obviously wrong in this gloomy outlook?
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
You are correct to observe that we are at risk of becoming scapegoats.
History is littered by examples including 200 years ago. At the terminal stage of fiat money inflation in France when their assignats currency had become worthless, they beheaded the goldsmiths in town squares across the land.
Do these examples help us to understand that there may be many who convey the pretence of DGI while secretly building reserves?
-- Watchful (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
I DO NOT understand Y2K. I have drawn a certain body of conclusions based on the analysis of a small number of people who are respected figures in their areas of expertise. I am a generalist and not a specialist, I am not a 'linear' thinker, and I have an elementary grasp of the complexities of modern life and the resulting interdependencies. But I do not know what will happen. I might also mention that I have learned to live with the fact that I will not likely know what will happen until it's over. In that way it's a lot like life in general, isn't it?
I DO understand the bet. I am betting a small (relatively speaking) amount of money, effort, time, planning and effort to inform others that Y2K will be some sort of problem. I don't know what will happen, how long problems will last or how bad the problems will ultimately be. But I'm betting reasonable preparations are in order. Those who disagree with me and refuse to take Y2K seriously are betting their relative comfort, ability to stay in their homes or neighborhoods, perhaps even their safety and their very lives, that they have nothing to worry about.
As to your analogy- I have mentioned before on this forum that there was some media attention a while back to certain 'abandoned' bank accounts in Switzerland, many of which were supposed to belong to European Jews who didn't make it out of WW2 alive. They saw enough of a threat to get their MONEY out, but not themselves and their families. And now we have people saying they'll take their money out of the bank in December 1999. Sounds like the same attitude prevails still.
-- (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
As succinctly as I can put it, I see two relevant aspects to "the bet".
First, you must evaluate what the stakes are and decide if you will bet based on odds or stakes. Personally, I'm a stakes gambler. If I am not willing to risk losing it, I don't wager it.
Second, as in Pascal's Wager, everyone will bet; either actively or by default.
-- Hardliner (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
Growing up in a small town, none of my k-12 schooling included much information about the Holocaust. In fact, my first real awareness occurred when I lived in Germany as a teenager, and my sister's class took a field trip to Dachau. She described it to me and and I was horrified.
I have been so tempted to discuss the issues already discussed on in this thread, but have been reluctant to do so because they are indeed so sensitive. I wish there were a way to know the various catalysts affecting Jewish people who emigrated when they had the chance to do so. Someone told me once, that they supposed only the wealthy had a chance to leave. Surely, there are people who visit this board who have grandparents who know some of these answers.
I'd like to learn more about this. Can anyone recommend specific books about people who got out in time?
-- FM (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
Many people do not realise that there is NO neutrality. Well, maybe I am pragmatic about food :-). However, for every important (eternal) thing, there is no neutrality!.
Christus Victor!, Deo Vindicie!,
-- brother rat (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
One big difference between Christalnacht 1936 and any potential similar incident happening to "right-wing, survivalist wackos"... whereas the Jews simply could not believe that they were marked for extermination, most patriots, right-winger wackos, survivalist, etc., KNOW that they are marked for eventual destruction, are extremely well-armed, have learned the lessons of the Holocaust, and will not be loaded into cattle cars in any other form than dead. Count on truckloads of government thugs in the same condition.
-- sparks (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
Call me naive, but with the exception of gov fears about already organized militia groups primarily in the NW, scattered prepping individuals and families across the country that make up .05 (1/2 of 1 percent) of the population, maybe, are of scant interest, compared to real problems (Y2K itself especially in urban areas, cyberterrorism, Russkies and Chinese, etc).
At most, they'll try to confiscate food, which I admit would be nasty enough.
It's not that anyone likes "us", but that the effort is not worth the return.
This thread isn't about the question, "are we the Jews," but, was it more reasonable of Jews to believe what they did about Hitler than for people all around the world to believe Y2K will be just a bump.
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 16, 1999.
And what if you don't bet? What if you just live?
-- Donna Barthuley (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
I'm sorry, I don't buy the premise gentlemen.. This is not pre WWII Germany...You are applying past episodes than will not fly today. You must deal with the vastness of the US....the diversity of belief and opinion...There will not be Germany during the war...nope...and that will be a good thing...All of you wishing for govt' intervention should think twice, and then think twice again.
-- Donna Barthuley (email@example.com), March 16, 1999.
"Urban Warrior"??? See 25 million body bags. Don't sell Slick Willie short, this guy will do anything to stay in power.
-- Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 16, 1999.
I spent a couple of years in Las Vegas, many evenings at the tables. This situation doesn't seem like a betting proposition to me.
The typical bettor asssumes that it's possible to calculate the respective probabilities of risk and gain. In an honest casino, every gambling activity (craps, roulette, blackjack, keno, etc.-- slots excluded!) allows this calculation. But Y2K doesn't.
No way exists to quantify the potential risks which a "win" willl avoid. Make any assumption you wish -- prepare for 3 weeks, 3 months, a year, TEOTWAWKI, whatever -- but the other side of the equation is absent. No one knows how to define a "win" here.
-- Tom Carey (email@example.com), March 17, 1999.
You will bet, even if only by default or, as you put it, just living.
You're absolutely correct that, "No one knows how to define a "win" here.", but it is also correct to say that no one knows how to define a loss here. All that is certain is that "something" will happen, and it doesn't look like it will be positive.
You still have to bet though; circumstances do not allow any other course.
Frustrating, isn't it?
-- Hardliner (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 1999.
Not to bet is to bet.
-- King of Spain (email@example.com), March 17, 1999.
This thread has a lot more going on that is germane than may appear at first roll of the die. "Bet" here simply means the need to make choices in the absence of certainty that have large outcomes at stake (indeed, no choice exercised is indeed a bet).
Now, I suspect most of us (put Milne/North in a diff category) have gauged preparations along the line of, "I'll do a lot but I will stop/slow down where the possible loss seems to match the potential gain." Or, to put it in the thread's context, we're betting that we can still live in Germany and get along with "Hitler"/Y2K.
But, getting a bit more real still with our preps, how much "time" should I subtract from my current job obligations and, perhaps, income in order to prepare, build skills, drill (taking that term broadly) for 'x' Y2K outcome? At the limit, should I quit and devote full-time to Y2K prep, including, BTW, new skills that may make it more possible to support family over next ten years post-Y2K? That is mainly hypothetical to me since I have great flexibility even now with my work, as owner, but time IS precious and there is much I am NOT doing that I could be re: next year.
Go back to the original example. Given what we now know, a German Jew needed to do WHATEVER was necessary to warn others AND get out. No matter where the getting out would end up and whether or not they got there with a penny in their pocket. Easy looking back, but as Jack pointed out, what about when they were looking forward? Seemed like a crazy wager at the time that would only result in breaking family ties, community ties, and losing all that one had "built" over decades.
I find the original question on this thread thoroughly compelling, Y2K germane and the ongoing dialogue about it useful to my preparations. Sincerely looking for your continued insights, people.
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 17, 1999.
What a great thread. I have two cents to throw in also, or perhaps I should say two intangibles.
Y2K is out of the box. The solutions, therefore, are also largely out of the box. In order to get over the DWGI hurdle you have to willingly place your thoughts and subsequent actions out of the box. Not many folks are going to do this until forced by events to do so, if they still can. How many during the 1930's did this versus didn't do this? May I suggest that the answer is related in some respects to human nature and how folks react to change. It hasn't changed since the 1930's either.
For Y2K, once you are out of the box you still have to do the hard work of preparation, perhaps learn new skills, rearrange the priorities of your existence, continually assess the situation and, heaven forbid, Think. I feel that most of the people I know that just don't get it are up against the Y2K Wall - the top of their comfort box. Will they take the lid off themselves as some of us have done, or will Y2K blow it off?
Human nature tells us that People Resist Change. Y2K has the potential to become the mother of all changes in our lifetime. People will not believe it until it can no longer be denied, on a personal level. Then comes being thrown out of the box, involuntarily. I had a thread running a while ago called "People and Resistance to change". This thread is tied to what people believe or refuse to believe and why. It is also bound up with this discussion in some ways. If you have a few minutes, may I suggest that you check it out since you may find it relates to the discussion on this thread in some interesting ways. Here is a link:
Another intangible that becomes important which I haven't seen mentioned on this thread yet: The will to live. This comes into play also. Read the following short thread to see if you agree.
-- Rob Michaels (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 1999.
Except, "the will to live," just posted, no one mentioned that the spending of money, time, effort, etc. would be a small price to pay if your LIFE is forfeit, as it was in Germany; not only by the Jews, but by the millions of German soldiers, party members and civilians who died as a result of the war and its aftermath. AND, the millions of others who saw the war clouds gathering across Europe , they paid a ' price ' too for NOT acting. Saw it all unfold during the thirties; people are the same today; may not trust their gov. to due the right thing, but feel POWERLESS TO STOP IT !!! Easier to say, " They won't let it happen, because they will suffer too". What's on TV tonight ?? Eagle ..... Circling.... Watching .... Remembering !!!
-- Harold Walker (email@example.com), March 17, 1999.
When I was a kid and read about pre-WWII Germany, and how some Jews got out early while others stayed and died, I promised myself that if anything nasty were ever on the horizon, I would do what it took to deal with it. I wouldn't close my eyes and go about my life hoping everything would be okay. I'd drop what I was doing and get the heck out.
Now we're all faced with that choice. Maybe everything will be okay. Maybe not. I'm not talking about martial law scenarios especially, just the whole situation.
Real life is a little more complicated than what I could envision back then. Due to a family obligation I can't take to the hills. But short of that I'm doing everything in my power to deal with the stormcloud which may be coming our way.
-- Shimrod (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 1999.
We've been here before, several times in fact. So you want to leave because things look bad? Where you gonna go? Where will you be better off? Where do you belong more than you belong here? Where will you have LESS problems than you will here? Where do you have more responsibilities than you do here? Exactly which country has a greater claim on your loyalty and your willingness to work to put things right than this one does? (international readers will please excuse my jingoism)
Think about this a while. And if it still scares you so much you want to leave instead of trying to fix what needs fixing, take off. We're better off without you no matter what happens.
Get some spine, people.
-- (email@example.com), March 17, 1999.
Tom Careysaid: No one knows how to define a "win" here.
I know how to define a win for me.
Winning for me is being alive in 2001 and 2002 and 2003 etc
Everything else is found money.
Ya pays your money and takes your chances. Only this time we need to add: And even if you DON'T pays your money, you still takes your chances.
The problem with the bet metaphor is that in betting there is an asumption that if you win the bet the looser will pay off. I'm "betting" that the loosers will NOT pay off. Not only will they not pay off, they will come and try to collect some of the money I placed on the bet. In other words the rules may be off.
This is the hard point for all of us who have lived lives by resonably constant rules. Not that the rules may change, but that the rules (or any thing we recognize as rules) may become nonexistant.
Potential examples abound.
- Got Green Eye Shades?
-- Greybear (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 1999.
We say in retrospect "Why didn't they just leave Germany??" We say in retrospect "Why didn't they leave Saigon??"
We say...but do we actually DO when faced with the potential of disaster in our own lives?? Why doesn't the woman leave after her husband takes out his frustration on her face? Why does someone ignore the molestation of their kid by an 'uncle' or nephew? Who the Heck knows??
We all have the capability of changing our surroundings, our companions, our life...if we so choose. For most of us, familiarity is comfort. Even if the perception is tacitly false...it's real to us. This innate failing of the human animal is what makes political psychology work. We want everthing to be the same or get better. Adolf made it work..very well. Father Joe made it work in Russia. And FDR made it work here!!! Witness the changearound in the 30's to fight the depression.
I like to gamble ... preferably in Vegas. the odds are good and so is most of the food. This time, the dealer holds all the cards, the food is not what I like, and the major trouble is.....EVEN IF I WIN MY GAMBLE, I LOSE!! I won't be comfortable anymore. I may not be warm. I may well be hungry. I may have to kill. But, by dang, I'll be alive! and so will my family. I guess after reading what I have written, I have to admit I agree with you, Greybear. Coming out with your life and family intact is winning after all.
-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 18, 1999.
Definition of "Win":
Celebrating my 30th anniversary, in ought 4.
Giving Christmas Presents to My 2 nephews, one neice on my side, my several neices and nephews and a grand neice on her side, Christmas Eve or Day, in ought 5.
Doing all of the above with all of my body parts still intact, and my faculties as collected as they are now.
This has always been the definition of a win. The risk stakes are all that has changed.
-- Chuck, a night driver (email@example.com), March 18, 1999.
Yes, exactly. We are betting our lives. Some of us are betting the lives of our children.
Even if y2k turns out to be a bump in the road winning is:
Facing the unthinkable, not shrinking away. Learning things that we may not have wanted to learn, about ourselves, our Country, our world, some really boring things that are quite mind numbing. Some scarey things that you just don't want to know. In short assessing the odds.
Taking positive action when faced with uncertainty. Investing time, and sacraficing in numreous ways. Standing firm & never looking back.
Going out on a limb, risking ridicule & worse to alert others to the bet. Knowing that faced with scorn you will do what you believe is right. Not motivated by pride, but concern for the well being of others. Being able to face yourself in the mirror each day.
Being willing to work towards sufficiency, instead of looking towards others for provision if TSHTF. (who really wants to know how to gut an animal?- NOT a city girl like me)
No matter the outcome, whether mild or severe I will have looked death in the face (again) and acknowledged, (after freaking out & much turmoil) that death does not own me. If I compromise my values & live I have lost. If I am loyal to God & yet still die I win.
If nothing happens, a mere blip on the screen, I still win. I have learned. I will have been responsible. In the future I will always be prepared for unexpected disaster (not in my nature folks, had to learn the hard way, as usual).
If we all die trying we can know we did our best. Everyone dies sometime, not everyone does so with honor.
Is y2k confusing, depressing, infuriating, scary, daunting, complex, simple, difficult, trying, etc.?????
Wading through the mess and not giving up, giving in, or turning away makes you a winner. The prize is more valuable than gold, and cannot be bought.
-- Deborah (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999.
My thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond to this thread. Wonderful, well thought out comments and further ideas to consider as the time grows so short.
-- Jack (email@example.com), March 18, 1999.
Yes, a wonderful thread. Several thoughts have occurred to me while reading it, maybe they'll spark some more ideas.
While I am very impressed with the pre-holocaust Jew analogy, my favorite has always been the stone arch bridge. We can survive a few stones, here and there, falling into the chasm below. How many falling stones does it take for the bridge to collapse? When I was growing up there was a child's game that consisted of packing pieces into a spring loaded playing board. Turns were taken removing pieces, the loser being the one the board exploded on when the piece being removed was the last straw, so to speak. Winning, in this case, consists of having a viable alternative life *off* the bridge.
Speaking of winning always reminds me of the vernacular translaton of the three laws of thermodynamics: 1) you can't win 2) you can't break even 3) you can't get out of the game.
And finally, I believe it was Nietzche (but anyone can correct me if I erred) who said "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards." That explains a lot.
-- Cowardly Lion (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999.
Hardliner, I appreciate the thoughts you are expressing, and I maintain that I am not playing a wagering game. I don't bet. Even in supposedly harmless human entertainment games I don't. I am preparing to live, whether or not a computer design flaw creates chaos. I am living my life now with an eye on the future. If you want to call that betting, well then, okay. Just so we know we have a disagreement on terms. I am thankful for every day of life I have. All of it has been important to me. More will be good too.
Feeling "lucky" every day, she stands atop the hill in her sheet.
-- Donna Barthuley (email@example.com), March 18, 1999.
Donna -- I think I need to plead guilty as the first one to bring up "betting" on this thread. All I really meant is that I want to make choices ("bets", if you will) that maximize my family's likelihood of continuing to do the living you're talking 'bout.
The way I understood Hardliner is that, with Y2K, one shouldn't think so much about "odds" (calculate stuff) as the "stakes" (life-or-death if the worst happens, even if the "chances" of it are very small).
So far as real gambling goes, I consider its explosion in our country a scourge.
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 18, 1999.
I gotcha BigDog...and thanks for the clarification. I too see living as deeply connected to choices, decisions. You know the old saying: "Not to decide IS to decide." I rather like the hands-on method, and don't give much sway to fortune and fate. Superstition by any other name to me,...a 'religion' of sorts. I suppose sometimes I defer or postpone making decisions, but then,...that's a choice too, isn't it.
"Life's a banquet, and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death. Live!", Auntie Mame, from a play by the same name, by Patrick Dennis.
-- Donna Barthuley (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999.
And just cos I love a good debate,...for Hardliner:
Why Pascal's Wager is Flawed
-- Donna Barthuley (email@example.com), March 18, 1999.
There's not any debate involved. Your "flawed" (couldn't resist the pun) reference simply describes the odds.
The essence of Pascal's Wager is that the stakes are such that the odds are irrelevant.
I also have a certain objectivity here since my orders are already cut! They read: "Hardliner, upon completion of your current tour of duty as a Human, you will proceed by any means available to Guard Company, USMC Detachment, Main Gate of Hell, for duty. You are authorized such delay enroute as will allow you to review your Life one time. Travel costs and expenses shall be charged to CMC, Account code 2000+."
-- Hardliner (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999.
**"upon completion of your current tour of duty as a Human, you will proceed by any means available to Guard Company, USMC Detachment, Main Gate of Hell, for duty." ***
This assumes facts not in evidence, but, if you're comfortable with it, alrighty then.
-- Donna Barthuley (email@example.com), March 18, 1999.
"This assumes facts not in evidence, but, if you're comfortable with it, alrighty then."
And that's the flaw in this perticular instance Hardliner. (So in this case, I myself bet on the odds, as I percieve the stakes as non-existant.)
But Y2K is very different, and you're right that we should bet on the stakes and not the odds.
-- Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999.
You're assuming that I haven't seen my orders!
You're not making sense. If you see the stakes as non existent, there can be no bet. Pascal's Wager is about the stakes (is He or isn't He? and what will happen to you if you believe or don't believe?). If you begin with the assumption that the stakes do not exist, then there can be no odds either. There can simply be no bet at all. If you begin with the assumption that the stakes do exist, then the odds don't make any difference. Pascal's Wager is possible for the Agnostic, but not for the Atheist or the Believer.
-- Hardliner (email@example.com), March 19, 1999.
I think it's better to think in terms of 'investments' rather than 'bets'. We each have a certain quantity of time, money, etc to devote to our lives between now and 1/1/00. We decide how much of that to invest in Y2K prep.
There's always an opportunity cost. For example, suppose I cash in my IRA and buy food, a woodstove and silver coins. No matter what happens, I incur the cost of the penalties and lose the opportunity to make money in the markets for the rest of the year. If I move to a rural area and get a lower-paying job, I lose the income I would have received if I'd stayed put, plus the moving costs and possible fractured relationships.
Imagine a graph with "Return on Investment" on the left side and "Y2K Severity" along the bottom. Most Y2K investments would show a bell- like curve on this graph. For example, silver coins will be a bad investment if Y2K is a BITR (Bump In The Road). They will be extremely valuable if the banking system fails but many people survive and need a form of alternative currency. And they will be worthless if we get to a "10+". The shape of the curve will be somewhat different for each investment. And the curve could be different for different people depending on their situation, location, etc.
Another point: people have different attitudes towards risk. Some people will prepare for a 10 even tho they think there's only a 1% probability it'll happen. Others won't see the need to prepare for a 10 even if they give it a 10% probability.
As usual, hesitation or not deciding is a decision to stay with our current 'investment mix'. And we make this decision every day.
-- Boss Tweed (BTweed@TammanyHall.ring), March 19, 1999.