Universal 1-10 Scale ????? For Newbies

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I was wondering if there is a 'universal' scale of 1-10 (at least for this forum). I have seen several different ones in the past several months. This is IMO important because when a discussion is revolving around where on the scale one stands, it should be clearly understood exactly what the scale is. Also, would a polly be like a 1 & a doomer a 10 --- or could a polly be as high as like a 4 or 5?

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999


Polly 1, doomer 10, me 9, and not a doomer.

-- SCOTTY (BLehman202@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

For me, Deborah, it's a 0 - 10 scale, with 0 a non-event and 10 TEOTWAWKI. A "polly is a 0 - 4, as they assume no ression, and no big problems. a "doomer" is a 7 - 10, as they(we?) assume severe problems and consequesnces. As I said in an earlier post, I am in the 7 - 10 range, with my "bets" on an 8.5 . Actually, with the Kosovo sitiuaton, I'm beginning to think about a 9 or 10 if russia/ China attack us for interfering there. IMHO, if the US is able to get its act together, and at least some other countries do to, than y2k can be a possible 6. But with all of the world's current problems, I'm becoming more pessimistic, not less. I think WWIII is a REAL possiblity. I'm so worried, I'm having trouble sleeping at times :( I'm continuing to stockpile, as i feel we'll need it...

-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), April 12, 1999.

Realists 0-3 Doomer - gloomers 8-10 (and then there are those hoping for an 11...stand up Ray!)

-- Y2K Pro (2@641.com), April 12, 1999.

This is a good question. It depends on what a 10 means. For example on the "What the Experts Think" survey site,


Ed Yourdon is a 8.5, Cory Hamasaki is a 7.0, and Gary North is a 10. However, a 10 is defined on that site as

Ranking of problem ranges from 0 for absolutely no concern, to 10 for a belief that the problem is so serious that major worldwide social, economic, and technological disruptions will occur.

So, on this scale, a 10, although probably TEOTWAWKI, ain't really that bad. Infomagic would probably be a 15 or 20.

-- a (a@a.a), April 12, 1999.

Y2k Pro,

I've read your posts with interest, but I've never seen you post a your opinion on a "worst case scenario."

Seriously, I'm not "baiting" you. I'd just like to know (I assume you're in the 0-3 category) what is expected to happen if it goes to 3, and on what grounds do you base that opinion? Thanks!

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

Dear Madam,

One natural question, is the 1 - 10 scale logarithmic? Given the extreme distance between a "bump in the road" and social collapse, I suggest a logarithmic scale may be more useful.


1 - Business is great. The U.S. continue the longest expansion in modern history. The economy hums along with low inflation, low unemployment, stable corporate earnings, low interest rates, etc. There are virtually no Y2K-related disruptions in basic services and no increase in corporate or personal bankruptcies.

2 - Mild economic slowdown. Minimal Y2K disruptions. Other economic factors (like energy price shocks, international woes) begin to slow the expansion. The market flattens as do corporate profits. The rate of job creation slows. The tight labor market creates the first signs of inflation. Most people do not notice the economic downturn. Jay Leno jokes about Y2K preparation on the Tonight Show.

3 - Moderate economic slowdown. Y2K causes problems for some government agencies and businesses, but mostly fixable glitches. There is an increase in bankruptcy filings for consumers and small businesses. The stock market starts sliding and there is a moderate loss of GDP. Some companies begin announcing layoffs. Some people are impacted, especially those who live "on the margin." The welfare rolls begin to climb as the working poor fall off the economic ladder. Y2K is seen as a minor contributing factor to the downturn.

4 - Serious economic slowdown. The stock market corrects and the U.S. has a signficant loss of GDP. Y2K problems cause headaches for some firms. Computer failures cause modest, but quickly resolved, problems in the supply chain. Basic services remain mostly intact, but local and state government struggle with routine issues like billing. Some areas are without basic services for 48 hours.

5 - Moderate recession. Y2K-related problems echo throughout the economy. A wizened expansion dies quickly of old-age, price shocks and Y2K-related problems. Interest rates increase as the Federal Reserve tries to stop inflationary pressures. Increased rates force some consumers and small businesses into bankruptcy. Consumer confidence ebbs. The market takes a 1000+ dive and starts a long, painful descent towards reasonable valuation. Many people feel the economic effects, particularly those with variable rates loans. A few areas suffer basic services problems, but these are resolved within a few days. Y2K problems are much more severe.

6 - Severe recession. The wheels fall off the wagon. After a historic expansion, the U.S. gets a crash course in hard times. Unemployment jumps as the "temporary" workforce finds itself out of a job. Inflation and interest rates begin to climb. The market plummets, but finds a stable bottom. Welfare rolls swell and all levels of government begin to run deficits. Taxes increase as governments attempt to "buy" consumer confidence and jump start economic activity. Y2K-related problems cause some disruptions of basic services and many hard-to-solve problems for public and private organizations. Basic services are down for up to a week in some areas. Y2K problems causes civil unrest in some urban areas.

7 - Severe long-term recession. At this level, the stock market has trouble finding a bottom. Foreign investors flee U.S. equities. Domestic investors move into fixed instruments. Several Fortune 1000 companies file for bankruptcy protection. All the woes of level 6 lasting 12 to 18 months. Y2K problems are extensive. Some agencies cannot function. Some areas experience basic services outages of up to two weeks. Nearly all areas are impacted by some level of Y2K- related problems. The President orders National Guard units into some areas of serious disruption.

8 - Near meltdown. Y2K problems combine with public panic to create a short term catastrophe. The markets are closed and there are problems with basic financial services. There is extensive civil unrest in some large urban areas. At this point, the economic problems are becoming secondary to the social problems. Some areas are without basic services for 30 days.

9 - Depression. If the U.S. experiences extended level 8 disruptions, the economy collapses. Social order is restored, but inflation, unemployment and interest rates move into double digits. The economic malaise lasts longer than 30 months.

10 - Complete social collapse. The fall of the United States into anarchy. Depression with signficant social conflict. Lawlessness, disorder, food riots, etc.


Mr. Decker

-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), April 12, 1999.

Deborah, I believe the Washington DC 2000 group (Bruce Webster) is as "universal" as necessary for discussions on this forum: http://wdcy2k.org/survey/

I have waffled quite a while around 5-6 or so. My level of preps seem to be less than most people on this forum, but since it is more than virtually anyone I know off the forum, that must make me a gloomer. At this time, I expect the problems to be primarily economic, but I'm more comfortable with also ensuring a level of self-sufficiency that smooths over basic problems with the infrastructure as well.

To me, a polly is someone for whom personal preparation doesn't matter. I think individual prep is appropriate by level 3, so to me a polly must be 2 or less. I see doomer as 9 or higher.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), April 12, 1999.

Y2K Amateur,

I'm a 71/2 to 8.

Still waiting for your assessment!!


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

I have long pondered that same consideration. I believe, at first reading, that I approve of your scale. The logrithmic deterioration lends itself to the idea that the worse things are, the more likely they are to get worse and to stay worse for a longer period of time.

Unfortunately, I still find myself preparing for an 8-10, while hoping for a 1.

-- Jon Williamson (jwilliamson003@sprintmail.com), April 12, 1999.

Y2K Amateur,

Do you have the GUTS to tell us where you stand on this scale?

Ray, Not a doomer but wisely preparing!

-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

"I've read your posts with interest, but I've never seen you post a your opinion on a "worst case scenario."

FM, my greatest fear is the one of self-fulfilling prophecy - specifically a bank run. The financial industry, despite apparent well preparedness, is still at the mercy of the paranoid gloomers and those they influence. The banking industry must have enough reserve cash on hand to thwart a run. Although extra cash is being printed, the amounts do not seem to be enough. When rational people like Flint say that he will be withdrawing cash, you know we have a problem.

If a bank run can be avoided, I sincerely believe that the date change will pass into infamy as the largest unnecessary excretion of methane since Rush Limbaugh got a radio show.

"On January 1, 1999 they will experience many more, and it will be much more difficult to sweep them under the rug. On April 1, 1999 we will all watch anxiously as the governments of Japan and Canada, as well as the state of New York, begin their 1999-2000 fiscal year; at that moment, the speculation about Y2K will end, and we will have tangible evidence of whether governmental computer systems work or not."-- Ed Yourdon

"So, of course I want to see y2k bring down the system, all over the world. I have hoped for this all of my adult life." -- Gary North

-- Y2K Pro (2@641.com), April 12, 1999.

...so that Ray's tiny little mind will comprehend, I'm a 1 (2 if there is a bank run)

-- Y2K Pro (2@641.com), April 12, 1999.

"...so that Ray's tiny little mind will comprehend, I'm a 1 (2 if there is a bank run)"

That's both an interesting and a telling statement.

You say your only fear is that there will be bank runs due to the prospect of a "self-fulfilling prophecy." Yet, you only go up one notch on your scale which seems to indicate you've given very little thought to the ramifications of what a run on banks would have on the economy and the people of the U.S. Haven't you ever even considered the ripples that would occur?

You might want to consider this. There will be a run on banks. The percentage of those necessary to cause this event has already been reached. Those that know and understand the greater implications of Y2k have made their decision to pull out "some" money. Those that aren't sure are sure ready to act "if" they see a move in that direction. Those that don't have a clue will at least notice the news coverage, the lines at the banks and the overall climate of fear regarding the stability of the banking system and they'll just panic.

Once that occurs then it will only ripple throughout the rest of the economy, tanking the overall confidence of the consumer in every area but especially the stock market and the real estate market.

Y2k Pro, I am equally as fearful regarding the so called "self-fulfilling prophecy," however, I understand that this issue is a direct result of a fear placed into people by a lack of foresight in the development of technology. Unfortunately, because of that lack of foresight people who would not worry about the banking system have a fear that they wont be able to access their own money. Who created that fear is the real culprit, not the "self".

So, the "self-fulfilling prophecy" you and I are fearful of was caused directly by people who either manage or actually design, create, program and implement information technology. Bottom line, your industry caused this fear, Y2k Pro. Your industry is responsible for what I do believe is coming -- a run on banks.

I'm a graphics professional. I don't even know why I even need to worry about Y2k. I didn't compound a design flaw into a worldwide, interconnected and interdependent system of information technology. Heck, I do my work on a Macintosh G3.

Nope. That was the result of people that do what you do, Y2k Pro. However, I don't hate you or any other person that perpetuated this problem. Why? Because your human and I'm sure you are equally responsible for your share of bugs in any system you work on. In fact, isn't it true that every line of code you change may well create additional bugs?

So, in my view, there is no "self-fulfilling prophecy" because this situation was created through intentional, cost-cutting, bug replicating, management decisions on all levels. I've chosen to call it the "IT programmer created Y2k and they did it to me - fulfilling prophecy".

Pushing your fear of a "self-fulfilling prophecy" on people like me as a way to shift blame from people like you only shows how "pass the buck" has played a role in the decisions made in IT Technology.

You're correct to have fears but I think you should ponder why those fears exist a little more, don't hold yourself up as an "expert" in a field where there really are NO experts, and don't blame the ordinary people who place their own, hard earned money into a financial reserve system that is not completely stable if they decide to take a little out for insurance if there are "disruptions."

Darn, the fractional reserve system ... let's not even go there.

Mike ==========================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

Nice scale. Doesn't do your previous rep anygood at all. most people can only generate a scale with the things they can conceptualize. This might make you a Doombrood (tm) person yet!



Who will now remove his tongue from his cheek, and finish his lunch pasta.

-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 12, 1999.


Good post, you may be completely and entirely correct.

-- Y2K Pro (2@641.com), April 12, 1999.


Thanks for responding. With the Red Cross advice to "prepare for Jan 1, 2000 with a full tank of gas and cash in one's pocket," and the expected repetition of that advice from the media (unless a retraction is forthcoming from the Red Cross) in the days before the turn of the century, don't you EXPECT bank "runs?" I don't see how they can be avoided--short of rationing. It's like the folks who don't prepare for a hurricane until they know it's bearing down on them. Your thoughts?

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

Hey, y2kpro, I've got a question for you. Do you feel that what the president has been n doing lately, such as the air campain against Serbia, the whole monica Lewinsky thing, and in general his lying and evil deeds, is a problem? What I'm trying to ask is do you feel that his actions should be viewed as a threat, and do you feel that the people today are acting in an evil and self absorbed manner?? I hope you answer.

-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), April 12, 1999.


Make it simple ...

1) Bump ...

5) Global depression ... (local economies up or down ... depending)

10) Global thermonuclear war

... Then fill in the blanks.

Diane, still a "5"

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Hi Di, we agree again, yes 5 I think.

-- dick of the dale (rdale@coynet.com), April 12, 1999.

Frankly Richard,

I just don't see how we get away with less than a "5" globally.

We are no longer alone, nor isolated. What happens to some, happens to all ... with various degrees of local and personal impact.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Michael Taylor commented:

"Darn, the fractional reserve system ... let's not even go there."

Mike, we created the Fractional Reserve banking system and over the years managed to desecrate it as we have many other things.The reserve requirements have been lowered to accomodate the massive credit bubble we are in. Some say after all is said and done that there is really only 1 1/2% to 2% of total deposits available to cover withdrawls. This is a sham foisted upon the American public and as in ALL shams the piper must eventually be paid.

First come, first served.

Eventually the sheeple will wake up.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

Dear Reader,

Thus far, a rather positive response to my scale. Personally, I disagree with a global depression a "5" on the scale. It put a world- wide economic catastrophe in the middle of the damage scale. I think it belongs on the high end.

To the interested reader, I am still mulling my position on the scale... but I promise to post soon and explain my position and the thought process behind it.

Mr. Decker

-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), April 12, 1999.


It's really a matter of deciding what defines the end points (extremes), then "what" constitutes halfway in between.

Your midpoint of a "5 - Moderate recession", seems "light" to me. (Its a bell curve thing).


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Well, I'm not exactly a newbie, but here goes....

If we were looking at Y2K in the U.S. alone, I would say probably a 2- 3. The problem is, it's global. Then of course there is the current "war", Palestine wanting to declare Statehood, Pakistan and North Korea playing with missiles, Russia and China forming a new alliance... (did you see the latest New York Times article titled "Hostility to U.S. Is Now Popular in Moscow?" I heard that an American was beaten over the weekend in Moscow, but I'm still looking for verification.) Anyway, when I add all of the current events to the GLOBAL Y2K picture, I come away with more of a 7-8 scenario. If you add possible acts of terrorism, domestic and abroad, who knows?

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), April 12, 1999.

Ms. Squire,

In my scale, I tried to find a midpoint where there was a significant impact, but well short of the more extreme scenarios. Insofar as a bell curve, I have do not have scenario probabilities calculated.

My own conclusion about Y2K-related problems is little more than an educated guess. With all due respect, putting global depression at the midpoint seems to skew the scale toward the more pessimistic. Upon greater reflection, I sort of like my scale from idealistic to fatalist.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), April 12, 1999.

Ah, but Decker, your scale is a logarithmic "idealistic to fatalist" one. Sort of places more "weight" at the top end. Just a tad confusing.

People have always found the earthquake Richter scale analogies "confusing."

The bell curve is "simpler" and more appropos to economic situations. Rather like white -> grey -> black. On average.

But life is rarely "average." Usually unexpected, and often off the charts.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Hi All,

Thank you for your thoughtful responses!!!!

Here is the scale Brooks was referring to:

0- No real impact

1 - Local impact for some enterprises

2 - Significant impact for many enterprises

3 - Significant market adjustment (20%+ drop); some bankruptcies

4 - Economic slowdown; rise in unemployment; isolated social incidents

5 - Mild recession; isolated supply/infrastructure problems; runs on banks

6 - Strong recession; local social disruptions; many bankruptcies

7- Political crises; regional supply/infrastructure problems and social disruptions

8 - Depression; infrastructure crippled; markets collapse; local martial law

9 - Supply/infrastructure collapse; widespread social disruptions and martial law

10 - Collapse of U.S. government; possible famine

Is this what most people here are referring to?

I personally am at a 5-6, I'm of course hoping for a 0, and I'm preparing for the worst case scenario I can, on instinct. This is a riot if you know me, because I never prepare for worst case scenarios. I'm a risk taker...this is way off for me, but I think it comes down to taking risks with my kids - I refuse, anyway I digress.

My worst case scenario isn't much different 5-6 BUT add poor social reactions, unrest, violence, these are the things I just don't think can be predicted. This is where things can slide into TEOTWAWKI. I said 'can' not WILL. I don't know.

I was preparing for a 4 or 5 when I first GI, then I started realizing just how much a** covering is going on, sloppy reporting, PR, etc. I think that there's no way to get a truly accurate picture till the time comes, which is why I'm preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

If y2k's a bump. Nothing lost, much gained. No regrets.

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Yes, that was the scale that I was using, and I am an 8.5. I stick by that. How about everyone else?

-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), April 14, 1999.

9 in many countries. 8 here. Overall, 8.5.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), April 14, 1999.

I have no problem with the logarithmic Decker scale; in fact it is a more accurate representation of the possible events. I may be regarded as optimistic by you, but my worst case scenario is only 4.

On the other hand, I recall a science fiction story about a planet in a multiple-star system that only had night every 2000 years; the civilization was almost destroyed each time by the scared people, in spite of the scientists warnings that they should just relax and wait for the sunrise. Being optimistic and making sure that no one perceives Y2K as a threat may be enough to avoid larger implications.

Another interesting view expressed by Fred Hoyle back in the late '60s or early '70s is that if technological civilization doesn't collapse soon it will collapse irreversibly, because we depend more and more on technology to create the newer technology and we loose the knowledge to do more basic tasks. So you doomers out there may be the real optimists!

-- TGD (tgdallas@usa.net), April 14, 1999.


That science fiction story you're talking about is "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov. The plot is also a little different from what you said.

The scientists knew that soon, all the planet's suns would set at the same time, and the scientists knew that each time that had happened in the past (once every few thousand years), civilization had collapsed from panicking people who took that darkness as a sign the world was ending. They wanted to warn the public so the public wouldn't be frightened by the temporary darkness, but the government tried to paint the scientists as some kind of religious cult group.

The public never did find out ahead of time that darkness was coming, nor that the darkness would only be temporary. When darkness came, frightened people who had no idea what was going on started burning homes, books and anything else to provide light for themselves.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 14, 1999.

Kevin, how creepy...........................

-- Lisa (chills@arms.neck), April 14, 1999.


Really! I've told someone on here before that "Nightfall" is a story that's not about Y2K that has everything in the world to do with Y2K...

As for the topic of this thread, a Y2K scenario I've seen on the 'Net that sounds quite plausible to me is one by Jo Anne Slaven. Gary North, who is a 10...


...described Jo Anne's scenario as a 7.5. It's in Cory Hamasaki's Weather Report #99:



Scenario ----------- Jo Anne's --------

Thinking About a Possible Future

by Jo Anne Slaven

I think that the people in this group use the hurricane/earthquake examples because those "disasters" are ones that the ordinary person can easily imagine and relate to in some way. While this may be a good starting point in explaining the possible outcome of this whole mess, I have to agree that it's not going to be at all like that.

I picture more of a "creeping catastrophe". Putting aside the possibility of violence and looting for the moment, here's one way I can see it playing out.

November and December 1999 is panic time. The general public scrambling desperately for non-perishable foods, candles, and generators. I don't think that the people participating in the "1999 supply riots" will necessarily be thinking long-term. But they *will* want their 2-weeks worth of food and cash "just in case".

January 1 - 10 is blackout time for a lot of people. Obviously, that means no banks, no phones, etc. But somehow, the brave men in the hydro companies manage to bring power back up (sort of) in most places.

January 11 - 31 is *major* annoyance time. The ATMs are off-and-on. Power and phones are off-and-on. Your bank may be out of business. Fuel supplies are sporadic. Your water bill is screwed up, and you have to spend 4 hours in line to talk to someone about adjusting it. All you can find at the grocery store is mustard and plastic forks. The company that you work for had declared a brief lay-off until things settle down.

February 1 to May 31 is depression time. Nobody is buying all of those useless products on the market today (like beanie babies and leather sofas), so a lot of manufacturers and retailers have shut down. Not to mention hotels, restaurants and service companies. And the banks - they won't be doing too well either. Lots and lots of people out of work.


June 1 to September 30 is "cautiously hopeful" time. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are available, and everyone is looking forward to the abundance of foods that will be in the stores come the fall. There won't be enough to go around, but people are ignoring that for the moment.

October 1 to Lord-knows-when is Serious Shortage time (and a continuation of depression time). Shoes, clothing, fresh fruits and vegetables - anything that is normally imported from developing countries is in *very* short supply. And expensive. Not that the unemployed masses could afford to buy anything anyway. Perhaps more important, raw manufacturing materials from other countries are non- existant. As are the foreign markets for finished goods.

And so it goes on. Bad times building on bad times. And remember that I left looting and violence out of the equation. Also omitted were martial law, nuclear "accidents" and disease.

I could be wrong though. It could be worse. (with acknowledgements to infomagic)

Jo Anne, who needs to buy more candles


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 14, 1999.

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