In Defense of Mr. Decker : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I read below the malacious post entitled "The Real Decker Shows His Colors," wherein BigDog seems to be actually panting in print. Despite his fancy schooling, BigDog is a miserable little puppy whose yelping excites only pity. When he comes face to face with someone apparently more logical than himself, he paces in circles, foams at the mouth, and bites the hand of reason.

Perhaps he and others of this ilk find Decker insufferable because they cannot bear to listen to opposing arguments presented in wholly rational and sometimes even elegant forms. Moreover, I do not see that there is any great transgression in posting to Y2K forums other than this. Indeed, this board has been passably decent because it generally welcomes a wide range of views across the entire spectrum, often intelligently expressed.

Mr. Decker's is arguably one of the more thoughtful and refreshing of the recent voices to post here. Certainly no one can assert that he has been other than consistently courteous. Besides, he seems genuinely willing, indeed eager, to engage in free, zesty, robust debate, cordially expressed. Finally, I have yet to see him resort to crude ad hominem attacks, even when the target of such.

I should like to encourage Mr. Decker to continue posting here, and to ignore, if possible, the laughably feeble volleys aimed at his character and thinking.

-- Appreciative (x@x.x), May 06, 1999


Then why the betrayal, appreciative (whoever you are - Decker?), it matters not a whit how courteous you are as you stab someone in the back. Decker has just been caught bare-faced flat-out telling his cronies on another board his antics on this board. Or are you accusing BD of making this up?

Sorry - he's crossed the line - once you lose your trust in someone it's gone. Decker's gone.

You are way out of line here.

-- Andy (, May 06, 1999.

Thanks Andy,

Fuck you, "appreciative" [triple x, huh?] I have had enough of Decker's bullshit. This ends now!

No more entertaining his banal posts, no more "gentleman's" debate.

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.


Do you have an address for the Debunking Y2K board?

-- R. Wrightdontwannafightatthe (, May 06, 1999.

BD & Andy: (BD, at least you should understand these since you've read them before:)

Let the dead bury their dead. (Let's move on. Focus.)

Let the tares grow up with the wheat. Try to cut them out, and you'll cut down the good crop growing. We'll sort them out when the harvest comes.

Trying to filter all the a-holes out of your way, especially as pre- millennial tension grows? Forget it -- forget them -- don't feed the trolls!

-- jor-el (, May 06, 1999.

The Debunking Y2K Webboard is right here.

Ya'll come on down and join the discussion.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 06, 1999.

Just what I needed. Not only does it seem to be a battle between forums, it's even more name calling. I'll lurk for tidbits Poole but I don't really need most of that crap. (Note: I didn't go very far down the threads)

-- R. Wright (, May 06, 1999.

Thanks for the link to "Debunking Y2k" forum. What a sick mess! They're even more OT than we get at our worst. Not a lot of De-B going on. Makes me feel better about the difficulties we have keeping a quality environment -- look who's crashing into it!

-- jor-el (, May 06, 1999.

Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot forum has just as much good info even more. I ungot it cuz of them.

-- Had enough (EX@DOOMER.GLOOMER), May 06, 1999.

Yeah, Biffy's a good one, too.

Actually, the number one source of info at both site is probably CPR. When this whole Y2K thing finally blows over, he deserves a medal for his efforts.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (, May 06, 1999.

"Sorry - he's crossed the line - once you lose your trust in someone it's gone. Decker's gone.

You are way out of line here. "

Oh...I'm sorry...did I miss the post where you were named "Board Cop"?

-- Andy is a never ending source of amusment (, May 06, 1999.

Anyone who considers double-dealing and sneering admirable character traits has my utter disdain. And please try to remember Marie Antoinette was elegant too. To think my Sweetie risked his life in two God-forsaken countries to defend these people's right to be as contemptible as they choose! Pah!

-- Old Git (, May 06, 1999.

I think Decker posted his own feeble "support" under Appreciative.

From what I have read, Decker doesn't need "defending". Has anyone seen Appreciative "defend" or post anything else before?


-- Mr.Kennedy (, May 06, 1999.

Ah, on the the second post.

First, thank you for the kind words.

Second, what is all this talk of betrayal? Because I post here does not make me a card-carrying member of the Y2K Preparation League. My first real post here, Y2K and Risk, was a long essay on why I thought Y2K was NOT going to be doomsday. Where's the double dealing?

Because I have been helpful to some pessmists on preparation issues, I must swear my allegiance to Y2K TEOTWAKI and only post shelf lives on the EY forum...? Rubbish.

Let me cut and paste one comment from my earlier response:

"This thread is not about what I wrote, but what people suspect are my motives... my "true colors." My integrity needs no defense. Not here. Not today. Not from those who hide behind the walls of anonymity. If you want to take my measure, just stop by the house. I'll put coffee on, or even cook supper if you stay on. I may, however, expect better manners than I have seen here on occasion."

I think there are pessimists on this forum worth defending. This does not include the people who are so busy engaging in personal attacks.

Old Git,

I realize many appreciate you providing the online, one-post-a-time version of Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living. Out of respect, I want to politely ask you refrain from your attacks. This appeal would be lost on Andy and Big Dog, but if you have country manners. you may hear what I am saying. Now, can we be neighborly about this?


-- Mr. Decker (, May 06, 1999.

That was not me who posted above using my name but some coward who wants to smear. I don't use those kind of profanities at all, let alone on this forum.

Thank you.

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.

Now, this IS me posting to "Appreciative". You are entitled to appreciate Decker as much as you want. It doesn't change my opinion of him, which obviously won't bother you.

But, if you are so appreciative, why don't you post using your "real" regular posting name? Or are you also a coward? Maybe you're the one who impersonated me here on your own thread? Or was that just one of the Biffy trolls? Maybe you, Poole?

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.


I am happy that CPR found an other place for his stupid ranting. I feared he would make his home here after his customary ranting place at SMU is falling apart.

-- Rickjohn (, May 06, 1999.

So many times the messenger is attacked. Knock yourself out guys, I'm still here and I hope Mr. Decker doesn't go away either. I too appreciate his thoughtful posts. I guess while we're attacking, I'll say that Old Git talks like a two year old (not the wisdom of her years), Diane thinks more of herself than most do (Narcissus), and none (used to be Chris) has the intelligence of a dog, the little chihuahua.

-- Maria (, May 06, 1999.

BigDog -- Whew! Thanks for clearing that up. I couldn't imagine that was you in the earlier post. Looks like we're back to the impersonations garbage.

-- David (, May 06, 1999.

Dear Maria, If you must compare Chris to a dog could it be a BIG DOG,please.

-- Chris (, May 06, 1999.

Maria, thanks. Big Dog, I suspected an imposter in that you do not use profanity... although you have fallen into a name-calling habit. I also suggest you start using a real name and email if you plan to confront other for the lack thereof.


-- Mr. Decker (, May 06, 1999.

"Gentleman" (Ha!) decker is an agent provocateur of the most oily kind. His posts today are very revealing. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could spit.

-- Andy (, May 06, 1999.

I don't post in this forum particularly often, and so I don't have any kind of alliance or "friendship" with any of the forum "regulars" here, though I do recognize quite a few "names," of course. When I do post, it is usually about Y2K and economic matters; I have a couple of years of graduate business school under my belt, including finance and economics courses, though my real training is in American literature (doctorate from Illinois). Obviously my technical background is very limited; I've tried to supplement it during my Y2K research over the past year, including reading some Capers Jones books on software metrics. For what little it's worth, my own rating of the Y2K problem (on the WDCY2K scale) fluctuates from 6 to 8; currently it's about a 6 for the U.S., and about an 8 for the world generally. My evaluations are based primarily upon perceived economic threats.

That's all said just to explain who I am and where I stand. Now, over the months this forum has been very interesting and informative to me; it has been a pleasure to get the opinions of mainframe programmers and systems analysts, embedded systems technicians and engineers, economists, journalists writing on Y2K, etc.--even Peter Gauthier's valuable perspectives from Japan! The wide range of views has made it lively and instructive. So it's discouraging that there sometimes seems to be more heat than light lately.

I've always found Mr. Decker's posts (like those of Davis, Flint, etc.) thoughtful and well written, even when I vigorously disagreed with him about specific economic conditions and threats (or threw Yardeni up to him!). Likewise, I have enjoyed the long, reasoned posts of "BigDog," not only because of his 20 years of IT experience but also because his Great Books background (and love of Dostoevsky!) resonates with my own literary interests. So it's discouraging to see these intelligent gentlemen squabbling, with allies lining up on both sides--our own Balkanization of the forum.

It's not my place to advise anyone on the evils of temper, especially since I have a bad temper myself and frequently (and most regrettably) succumb to it. Let's just say that Y2K has many people on edge; that there's still a lot of conflicting and ambiguous data out there; that rumors abound; that it's easy and all too human to get locked into a fixed perspective; that if Ed Yourdon, GartnerGroup, or the Senate doesn't have a crystal ball on this issue, then none of the rest of us has either; and, finally, that there's logical room for many different interpretations and contemplated possibilities, since nobody can predict which specific systems will fail and which specific domino effects will result. Perhaps God knows, but He doesn't seem to be saying.

I don't spend as much time on this forum as I once did, but I still try to read and understand the arguments of many different posters, all the way from the "bump in the road" people to the TEOTWAWKI people. People are entitled to their own perspectives and their own level of personal preparations. Obviously, I give the most credence to those who can support their specific arguments with publicly available data; but, as noted above, reliable data can be hard to come by these days. Even Sen. Bennett bemoaned its lack; and if the Senate Y2K committee is having trouble getting reliable info, then so are the rest of us, especially given the amount of "spin" from all sides these days. That doesn't excuse us from looking, however.

So, quite simply, there's room for many different viewpoints. It would be nice to focus as much as possible on ideas, reasons, and evidence, not on personalities and "winning" arguments; this is, after all, a forum, not an arena. The enemy is Y2K, not each other.

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.

"It would be nice to focus as much as possible on ideas, reasons, and evidence, not on personalities and "winning" arguments".

Well said, Don. However, if people are duplicitous and sneaky-deceitful, we can't focus on ideas, reason and evidence. Decker HIMSELF believes that we are fanatics (you qualify, believe me, because you expect an "8"), etc, etc, but he pretends on this board to have nicey-nicey conversations where he is "open" to various points of view.

By contrast, I don't believe he is a fanatic, nor Flint, Davis, Maria, etc.

Decker is a big one for using language correctly. Now he'd like to say that "fanatic", for instance, was humor, wit, etc. That's a lie. If you read the post on the other thread, including its original mocking of Yourdon and other "issues" we've been trying to discuss fairly on this forum for months, I would wonder how you could come to the conclusion that this is about "winning". It isn't on my part. I remain sincerely surprised at how naive I was and honestly disgusted.

Of course, you may well differ. Chuck and others obviously do and think Decker's a real swell person. I'm only saying this: understand that I am not trying to go one-up on Decker, Poole or anyone here. I am trying to point out that they have a CLEAR agenda that is destructive and deceitful (cf the Debunking Forum, BIFFY, etc. Why don't you go there and read their posts?)

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.

Troll Maria, you're such an idiot:

"and none (used to be Chris) has the intelligence of a dog, the little chihuahua."

Never have been Chris, you're not even close. You would be surprised to find out who I really am. I hope your "guesses" about the outcome of Y2k are better than your guesses about forum handles.

-- none (none@none.none), May 06, 1999.

Poole says CPR deserves a medal for his efforts. Uh huh. Yeah whatever you say. Sure thing. CPR has filled 7 megs of hard drive space with files on over 100 so-called Y2k extremists. CPR by his own admission has lost $100,000 in sales because of time he's devoted to his cause he calls 'the right.'

Now we know Poole approves of this kind of extremism too.

-- Carol S. (alpha@beta.zeta), May 06, 1999.

Carole -- You're exactly right. The problem is, actually, that most people are on this forum don't really believe that people who sound as "intellectual" as Decker or Poole are intent on wrecking serious conversation. It's easy to see it when someone spouts profanities but harder when it comes in the veneer of slickness. But anyone who pays attention to the simple things that these guys have stood for all along about Y2K should "get it". I'm still amazed that it isn't utterly obvious to everyone.

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.

Well, Big Dog, maybe they can read.

"Given the continuing positive news and the energy required to sustain alarm... I think the Y2K "survivalists" are either wearing down or "going to ground." The humor (KIA ads) may also be disheartening. There is nothing more frustrating to a fanatic than not being taken seriously."

This comment was meant for the extremists... and they exist on this forum. If you want, I'll collect a 'greatest hits' album for you. Cut one will be the post entitled: "Y2kPro and Norm are ignorant fools and idiots! Both of them are child molesters!"

Of course, you have a wonderful double standard, my Christian friend. Attacks like this go unanswered by you, but I am tagged as the Great Deceiver.

"For the record, I have enjoyed some of the work over at the EY forum... and I do not think the pessimists warrant ridicule or abuse."

As you aptly point out, I say what I mean. I went onto the Debunker board and said there were "doomers" worth listening to. And I return to find you frothing. The statement about Y2K fanatics is clearly qualified in my post with my observation about thoughtful pessimists.

Bark all you want, Big Dog, but I think Don Florence can read without your interpretation.

By the way, Don, let's talk investing. You asked about market valuation and a correction. For the first time in my investing career, I am plotting a few October-November shorts. Like to hear your thoughts.


-- Mr. Decker (, May 06, 1999.

Decker --- At least you're starting to be slightly more honest in a post like that. Keep it up and who knows what might happen?

-- BigDog (, May 06, 1999.


No, I confess I didn't go over to the "Debunking Y2K Board," if only because the very title suggests that people over there have already made up their minds about an issue that I consider still fluid, unresolved, and open to serious debate. But I did read your snippets of Mr. Decker's post on an earlier thread. I'll grant that his use of the term "fanatic" was unfortunate; it is often sad human nature to consider a "fanatic" as anyone who believes otherwise than oneself believes. But I got the impression (rightly or wrongly) that he was reserving the term for extreme "survivalists," people who are a straight 10 (or higher, if that were possible) on the WDCY2K scale: North, Milne, Mingham (a.k.a. "Infomagic"), etc. Now, while I do read and consider opinions that North, etc., write about Y2K, I also think that their views are extreme and unwarranted by published data (or at least by the data I've personally seen). There really are lots of people out there who would like to see our bad old world as presently constructed come to an end (North is clearly one of them), and that attitude may affect their views on Y2K, consciously or unconsciously. Of course, as the prosecutor in "The Brothers Karamazov" noted, psychology is a knife that cuts both ways: those with a vested interest in, and strong attachment to, the status quo are likely to rationalize Y2K the other way, that is, presume that it's only a bump in the road. Be that as it may, Mr. Decker should have restrained from using a red flag term like "fanatic" even if he was referring just to the Northian types and even if he was posting on a board where he could assume plenty of sympathy for his views. After all, Joe Boivin (former Y2K project manager for the Canadian Imperial Bank and currently president of the Global Millennial Foundation) also gives Y2K a "10" (worldwide) in the latest Kelly survey--and although de Jager dismisses him as a "minor player," nobody (to the best of my knowledge) has ever called Boivin a fanatic. Wrong, quite possibly. Fanatic, no.

The very use of such terms as "fanatic" tends to preclude further reasoned debate. Even with North, people should take issue with, and center their debate on, the documents he posts, not North himself. (Definitely click through and read each document in its entirety; don't rely on North's "comments" and extracts, which may give a less than full or less than objective picture!)

Anyway, as I recall, Mr. Decker did say that Y2K "pessimists" should not be ridiculed or abused--and "pessimist" is probably the category under which most Yourdon forum members fall, for better or for worse. One recalls Clare Booth Luce's famous statement: "I have found that the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is that the pessimist is generally better informed." A knowledge of world history tends to confirm the frequent truth of her observation, but whether it will apply specifically to Y2K remains to be seen. Personally I hope not, but I have my doubts (and hence my own rating of the problem).

What all of Mr. Decker's motives are, I don't know. I've found that his posts on economic issues have been uniformly intelligent, and therefore I assume that at least one of his motives is to inform. Yes, I often disagree with specific points: he tends to emphasize, say, positive factors like low unemployment and low inflation; I emphasize negative factors like record consumer debt, record personal bankruptcy rates, the drawing down of savings, etc. And of course, there's plenty of room for debate on just how Y2K will impact various things economically. There are times when I do wish that Mr. Decker would go to Dr. Yardeni's website and spend a few days perusing the many pages of arguments and evidence that Yardeni has spent almost two years in gathering in order to support his (Yardeni's) view that Y2K will have serious economic impacts, especially on supply chains. But regardless, what I can say is that never have I found Mr. Decker "inventing" anything in his own economic arguments that would discredit him.

I don't know Mr. Decker personally; what I try to evaluate are the arguments and evidence as contained in his posts on this forum.

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

I'm not a market player (lack of funds, for starters!) My interest in economics is historical and philosophical; I used to teach the American Civilization sequence at the U. of Illinois. Two of my favorite sources for economic info are, as you might guess, Yardeni's website ( Business School rates it the best on the Web) and the Princeton Economic Institute (, which is one of the best international forecasting units. (Japan rates PEI as THE best, though we might not be too dazzled by Japan's economic opinions these days!) Both Yardeni and PEI are predicting major market corrections this year; I think Yardeni's latest forecast is for the Dow to correct down to around 7400 this fall. PEI is forecasting an eventual correction to the 5000-6000 range (possibly as low as 3700 by 2002, ye gods!). Yardeni specifically factors in Y2K (see his "Y2K reporter" issues at; to the best of my knowledge, PEI really doesn't specifically factor in Y2K (though PEI tracks it) because Y2K isn't very quantifiable. PEI is big on very sophisticated, mathematical, computerized models; it claims to have the most advanced economic forecasting computer in the business (a $60 million baby developed in conjunction with the computer science dept. at Princeton; PEI likes to claim, probably with considerable exaggeration, that it's virtually AI).

Let's face it, though, nobody can predict crowd psychology; both Yardeni and PEI thought just a few months ago that the Dow would hit 6400 by mid-summer, and that sure doesn't look as though it's going to happen. In fact, 12,000 looks more likely. As long as the greater fool theory holds, as long as people think the impetus is up, the market will obviously keep climbing. But something has to give sooner or later. The World Bank had it right: this situation is "unhealthy" (if not dangerous). I don't care if we are in an economic "new order" with new paradigms and all that (Wall Street buzzwords, etc.): anybody who can take a gander at the P/E ratios of some of those blue chip and high tech companies (and especially the internet stocks!) without getting vertigo has better nerves than I have. We were helped by that surprising 4.5% growth in GDP in Q1, but Americans drew down their savings to fuel it, too. One fine morning a lot of people are going to start saying, "Gee, I keep banking on more and more capital gains from increased valuation in my stocks. What if that doesn't happen? Look at my credit card debt, etc. And is there possibly anything to this Y2K business after all?" And then, as they say, let the games begin.

Just a hunch: the Fed probably wanted to take the steam out of this boiler market a couple of years ago. It didn't happen: the Dow is up almost 5000 points in the last 29 months, and 1000 points in the last 5 weeks. Now the feds are all committed to propping this market up no matter what, because if a fall starts, it could be a mighty long way to the bottom. I hope Greenspan is using industrial strength antacid.

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.


People with good nerves and a good sense of timing might want to try shorting an index (rather than specific stocks), like the S&P 500 Index. The Ursa ("Bear") Fund or Rydex route, etc. Gary North (who, whatever his many shortcomings, is an economist of sorts) likes to say that Joe Kennedy got rich by (among other things) shorting the 1929 market.

Of course, plenty of people have come up short by shorting various markets, too. The usual disclaimers apply, and the usual advice: don't invest anything you can't afford to lose. (Somehow, one doesn't hear those words on Wall Street very often any more, with some 60 million Americans now in the stock market.) Frankly, I know nothing about the technical details, timing, and actual practices of "shorting," etc.

By the way, when I checked the PEI website a few weeks ago, the actual time horizon for that predicted Dow correction down to the 5000-6000 range wasn't entirely clear, though PEI was predicting the first major correction to occur between April and December of this year. In fact, PEI thought the Dow would peak around the first week of April. Well, they missed that one. I think that the psychology of this market keeps messing up PEI's $60 million computer! "Those dadblamed irrational carbon-based humans!"

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.


We might not disagree on economic matters as much as you think. My interest is in what once was called political economy and economic history. As you have probably heard me say before, economics has a bad case of physics envy. I wish we had more thinkers and less numbers crunchers.

By the way, I have read some of Yardeni's work, and I will wander over to PEI. Thank you for the tip.

I think we are due for a correction. The U.S. market is badly overvalued and it feels more like a Ponzi game of late. I have put my money where my mouth is. If you take all of my retirement stash, over half is sitting in T Bills. I spent March and April taking profits on my interests in U.S. equities. I have about a third in international stocks that I have bought on the cheap over the past three years. Y2K may bite foreign markets, but I am in sound companies that will rebound when the economy comes back. In fact, when the U.S. market corrects, I think we'll see an acceleration effect as foreign investors pull out and return home. Most of the rest is in a few "recession proof" U.S. firms, mmf's and my "poker" fund.

My poker fund is reserved for speculative moves. My last move was on a high tech company whose stock value collapsed after a failed merger. It fell from 90 to less than 10. Of course, I bought it around ten last fall... and sold at 25ish last month. Since I did it within my self-directed IRA, all the capital gains are tax free. Yippee!

I keep less than 10 percent of my portfolio in the poker fund. In the words of my grandfather, don't bet more than you can afford to lose. I have never played options, but I am thinking about finding a few balloons ready to burst and shorting for a October-November stumble. Who knows, I might do as well as Hillary Clinton did on her options.

You see, I read all the tea leaves, not just the happy ones. You are right about consumer debt and other ill omens. The distribution of wealth looks suspiciously like the pre-crash 1920s. The market is full of inexperienced investors and day traders who haven't seen a bear market. The same is true of mutual fund managers who can barely shave. All of the performance pressures (and false alarms) have kept institutional investors fully loaded on equities. The money is pouring into the market, but there is no way the flow can continue forever.... You are right about the Fed. If exhuberance was irrational before, we are completely out of our minds now. I think they might ratchet rates up (in the name of a preventive inflation strike) just to cool down the economy. The market cannot outpace productivity and profits forever. I do have faith, however, in our underlying economic system. Capitalism is strong enough to survive a speculative bubble.

Well, enough shop talk. Thanks for reading my previous posts with a balanced perspective. You have been exceedingly fair. Please drop me an email if you feel saucy and want to try a poker fund of your own. I find having some money on line makes economics more enjoyable.


-- Mr. Decker (, May 06, 1999.

Addendum #2

All this ought to be enough posting by me on this forum for a month!

In the interest of honesty (or the attempt thereat), I should qualify my statement about my not being a market player by noting that I did play the Yahoo/Web Street fantasy stock challenge for one month, last October. Everything was real but the money, alas. I converted a $100,000 portfolio into $149,500 by month's end, mostly by investing (gambling?) short-term on smallcap stocks that had recently taken unwarrantedly large dips (in my opinion) and whose financial statements and prospects seemed in good order. Anyway, it was a good month to be "in" the market (for play or for real!): the Dow went up 10% that October, as I recall. Of course the smallcap market was more mixed, with some big winners and some big losers.

The winner of the stock challenge for that month was a fellow who ended up with several million dollars (again, all play!). I can't recollect his name, but one wonders if he now does this sort of thing "professionally."

I played that game because of all the talk about "day traders": I wanted to get a sense of what those folks were doing and how it might be affecting financial markets. There is a staggering amount of financial data and tools on the Web for anyone who knows how to access and use it. But my sense is also that day trading is very risky; I could just as easily have taken a beating (and with real money probably would have--such is life). Taking a beating seems to be what happens to many day traders, in fact, at least in the early months.

My point: all this online day trading has also made the stock market much more frenzied, volatile, unpredictable. It really is amateur hour out there--amateurs struck by the "get rick quick" fever. And it's another factor to keep in mind as the year progresses and we all wonder about Y2K--and about crowd psychology.

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Our last posts "crossed."

Anyway, thanks for your nice and thoughtful post. We are in agreement about the dangers lurking in this stock market. (Note that Warren Buffett is having trouble finding any "fairly valued" stocks these days!) I just hope it doesn't fall too far or too fast; I dislike seeing people get hurt, even if their own greed is responsible for it. Our society has oversold Americans on stocks and on credit cards.

Re capitalism generally: what Churchill said about democracy also applies to capitalism, namely, it's a lousy system but it's better than any other. It works in its muddy way here at home; I worry about where it is going internationally, though. Look at global capital flows: several trillion dollars daily. No wonder one of those organizations (a UN agency or whatever; I can't recall the name) that is overseeing different countries' Y2K progress won't publish the names of laggard countries: fear of investor flight. Look at what happened with the Asian financial crisis: it was made much worse by spooked investors (Perot's "giant sucking sound" was heard in Thailand and Korea and Indonesia). Everything is computerized, instantaneous, and hence very volatile. Then factor in the currency speculators and the many trillions of dollars worldwide in derivatives, plus the imperiled Japanese banking system, and you have to wonder whether Adam Smith's "invisible hand" doesn't now have palsy, insofar as international financial markets go. I don't know if or how all this should be regulated, but right now the whole thing is very shaky, like a 16-story card house I built as a kid. That's why Y2K worries me so much internationally (it gives me nightmares, actually)--it's an unpredictable "ill wind." I make no specific predictions, but it seems to me there is the "potential" for an international financial catastrophe, given what trouble the world is already in. I've corresponded a few times via email with Ed Yardeni; last June we agreed that if the Japanese banking system collapses, all bets are off. (His bit about the FSA report on the largest Japanese banks and Y2K, in one of his recent "Y2K Reporter" issues, he got from me, incidentally. Bad news if the FSA is right.) The good news is that the financial crises in SE Asia and Latin America have abated somewhat since then (fairly respectable stock market rallies, etc.), but you know they are all still mired in recession and highly vulnerable. Most Americans have no idea how bad things got in South Korea, for instance. Peter Gauthier, who occasionally posts on this forum as PNG, is a global business consultant (and former electrical engineer) for a number of Japanese firms; I think he is quietly pulling his hair out over what is going on in Japan these days. And it is Japan that is currently propping up Korea, Indonesia, etc., financially--not to mention that Japan is 75% of the whole East Asian economy.

By the way, I should also have mentioned Strategic Investment, James Dale Davidson's Baltimore outfit. Definitely conservative in their political slant, and sometimes maverick (the prototype for Indiana Jones writes for them, I think!) but they do some excellent economic forecasting: in June 1997 they put out a warning about Asian currency speculators. The Thai bhat was devalued the following July 2nd, and, as they say, the rest is history. I haven't checked out their website in quite some time, but it is at Unfortunately, unlike Yardeni and PEI (both of which have plenty of free stuff), most of the SI material is restricted to subscribers. The last I knew, they weren't too sanguine about the world economic situation, either. They are also taking Y2K seriously.

Well, that's a wrap, as they say. On a lighter note, if political economy is your real interest, you might check out Mark Twain's little story called "Political Economy." Hilarious. It can be found in most good collections of his short stories (e.g., Charles Neider's "The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain").

-- Don Florence (, May 06, 1999.


It depresses and worries me that a man of your intellect would hold sway with this obvious charlatan. "Gentleman" decker. Anything else you might say is tainted - and I say that with a heavy heart.

-- Andy (, May 07, 1999.

I'm not the kind of man who practices what he preaches,because I'm not the kind of man I'm preaching to.

-- J.R."BOB"DOBBS (church@subgenious.bob), May 07, 1999.


Let's try this on a fresh thread.

Mr. Decker

-- Mr. Decker (, May 07, 1999.


There's a fresh thread for you on "critical numbers." Like to hear your take on the 2000 numbers....

Mr. Decker

-- Mr. Decker (, May 07, 1999.

David and all,

Time for me to come clean. It has bothered me for days now. My first post to this thread was an angry outburst. I was so angered by the Slick style of "gentleman" Decker. He is possibly the biggest threat the forum has seen to date. To my shame, I attempted to cover myself with a lie. I am sorry about that but I will never back off when this forum is threatened. Those of you that know me can back me up on this one. Again, I apologize.

-- BigDog (, May 11, 1999.

I agree completely,

hence my (possibly, to some) over the top reaction. I'd like to meet the cowardly scumbag face to face. No messin'.

[Andy, ex-Rugby player, a few broken bones, with a few tricks up his sleeve]

-- Andy (, May 11, 1999.

This is the real Big Dog. The post above Andy's was NOT mine but just another attempt to impersonate me. I don't even know what the impersonator meant by saying I was "covering myself with a lie."

-- BigDog (, May 11, 1999.

To BigDog Impersonator:

Get a life, or at least a personality!! If you can't make your points without assuming someone else's identity, then please refrain from posting.

And don't think that my earlier post was a genuine expression of relief as if I actually believed it could have been from him. I know enough about BigDog on and off the forum to know that profanity is not in his character. Profanity is a retreat for the intellectually shallow and BigDog is far too intelligent to resort to that. The only thing lower than profanity is impersonation . . . whoa, guess you've got that covered pretty well, huh?

Say, you wouldn't by chance be the same one who posted Chuck's name and address would ya?

-- David (, May 11, 1999.

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