Greenspan Speaks, CNBC Censors : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

At 10:30 am, Greenspan gave his first public comment regarding y2k since the Humphrey Hawkins address in February.

He was asked about the y2k effects on ffinancial markets. His bottom line: Not conerned about systemic computer failure , but was concerned about panic.

After stating the above, he went into a spiel stating "Some disruptions are inevitable" at which time CNBC IMMEDIATELY cut off the coverage and went to a couple of smiley face talking heads who said that Greenspan made light of y2k and assured everyone that the sky was not falling. Greenspan was still talking full speed about disruption when CNBC cut away. As always, draw your own conclusions.

Now for more detail on Greenspan's talk, I'll do my best to paraphrase:

Q: What will be the effect of y2k on financial markets?

A: My answer to that is unusual. If you had asked me one year ago, I would have been very much concerned about whether we would have been able to bring together all the programs written 30 years ago and scrap them.

We, speaking collectively, made an unbelievable mistake, that is building on old software which was built on a very restrictive capacity.

(Greenspan went into some discussion of reducing tasks to algebra and then translating to Cobol or Fortran which I did not completely follow, he then continued: . . ."

I defy anyone to now figure out the programs I wrote without having the documentation in front of them.

Now, a year later, I believe the problem has been substantially rectified in the United States. I am increasingly less concerned about true systemic problems. There may be some problems abroad. And I am aware the any mistake, one mistake out of a thousand lines in a program and that program is dead.

But now I am no longer concerned about the computers. I am now concerned about peoples reaction to fear. I know for a fact that talk radio is going to play this up. The evening news is going to portray this issue as an asteroid movie. People could become frantic.

I do not recommend that you run off to the desert and bury yourself in the sand. (Smiling by Greenspan and laughter by press.) The last thing you would want to do is withdraw inordinate amounts of currency from the bank. As long as there is the spirit of "enterprise" in the United States seeking opportunity, you should not create opportunities for enterprising individuals.

I recommend that you keep your money in the bank where it is "safest."

At the end of the day the impact on the financial markets,I believe, will be modest.

There are financial analysts around the world who are assigning y2k premiums to the markets. You should be able to follow this analysis to determine what y2k is doig to the markets.

Some disruption is inevitable . . . [CNBC cuts to talking heads while Greenspan is still going full speed. Newsreader grins and says "Greenspan makes light of y2k fears and assures everyone that the sky is not falling."]

End paraphrase.

Note: The above is merely my paraphrasing of what I heard. It should not be relied upon for any reason. Read it for entertainment value only. Maybe someone can get the actual transcript and post it.

-- Puddintame (, May 06, 1999


Yep. Saw it too. Amazing the speed at which he was "canned". I considered that perhaps I was reading something into this that wasn't actually the case. Then my daughter looked over at me and said she noticed how quickly they cut him off and how the announcers seemed almost nearvous as they attempted to spin his remarks. Well, better run for now....I hear Al's helicopter above as he lookie-loos the tornado damage. We were thinking about spelling out a brief message to him on the front lawn with some stored up gasoline and a match!!

-- Will Continue (, May 06, 1999.

Let's suppose G. went on to say something alarmist after the cut-off. Why would the media wish to cut that off ? Alarmism sells papers! Bad news sells better than good! What the hell, they'd go for it...

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), May 06, 1999.

Did you notice the host SH*T himself and begin to stuter?

-- FLAME AWAY (, May 06, 1999.

blue himalayan,the media's interests are the same as big business,they are simply the propaganda arm.check out "manufacturing concent"by Noam Chomsky for more on that bucket-o'-worms

-- zoobie (, May 06, 1999.

I believe they thought that his opinion on the issue was really unimportant. Most of the media seems to believe that things will be alright.

What struck me quite forcefully was his explanation of the problem itself. It was accurate and very honest. He "defied anyone" to make sense of what he had written in the way of code and said "it all should have been thrown out after two years." There was also a very long pause and he actually scratched his head before shifting gears to the official line.

Naturally, I disagree with his stated opinion of the outcome, but as my wife so sweetly put it, "What else could he say?"

The fix is in. Will it hold?

-- Mike Lang (, May 06, 1999.

Here's how Reuters is characterizing Greenspan's comments: 19990506&qt=greenspan&sv=IS&lk=noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486


Greenspan Sees Only Modest Y2K Impact On Markets

12:09 p.m. May 06, 1999 Eastern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Thursday there was little reason to fear that the so-called millennium bug would pose a major problem for world financial markets.

``I'm increasingly less concerned about whether there will be true systemic problems,'' he told a Chicago Fed conference after delivering a speech. ``What I am concerned about are peoples' reactions to the fear that something momentous is going to happen on January 1st 2000.''

``I'm sure that people will get very wise soon and recognize that the last thing you want to do is to draw inordinate amounts of currency out of the banks,'' he said.

``I think at the end of the day the impact on the financial markets is going to be rather modest,'' he added.


-- Kevin (, May 06, 1999.

Well, that's a good point Zoobie. I've read that and his other works, and of course I can't disagree with the analysis. At the same time, I belive the corporate "lock 'em down" mentality is inherently at war with the journalistic love of sensation, alarm, sexy stories and the sales and interest those can generate.

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), May 06, 1999.

Perhap someone can call CNBC. Toll-Free: 1-877-251-5685 I'm sure we can get to the bottom of this.

-- bill (, May 06, 1999.


I'm surprised at you, I thought you were more astute than that. Did they cut away from Greenspan or not? To talk to some apologetic happy faces? What's unusual about this is that it was pretty clumsy - they are usually much more SLICK (pun intended!)

-- Andy (, May 06, 1999.

I saw Greenspan speak today before I went to work. I think that market changes are a good indicator of how the business world reacts to Y2K fears. So far, the gold prices have gone up 25% (I found that out this week from CNBC, no sure what time frame they were talking about), oil import is up, but oil prices don't go down, because the US Gov is storing Oil for Y2K. Also the Dow has gone up quite a bit in last few months (it also has gone down sharply in last few days) probably because a lot of consumers are buying extra stuff for Y2K. And the Nasdaq is slipping as the computer companies try to deal with the cost of Y2K. This is just my opinion based on my observations. It is very likely that I'm just looking at the whole thing wrong, but why are gold prices going up that much when there is no sign of inflation?, seems quite odd. I think there is enough talk about what might break after Y2K, the thing that makes me mad is that if anything happens, it is the everyday people that are going to get screwed over more than the big companies and big businessmen/women. Some programmers warned long time ago about the Y2K problem, but the big money said that it would cost them too much to fix the problem. And now who is going to pay for it? Did you hear about the "Y2K Bill"? Wojciech Banas

-- Wojciech Banas (, May 06, 1999.

Andy, let's assume the "data" is correct, i.e. they indeed cut away. However, just as in science, there are always a plethora of theories that will "explain" any set of raw observations. In this case, it may be a conscious and deliberate attempt to happy-spin negative y2k comment from an influential source. Or, the same observation might be explained by some more mundane reason. I obviously don't know which it is.

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), May 06, 1999.

Blue, There is no doubt that they cut away. However, I don't attach much to that that hasn't been fully discussed many times on this forum.

To me, the significant thing is that Greenspan unequivocally said that some disruptions are inevitable. Like de Jager, Greenspan offered no concrete examples of industries achievement of compliance. He simply said billions of dollars have been spent. Hauntingly similar to de Jager's illogical line of reassurance.

Frankly, he waffled on the money in the bank issue. He clearly said that keeping your money in the bank would be "safest". He explained that if you took it out it would be subject to being stolen.

Safest does not mean safe. If you or I said it, it might. Greenspan chooses his words the way Monet chose colors. Carefully.

Greenspan today was a scary as I've heard. I presume that the cut away by CNBC simply cut out more talk minimizing the perception of risk. So no harm done.

In my opinion, Greenspan is still sounding the alarm.

-- Puddintame (, May 06, 1999.


Plethra or not, When someone smacks me in the nose and the begins to tell me why, I'm probably less concerned about theroy and more concerned about the pain.

-- spun@lright (, May 06, 1999.

How did CNNfn comment on Greenspans speach, here is the link: This report seems quite incomplete in comarison to what some of us saw on TV. Greenspan will not offer any concrete examples as far as Y2K goes, because there is more variables in the Y2K issue than there is Doomsday stories.

-- Wojciech Banas (, May 07, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ