Which comes first, The Panic or the Event?

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Which comes first, The Panic or the Event?

Today, August 2, 1999 I sit here at my computer pondering this question. We stand on the edge of a precipice. We have all heard the problems, the Stock Market is too high, the GPS rollover, Sunspots, Comets, and in just over 150 days, the Y2K rollover. But as I sit here I realize that nobody (except a fringe element GIs) care about any of these things. Yeah some peoples are unhappy that THEIR portfolio is not up 30%, but there is still time the year is not over yet.

What a time to be alive.

Will the Panic be the Event? or will The Event start the Panic? What will be the trigger?

Will the Stock Market Crash wake up that sleeping Giant -- Joe Six Pack-- and send him into a buying rage to Get his Stuff NOW? Or will the SPIN doctors keep a lid on it untill the machine stops?

There are arguments to be made that the SPIN the government has organized to keep the Y2K out of the public eye has some merit. No one knows for sure just how much of a problem Y2K will be. Dont take my word for it go ask 10 experts and you will get answers ranging from 1 to 10. If Y2K is a manageable event (read: the tenacity of man will patch it up and we will muddle through) then keeping PANIC at bay is a good thing. If everybody buys a years worth of supplies now it will negatively impact the economy next year (ie: they will not need to buy much stuff next year). And there is not enough STUFF for everyone to have a years supplies at this time. We have moved into the Just in Time supply system, it could be cleaned out in a week!

I remember visiting Guadeloupe in August of 1990. It was a wonderful vacation. We looked all over the island. I remember visiting a store that was stocked to the brim with food and supplies, we then went inland for a hike in the mountains, when we returned the store was EMPTY. While we were hiking a Hurricane Alert was posted. In those few short hours we were out of touch The World Changed. There was no Gas, no Milk, no flashlights, No Nothin! And this was in a place where Hurricane warnings are issued on a regular basis. We went back to our hotel, where they closed the Beach and made us all stay in our rooms. The Hurricane passed well away from the island, but the stores were not restocked by the time we left five days after the alert. The point being that once the pipeline is drained, it takes a while to fill it again, even if there is No Storm.

I believe that the Government is thinking that the worst of the Y2K storm will pass off shore and we do not need to needlessly empty the supply line. OK it is a position I can understand, but I do not accept.

Millennium fever will strike. History is replete with examples of panics and just unusual behavior at rollovers even if there is no technical reason to worry. Y2K, on the other hand, WILL cause some problems. Even the Government is admitting that. At some point the realization that Y2K will effect us all will enter into the mass consciousness. Will it be on Jan 1, 2000 when the water tastes bad or the Bowl Game is not on as listed in TV Guide? Or will something trigger the run sooner?

Will Y2K trigger the Event? ---OR--- Will the Event be the Y2K Panic?

What is your opinion?

-- helium (heliumavid@yahoo.com), August 03, 1999



There is a very large number of fence-sitters out there. They know about Y2K and the Stock Market for sure...maybe even some of the other stuff. They have done nothing to prepare. Sorta like FOF. Since only a small number of people doing something at once, ie filling their gas tanks on the same day, would create real problems, I think it is entirely possible and even probable that sometime during the last quarter of 99, some event will trigger the fence-sitters, which will create supply problems for the masses. I'm still not convinced that the masses will "get it" until they are sitting in the dark freezing their buns off.

BTW, I received my monthly copy of the magazine that my rural electric co-op puts out the other day. They have been running articles on Y2K for about 6 months now...mostly the "don't worry everything is under control" stuff. This month they were specifically warning about the dangers of improper use of generators, and also warning people not go fill up their gas tanks on Dec 31. Seems they are concerned about supply shortages due to everyone stocking up on gasoline and diesel.

-- Don (dwegner@cheyenneweb.com), August 03, 1999.

As with all things Y2K, it could be a 1 to 10. The future is always hard to predict, especially when faced with uncertainty ;-)

I feel that the "panic" (read: concern) will slowly and steadily rise until the big day - principally because of new GI's. I used to be afraid of a panic sometime in 1999, by now (August), but since nothing catastrophic has happened yet, and govt. business & media are in heavy spin cycle, and denial is running deep as ever - I don't think there will be any panic until after Christmas, if at all. The herd will not wake up and will not accept that anything can possibly disrupt their lifestyle until something actually happens.

-- Jim (x@x.x), August 03, 1999.

Short answer: panic does not happen without an event to cause it. That is the nature of panic.

>> Will the Stock Market Crash wake up that sleeping Giant -- Joe Six Pack-- and send him into a buying rage to Get his Stuff NOW? <<

This assumes that, if a stock market crash occurs, the public will connect it directly to the idea that Y2K will cause a lot of infrastructure to fail. That is a stretch.

The usual reaction to a stock market crash is not to go on a buying spree, but the opposite, to curb expenditures and conserve money. I'd expect the same reaction if the market crashes before 1/1/2000.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), August 03, 1999.

Your question, posed in thoughtful consideration, has made me stop and assess what awaits us later in the year.

I feel that anytime after October 1st, there may well be panic the scale of which has never been experienced in the history of mankind. It is entirely logical (unfortunately) that this should be so. At the close of any great epoch, you will have people who have a natural fear of "what comes next, and how will it affect me"? As 1999 winds down, the magical "witching hour" approaches, and people will focus more and more on these thoughts. The end of a year is ALWAYS a time for reflection, and planning for the future ("New Years' Resolutions" for example.)

When groups of these folks get together, talk naturally turns toward that issue, thus reinforcing the unease already felt. As the unease slowly builds over time, some people will take action of whatever kind they feel necessary. This action will attenuate the anxiety they feel.

The majority, however, will continue to talk about the issues, yet do nothing, which tends to focus the unease and anxiety inward upon themselves. As psychologists will readily admit, keeping feelings such as these inside only makes them more intense. At some point, critical mass is reached, when these folks too must "do something".

By them taking action, they also attenuate their feelings of anxiety. As others join in, and as these actions become more widely known by others, a panic is almost certain to ensue. The more people who react in fear, the more fear makes others react, and the cycle is reinforced. Since our supply-chain is not equipped to handle a "run" on ANYTHING, shortages will result. These shortages will be displayed in all ther splendor on the news, and will only spur the masses to even more frenzied activity.

I can see no way to elliminate the coming social disaster, as the root feelings (the end of an age, and uncertainty/anxiety over the future) cannot be "spun" by the media. This is a main factor in my preparations. I desperately do NOT want to be in need of anything around the end of the year, or into the spring of 2000. We'll just lay VERY low, and hope the waves of hysteria pass us by.

God help us all.

-- Dennis (djolson@pressenter.com), August 03, 1999.

FIRST a Big Event must occur and be sustained.
Then you may see the stirrings of panic. But the Spin has spun a tightly woven silken prison coocoon.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), August 03, 1999.

Helium, the answer to your thoughtfull question is : "Both"

Take care

-- George (jvilches@sminter.com.ar), August 03, 1999.

If the Event comes first it will be more difficult for the "Powers To Be" to assign the blame as the wish.

It would be most advantageous to those in power to be able to "Schedule" their activities.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), August 03, 1999.

Panic is happening now. It is in the form of denial and spin. The banks are terrified and FEMA is whining that it is being lied too by the NERC. Panic. The CIA puts out a report saying that we will have no forign oil next year (or propane!) and that quote NEVER MAKES IT TO THE FRONT PAGE!!!!!!!! Our media is panicking too.

I see the panic in the eyes of my DWGI friends. They are educated intelligent folks. Definitely not (for better or worse) a Joe 6-pac crowd. My friends believe if Y2k happens that they and their children will die. Therefore, according to them, "It can't be that bad." It is panic that causes them to close their eyes and hope it will go away.

When will spin-denial/panic become mass mayhem/panic? When the Tee Vees go off and don't come back on.

-- R (riversoma@aol.com), August 03, 1999.

I could see it either way. With its lapdog, the new media, the gov't has been doing a great job of preventing people from panicking about news that they obviously don't want to really think about anyway. (See any of Hoffmeister's recent threads and comments for a good taste of this spinmeistering.)

And it does stand to reason that they will try to keep the game going as long as they can, because once the panic starts, there is no telling what will happen from there. And hey, "nobody knows", maybe things won't be so bad after all (LOL, right), so what is there to lose? The point is, there is nothing but INCENTIVE to lie and keep the game going; there is nothing but DISINCENTIVE to admit that things could easily fall apart because no industry, no government, anywhere, is really and truly ready for Y2K.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), August 03, 1999.

R, denial and spin is not panic. DWGI's arent 'panicking' beause they are in denial. DWGI's simply dont believe it will happen and they are quite calm about it.

-- Fat Tony (FatTony@youmammashouse.com), August 03, 1999.

Some people will panic. Now, tomorrow, or after THE EVENT when infrastructure start to fail and supplies evaporate. The masspanic, if it will ever, occur will be when everyone has understood beyond all incertainty (at the same time!) that TSHTF because of Y2K.

Or their will just be sporadic, local outbreaks of panic in certain areas. In other areas just silence, struggle for their lives, death, disease, hopelessness, maybe some happiness too... Postapocalyptic scenery.

May the force be with you

-- Marsok (Marcus.Sokolowski@imim.uu.se), August 03, 1999.

My sister calling from the grocery: "There's plenty of food here..." Me: "That's today. Buy food. Buy whatever you want. Just buy food." My sister: "I know. I know." Pause. "But maybe it won't be so bad." Me: "Maybe... Buy food." My sister. "If we don't eat it, can we donate it to a homeless shelter?" Me: "Yes. Just buy food."

Every time I go out to shop, I wonder if there will still be food out there to buy tomorrow. Luckily, I would be able to eat the food I have in the house since I have quite a bit now, but there are many things I still need...

Not everyone has the capacity to think ahead and to execute complex actions to take care of tomorrow.

I think the government is wrong to have exerted spin control of this intensity. Maybe more could have been done preventively. Now, of course, it IS too late to do anything but spin becaue of the supply chain.

-- Mara Wayne (MaraWAyne@aol.com), August 03, 1999.

I was certain it would have already happened. Last January and February when I couldn't get through on the phone to Cheaper Than Dirt or Nitro Pak, I thought the panic was building. Surely, I thought, the thin supply lines for survival gear are going to be sold out and disappear forever. Then, suddenly, the phone lines opened up and stuff that had been scarce suddenly started to become available. Food packages that had 6 months backlog suddenly were available in one week. Generators became available in greater quantities and models.

I had completely underestimated the government's, the media's, and industy's ability to anesthetize the herd and get everyone to go back to sleep. I keep thinking that I only have a few weeks to finish my preps before the herd stampedes again, but now I'm not sure. It may very well be that the unwashed masses won't "get it" until 1 Jan 2000 when they discover they can't watch their bowl games because 1) the TV doesn't work, 2) the TV station is down, or 3) the power's off. Then things might get ugly. By then, I plan to be presenting as low a profile as possible.

-- rob (rbminor@hotmail.com), August 03, 1999.

Is it even possible to lie to cattle? Cattle are stupid beasts that understand very little, if anything. Cattle like quiet, soothing sounds - nothing loud, nothing noisy, and no sudden movements. Still, a herd will bolt once it senses danger in the air.

-- a cow (justp@rtofthe.herd), August 03, 1999.

I hope the event happens first,or I'll never make it to the bugout

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@YAHOO.COM), August 03, 1999.


With or with out Y2K the stock market is overvalued and the credit market is over extended. With no Y2K there might be an option for a soft landing; but it appears a lot of smart money will either sit out during the fourth qtr or position for a recession/depression. Y2K deadline will cause big money to run for safety and quality leaving the broad market. I would expect this to be readily observable by the casual observer by October 1999 - the powers that be may try to get one more good qtr (July thru Sept) in order to secure their third qtr bonuses by November. Then they could take a wait and see position and get back into the markets in Feb 2000 if Y2K = BITR or they would increase their defensive position if Y2K >5.

I would look to Japan, Korea, China for the initial sign of a credit collapse or bank run. IMHO, this could happen at any time soon.

I also think gold has been heavily manipulated done in price but that the manipulation cannot go on forever. So I expect:

First a credit squeeze that starts in SE Asia.

A narrow market rally in the bluest of blue chips - last hurrah flight to quality.

Followed by bank runs/collapses that spread.

Accompanied by a rising gold and silver and petro prices.

Followed shortly by the bursting of the stock market bubble.

Followed a few weeks later by Y2K embedded chip failures at 12:00 GMT time on 12/31/1999.

-- Bill P (porterwn@one.net), August 03, 1999.


I think Ashton & Leska made good points.

A minor, short-lived catastrophe will not cause a stampede.

First there must occur an event or series of events so severe and sustained that the whole world notices -- something as glaringly obvious as the sun blazing-- which causes an inescapable fear of impending doom and instinctive rush for self-preservation.

Whether related to Y2K or not, I don't know, but when it happens, I'll be in total shock with everyone else as it unfolds...

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), August 04, 1999.

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