Futurist's Scenario for the Y2K Era [1995-2007]

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I found the historicist/futurist website of J.R. Mooneyham


to be rather interesting.

Here are some of his thoughts on Y2K. Toss in a comment or two and perhaps I'll notify him of any discussion here (pro, con, or yawn):


2000-2001 milestone: the Y2K Bug (a.k.a. the Millennium Bug)

The infamous Millennium Bug turns out to be neither as horrific or as harmless as many extremists on both sides claimed it would-- but rather results largely in a spate of moderate and relatively short-lived calamities, mostly among third world nations heavily dependent on older computer technology, and companies, government agencies, and educational institutions in the first world where it is least expected or thought about beforehand. For example, quite a few USAmerican state universities and community colleges are badly bitten by the bug, as are small to moderate sized businesses in fields which haven't changed much or faced serious competition for a decade or more. Most major corporate and government bodies and operations are affected little by the Millennium Bug-- however, the average citizen in the USAmerican street and elsewhere does encounter a substantial number of significant annoyances due to the big, such as anomalous billing and disappearing bank or Social Security accounts, spot shortages/higher costs of certain types of goods dependent on smooth international trade flows, and a multitude of millennium bug-related scams. Perhaps the highest profile bug problems are displayed by the USAmerican Internal Revenue Service and certain military-industrial complex snafus of the time. The worst effect on most in the developed nations from the Y2K problem is typically the added paperwork burden forced upon individuals by many agencies and organizations in order to put their own records back in order. This would be plenty bad enough, but many of those entities make it still worse by exploiting the times and demanding considerably more personal information and life histories from hapless citizens than should be required to solve Y2K problems. Yes, I'm talking a major assault on personal privacy here in the aftermath of the Millennium Bug, by both commercial and government concerns. As always, psychology plays an important role as well, leading to runs on some banks and grocery stores, and plunges in equity markets at various moments during the lengthy crisis. The actual period of millennium bug-related problems afflicting the planet begins as early as 1995 and lasts through around 2007, although most of the public doesn't really take note of the bug until roughly the middle of the cycle.

Though the general millennium bug problem is annoying enough, a fairly obscure subset of the problem proves to be much more troublesome than the rest, for many concerns; namely, the millennium leap year bug. Many organizations compensate for the general "99-00-01" problem, but fail to adequately address the leap year facet, thereby suffering other adverse effects stemming from the date of February 29 2000 rather than the more widely anticipated Jan 1 date.

For many, the consequences of the Millennium Bug are at their most intense and concentrated between November 1 1999, and March 31, 2000, time-wise-- and in location, near the centers of major metropolitan areas, and in the hearts of government agencies, factories, and businesses which depend heavily on computerized technology of various kinds. Significant disruptions of commercial and industrial supplies and distribution (among other problems) are not uncommon, with consequences similar to those of many large labor strikes and materials shortages all occuring simultaneously. Ergo, prices for some items alternately soar and plunge, and others can't be found at all for days or weeks on end.

You see, in November and December of 1999, there's something of a panicky stampede by many organizations trying to complete Bug fixes and test them before the Real Thing hits after December 31. This results in some unfortunate occurances happening prior to the main event. Then of course, the transition from Dec 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000 is "Ground Zero" of the Bug, with various consequences in the following couple of months. Next the obscure Leap Year facet of the Bug comes into play, making February 29 important as well. Ergo, the month of March sees its own considerable share of misfortunes too.

Yes, Bug-related problems were cropping up already for several years before this, and continue to appear for several years beyond this period as well. But the five month window given above shows off the Bug's most immediate and dramatic impact.

Of course, maybe the most surprising aspect of Bug consequences for lots of folks actually takes place in the developed countries between June 1999 and January 2000-- the six months immediately preceding the actual millennial roll-over itself, and being related largely to fiscal year rollovers for business accounting matters.

Perhaps the most substantial long term consequences of the Millennium Bug consist of changes in world politics and world business: as the Bug creates considerable legal problems for certain companies in its aftermath, as well as new market opportunities for the fiercer competitors in certain industries, all of which leads to a surprisingly rocky shake up of the status quo in quite a few markets around 2000 and beyond. In a few instances tiny companies suddenly turn the tables on much larger ones-- thanks to the Millennium Bug. In world stock markets, fallout from the Y2K bug alone causes some previously monolithic companies to plunge in value, while their smaller competitors soar. Some of the largest law suits in history are spawned by alleged consequences of the Bug, easily rivaling those involving the tobacco industry in previous years. Microsoft also has a bigger fight on its hands now than anything the US Justice Department threw at them in the past decade. Not a few politicians/governments also see their fortunes reversed, due to apalling mishandling of the Millennium Bug event by various government agencies.

[jump off sources include "...Marcoccio, who recently testified before Congress on the Y2K issue, said it is a misconception that all failures will occur on and around Jan. 1. He said only 8 to 10 percent of all failures related to Y2K will occur within two weeks of Jan. 1. Five percent of failures have already occurred and many will start this July as companies enter their next fiscal year. Marcoccio said 25 percent of all failures will occur in the second half of this year, 55 percent will occur throughout 2000 and 15 percent through 2001..." -- "Gartner Group: Expect major Y2K failures in second half" By John Madden, PC Week Online March 22, 1999]

[jump off sources include John Bace,Gartner Group Inc., Chicago, IL, USA, "Y2K ripple effect Business partners pose big threat" by Stephanie Neil, PC Week Online 4-13-98 (sample: "Year 2000 will be a series of moderate-sized business interruptions--paper cuts, so to speak....but you get enough paper cuts, and soon you bleed to death.")]

[jump off sources include "...Asked to predict the long-term effects of the Y2K computer glitch, Kelley said "I have no idea the extent of the problems we may run into."..." -- Edward W. Kelley Jr., a Board of Governors member of the Federal Reserve System.

"...The Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Health Care Financing Administration are generally thought to be the governmental agencies farthest behind in fixing the problem, but...[according to Senator Robert F. Bennett]...a draft of the next General Accounting Office report on Y2K will show the Defense Department also lagging...." --"Federal Reserve Official Warns of Year 2000 Bug", by JERI CLAUSING, 4-29-98, The New York Times]

[jump off sources include "...We're concerned about the potential disruption of power grids, telecommunications and banking services..."

The CIA warned its own personnel in 1998 to prepare for Millennium Bug disruptions by paying bills early during December 1999, hoarding some cash at home to cover several weeks of difficulties, and expecting the possibility of widespread power failures after Christmas.

The CIA also offered a roster of nations pegged by their preparedness (or lack thereof) for the Bug:

From best prepared to less prepared:

#1: The USA #2: Canada, Australia, Britain (trailing the USA by about six months of work) #3: the remainder of Western Europe (6-9 months lagging the USA). #4: Russia, China, Japan, Hong Kong-- the Pacific Rim states (trailing the USA by 9-12 months) #5: Latin America a far 5th.

-- "CIA: Millennium glitch will broadside many", May 5, 1998, by JIM WOLF, Reuters/ Nando.net]

[jump off sources include "Russia's nuclear agency plans to wait and see what happens with computer bug", 6-20-98, Nando.net/The Associated Press]

[jump off sources include......"Y2K Glitch Likely To Disrupt Trade: U.S. Official" By Jim Wolf Yahoo! News, Reuters, July 21 1999

{text by J.R. Mooneyham}

-- Zach Anderson (z2@figure.8m.com), August 06, 1999


Thanks Zach, interesting read.

"The worst effect on most in the developed nations from the Y2K problem is typically the added paperwork burden forced upon individuals by many agencies and organizations in order to put their own records back in order. This would be plenty bad enough, but many of those entities make it still worse by exploiting the times and demanding considerably more personal information and life histories

This is an interesting aspect I hadn't really thought of, but somthing we should think about, and be prepared to cope with. How much privacy are we willing to give up?

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), August 07, 1999.

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