*Jim Lord* - The Integrity Trap -

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The Y2K Integrity Trap

By Jim Lord

If Y2K turns out even moderately bad, it will be fascinating to watch the antics of several major players as they struggle to release themselves from the Y2K Integrity Trap in which they are now firmly held.

Economists. With a single exception, the overwhelming majority of economists believe Y2K is nothing to be concerned about. The consensus is completely deafening. According to one recent USA TODAY poll of fifty top economists,

"The economy looks like it's in for a bumpy ride because of the Y2K computer glitch, but the problems won't be big enough to trigger a recession.  (T)he problems  don't come mainly from the software bug. Instead, the experts see the economy whipsawed by the actions of consumers and firms preparing for the worst.

"If they start hoarding  that would send the economy into overdrive.  (T)hat would set the stage for a crash in the new year as Americans stopped buying and lived off their hoard.

"Y2K is no longer a computer problem, says economist Jeff Thredgold,  .  It has now become a problem of fear and human emotion."

Now, aint that something. The problem is not the computers.. The problem is you. Never mind all that broken code, its your irrational behavior.

It is said that rubbing two economists together will produce three different opinions. It is a wonder to behold that these fifty all have the single opinion that Y2K is nothing. Is there something going on here to bring about this amazing consensus. I suspect these pure vanilla fifty economists are all employed by the government, big banks or Wall Street and have a strong vested interest in Y2K being just a "bump in the road."

The only exception is, of course, Ed Yardeni, Chief Economist, Global Investment Strategist, and Managing Director of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, the big international investment bank.

He says (Oct 10, 1999) on his website at http://www.yardeni.com/y2kreporter.html

"I am skeptical that (Y2K) will be a nonevent as is widely believed now.  I am amazed that the optimists have virtually no doubts at all. Few of them even concede that there is any risk at all of major disruptions. Indeed, I seem to be the only economist and investment strategist in the world who still expects a recession and a bear market in stocks."

Mr. Yardeni goes on to make the following economic predictions:

25% probability of a moderate, six month recession

40% chance of a major global recession of 6-12 months duration

5% probability of a 2-5 year depression

The evidence to support the high probability of a major economic disruption caused by Y2K is compelling. One doesnt need to subscribe to any sort of "End of The World," doomsday scenario to see that a world-wide recession is probable. Or that a depression is possible.

The economics profession will be soundly discredited when the ravages of Y2K strike the global economy. Well be asking ourselves how they could have missed this thing so badly.

By the way, it is highly likely that Mr. Yardeni will be the most famous economist in the world come midyear 1999 when the Y2K picture starts to crystallize. Indeed, he may be the only one left.

(Note: my own prognosis is:

Zero possibility of a moderate recession

50% possibility of a severe recession lasting a year or more

50% chance of a 2-3 year depression peaking in the first quarter of 2001

but then Im not an economist at all.

The Technology Industry. First, through technical mismanagement, they gave the world the Year 2000 Problem. Then they tried to assure us it wasnt a problem. Now theyre telling us its fixed or will be fixed in time.

Bill Gates is the worst among these. Hell go down as the biggest Y2K idiot in history and I still expect Microsoft to be the target of the biggest class action lawsuits in history.

Al Gore, the self-christened inventor ( !! ) of the Internet, will join Gates on the technical roster of fools. Y2K will be hung around their necks and they will suffer for it for decades.

The following refrains have been a constant drumbeat from the Y2K non-believers, "Oh, they would never let that happen." Or "Don t worry, Bill Gates will fix it."

Well, they DID let it happen and Bill Gates is just as flummoxed by Y2K as anybody else.

Microsoft still cant even get its own house in Y2K order. In an article a few months ago in "VNU Business Publications," "Microsoft's NT Terminal Server Edition (TSE) is under fire yet again after the company admitted the product is still not Year 2000 compliant.  TSE  was released non-compliant in mid 1998. Microsoft promised Year 2000 fixes first in September and then December, neither of which were delivered."

Remember, this is the guy the ill informed think is going to fix THEIR Y2K problem.

We have, in this age, come to have a deep but irrational and unhealthy faith in technology. The never-ending parade of new gadgets, bigger and better toys, faster and more powerful things has deluded us into placing our well-being in their care without exercising due diligence.

No, I am not launching off onto an anti-technology rant. I love these gadgets more than most. (Here in my office, there are three computers, two telephones, four telephone lines, a fax machine and two printers.) We have, however, become irresponsible in their use. We have sold our soul to the gadgets and Y2K is going to be a sharp slap in the face. It will force us to more carefully examine and test our technological possibilities before we so blindly incorporate them into our lives.

Y2K will make many of us technology gun-shy for a long time. Well see a generation of Neo-Luddites rise up. Y2K will result in a great technological cleansing and change the way we feel about technology for many, many years. Our blind faith will turn into a well-justified suspicion.

The Press. Y2K has happened on the Internet. It will go down in journalistic history as the first major issue born, reared and matured there.

Meanwhile, the mainstream press was asleep at the switch. They have been lazy and technically inept. Their coverage has been biased and shallow. From the beginning and still today, they have failed to ask the hard questions. They have left that up to the amateurs like myself.

Perhaps this was caused by the unfortunate early circumstances of Y2K. As an issue, it was first recognized and accepted by decidedly outside-themainstream figures and groups. Like Gary North, the editor of the "Remnant Review" newsletter, known even among those who admire him as "Scary Gary." And like hard money, contrarian investors, and extreme, right-wing political groups and fundamental Christians.

The Y2K movement got labeled early as an extreme issue. This encouraged the press to dismiss Y2K and throw it into the supposed "nut-case" pile with the black helicopters, gold bugs, survivalists and the New World Order.

The press also fatally polarized the issue into two camps. The "End-of-the-World" bunch and the "Y2K-is-just-a-hoax" crowd. The reasonable middle ground disappeared from view. Because of the press, it is still difficult to claim Y2K will be serious without being labeled as an extremist. I know; it happens to me every day.

The press rates far down the credibility list in our society. Y2K will push them down further.

Academia. This bunch has been nowhere to be found on the Y2K issue. No matter what happens, Y2K has been and will be a wonderfully complex and interesting event from an academic perspective. It will always amaze me that these supposed "seekers after truth" wanted nothing to do with this issue.

Only these few have played a significant role in the Y2K drama:

7 Howard Rubin, Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Hunter College

7 Leon Kappleman, Associate Professor of Business Computer Information Systems at the University of North Texas

7 Stuart Umpleby, Professor of Management Science and Director, Research Program for Social and Organizational Learning, George Washington University

7 Paula Gordon, Adjunct Professor of Management Science, Director of Special Projects for the Research Program for Social and Organizational Learning, George Washington University

No college or university in the nation has played a role whatever.

Government. The most uncomfortable Y2K Trap of all, however, has been created by the federal government. From Sally Katzens goofy, "Y2K will be a non-event." To John Koskinens present three to five day inconvenience strategy, the federal government has assumed an astoundingly risky Y2K posture.

If Y2K turns out badly for us, it will be devastating for them. It could be the watershed event which finally destroys the sixty-five year belief that governments job is to take care of us. They could lose all credibility in the eyes of both their constituents and their employees. Y2K could prove once and for all that government is incapable of taking care of us. It might cause us to really throw the rascals out once and for all. Or at least put them back in the chains of the constitution where they belong.

This would be a hard lesson for this nation to endure but we could end up gaining much more in the end than we might lose.

Good Luck !

Jim Lord

(Note: first published in the "Journal of Personal Freedom" newsletter. Available at www.JimLord.to.)

Copyright 1999 Jim Lord. All rights Reserved


-- snooze button (alarmclock_2000@yahoo.com), November 30, 1999


Hey! ain't it funny that some of these--->The Y2K movement got labeled early as an extreme issue. This encouraged the press to dismiss Y2K and throw it into the supposed "nut-case" pile with the black helicopters, gold bugs, survivalists and the New World Order.<--- where some of the first people to "get it" on y2k? Maybe us "nuts" aren't that wrong after all? h-m-m-m, just maybe? could it be we have the MINDSET to go explore and research BEFORE we label anything as extreme, just based on feelings? Maybe, just maybe there might be a teensy bit to some of our research? HUH?

The press also fatally polarized the issue into two camps.(missed this one Jim, three camps, the bump in the roaders is the third-the we'll fix it in three days after the crash polly crowd) The "End-of-the-World" bunch and the "Y2K-is-just-a-hoax" crowd. The reasonable(?????) middle ground disappeared from view. Because of the press, it is still difficult to claim Y2K will be serious without being labeled as an extremist.(whoohoo, finally he's starting to get it on the press manipulations we "nut" cases have been pointing out for a long time) I know; it happens to me every day. <---no lie, welcome to the club Jim, where were you the past 30 years??????????????

-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), November 30, 1999.

Right on, Zoggo! As de'ol folk say, even a blind pig finds an acorn wunst in a while! As far as economists, 'if you lay all the economists in the world end-to-end, they would never reach a conclusion'.

Me? I'm going to Wally World to stock up on Kook-foil!


-- Y2Kook (Y2Kook@usa.net), November 30, 1999.

Economists can't predict how serious Y2K will be. No one can. Even if economists studied Y2K, the top 50 economists predicted none of the last ten recessions. They do like to say the stock market "predicted nine of the last five recessions" but neglect to mention they've predicted none.

-- Richard Greene (Rgreene2@ford.com), November 30, 1999.

the same question could be asked of Jim Lord. How will he escape the "integrity trap" next year when his conspiracy theories and 'insider info' turn out to be dross?

-- Its not (just@the.pollys who will be affected), November 30, 1999.

"Economists. With a single exception, the overwhelming majority of economists believe Y2K is nothing to be concerned about. The consensus is completely deafening."

Should we look to them today...

NOT ONE of the status quo, smooth slope type, no depression ever economists (mainstream economists) forecasted the recession of 1981-82.

-- earl (ejrobill@pcpostal.com), November 30, 1999.

>> ...(whoohoo, finally he's starting to get it on the press manipulations we "nut" cases have been pointing out for a long time)... <<


You seem to think that the more extreme ideas of the "nut cases" are exonerated by their grasp of the notion that the press is manipulated.

So, how do you explain the fact that about 75% of the population that do not identify with "nut case" positions also have a fine grasp of this fact? Doesn't this tend to exonerate mainstream political ideas, too? Then, how can you *all* be right, when you disagree on so much?

The plain fact is that, seeing only what you have posted here, would lead me to take a bit of a shine to you. Unfortunately, your choice of a handle is a pretty strong indication that we are miles apart on some very important issues.

For those who do not know, ZOG is an acronym used by white supremacists and neo-nazis. It stands for Zionist Occupation Government - reflecting their idea that the US federal government has been co-opted by a cabal of Jewish bankers, who are hell-bent on establishing a world government under their control. This idea is used to justify their violent anti-semitism. Choosing zog as a handle could not be an accident.

Sorry, zog. The fact that you think the media are manipulated in no way justifies or legitimizes neo-nazism. Not any more than the fact that you might like to eat hamburgers would mean that everyone who eats at McDonalds is practically your long-lost relative.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 30, 1999.

Take it easy Brian.....

Respect those who post here. The sole question of this board is Y2K. Enough Said!

-- Tommy Rogers (Been there@Just a Thought.com), November 30, 1999.

It is not at all surprising that the "Y2K first alerts" were issued by people who sort of think the world is going down the tubes soon anyway. Such people are ALWAYS looking for what will do us in, and it is not surprising that they tout Y2K as the end of the world as we know it.

Problem: I think that they are right.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), November 30, 1999.

Brian--sorry to disappoint you, and I've posted the story of my handle several dozen times now on various boards. I spell it all lower case, no periods --->zog<-----NOT---> Z.O.G. <--- See the difference? My handle comes from a "farside", gary larsen cartoon from a long time ago, a costume for a halloween party, and it's a nickname I've had ever since. It's a coincidence with that acronym is all. zog is also a given name and a patrynomic in some cultures as well. Hope that clears that up. You shoulda asked me personally before assuming what you said, I don't try to hide anything. I have zero nazi leanings. I'm a registered Libertarian politically, although I have a few issues with what passes for the national leadership of that party.

Other points, well, if all these people think the press is manipulated, then how come they still got so many zillions of dollars in advertising budgets? Money talks, and it seems that the mainstream press is still mostly used by the majority of the citizens as primary or only news source. I could be wrong, of course, but I think I'm right on this issue. Hope we cleared some stuff up, it's hard enough being me without being labeled a nzai, I think my defense of personal freedoms all the time in my writings ought to show that. At least I TRY to show that, promise to work harder on that score if I'm leaving an incorrect impression. I AM unabashedly and shamelesslly a conspiracy freak and junkie. love it. Love talking about it, discussing it, finding out more about it, exposing things where applicable, and changing my mind when presented with better or more data. I think if anyone ever gets "set" in their ways than they stop growing, they stop being an asset to themselves and others. I always try to find out the truth, and to push it to all who will listen. It's my gig, I chose it, seems important enough to me to do it.

zoggus <-----and a lot of times I change my handle a little, too, like writing about water I sometimes sign my name "aquazog", see?

-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), November 30, 1999.


My mistake. My sincere apologies.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 30, 1999.

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