*** The Simplicity of Y2K: I Just Have A Few Small Questions Left *** (A repost of BigDog's Now Famous Eight Questions - Still A Classic)

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The Simplicity of Y2K: I Just Have A Few Small Questions Left

I only have a few questions left. Unfortunately, they are the same questions I had a year ago. I'm a very slow learner, it appears.

1. If it took SSA nine years and enormous sums of money to reach compliance, barely, why will the IRS be ready so easily? Medicare/Medicaid? After all, I thought their computing situations were at least as complex as SSA? Yet they started in late-1997, so won't they be ready in 2005 or, say, 2002 based on lessons learned from SSA?

2. If the U.S. power, water, sewage and telecom industries will be ready, why do so few even self-report their readiness? Why is there minimal-to-no IV&V? Why are testing results in some industries semi-rigged for PR purposes or unpublicized?

3. How can the DOD and related agencies be ready, given their stated rates of progress as recently as a year ago and the complexity of their software/hardware environment? For extra credit, won't there be chaos and confusion within advanced weapons systems all around the world? What is the likely impact of this on terrorism and the threat of local-regional wars breaking out in 2000?

4. Since oil producers have said it isn't cost-effective to check for embedded systems because doing so would break the production chain itself and they will fix FOF, doesn't this mean that show-stoppers at rollover could drive the price of fuel through the roof for a long period of time?

5. Since entire countries (China, Russia, Italy, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, others) will be almost entirely noncompliant, won't there be major destabilizing impacts upon the international geopolitical situation and serious disruption in the global supply chain for a variety of critical commodities over a period of many months?

6. Since many other countries, including advanced ones, are a year behind the U.S. in compliance efforts, doesn't this suggest they will face the level of breakdown at rollover we would have faced in December, 1998? Since even Koskinen/Bennett say that the level of U.S. breakdown would have been severe at that point, isn't it logical to state that the level of breakdown in these countries will be severe?

7. Wouldn't it have been better to raise a consistent, intense international alarm about Y2K and the need for global preparation, to mitigate all the effects possible above and acclerate remediation?

Whether it is tens of billions or hundreds of billions (what are a few zeros between friends?), it is evident that Y2K (software plus embeddeds) is a real crisis that would cripple entities who don't remediate. Presumably, this is why Bank of Boston, Citibank, GM and others actually spent hundreds of millions of dollars (God bless them).

Alas, that leads to my final question, still unanswered a year later:

8. Given the reality of Y2K impacts for those who don't remediate and questions 1-7 above, how can we possibly escape an intense global recession, minimally, or more likely a global depression (when one adds the unwinding of a historic market bubble to Y2K impacts)?

An inquiring mind wants to know.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), August 24, 1999


A special thanks to BigDog for these classic eight questions... Snooze Button.


-- snooze button (alarmclock_2000@yahoo.com), December 09, 1999


a Global Depression, at this time, appears to be the *best* we can hope for.

-- Dan G (thepcguru@hotmail.com), December 09, 1999.

Yes, a special thanks. :-)

W hispering "Fire" ... (mainstream media version)

-- Lane Core Jr. (elcore@sgi.net), December 09, 1999.

With three weeks to go, we are still looking at Y2K with FUNDAMENTAL uncertainty, especially with embeddeds. We may skate through embeddeds successfully between Dec. 30 and Jan. 10 or experience a worldwide embedded crash -- or anything between.

Taking much reporting at face value, we know that many entities have done a good job at software remediation and will keep remaining Y2K snafus from surfacing publicly. They will prosper and deserve to prosper.

Equally taking reporting at face value, we know that a significant number of large entities are not finished with remediation of mission- critical systems but are at various self-reported stages between 50 and 90% complete. We do not yet know the implications of this, but previous software experience suggests they will experience serious business impacts for weeks or months, probably visible to their customers (think Hershey) by February, 2000. Some percentage of them will go out of business.

Continuing to take reporting at face value, we know that millions of SMEs around the world will FOF. The consequences of this will vary but suggest serious economic impacts globablly.

Taken all in all, I believe we have a tiny chance of a BITR (2%), a somewhat larger but small chance for "infomagic" (5%), a larger still chance for TEOTWAWKI (which I have always defined as a crushing decade-long depression, worse than the 30s, with eventual recovery) (10%), possibility of a serious year-long recession (40%) and, similarly, for a five to ten-year depression reminding us of the 30s (43%).

Those percentages are as meaningful (or silly, if you'd like) as the reported compliance percentages we've been subjected to for the past year.

Looking back, the biggest mistake I made was to assume that valid information about Y2K's probable impacts would be available as early as 3Q 1999. I underestimated the commitment to non-meaningful disclosure of technical results.

Looking forward, we probably won't have valid data about Y2K's actual/future trajectory of impacts before 2001.

IOW, look for the same PR spin and anecdotal reports about impacts (with endless claims that mishaps have nothing to do with Y2K) throughout 2000. Admitting publicly to year 2000 impacts will be even more damaging to an entities' credibility next year than this year.

The exception will be if Y2K really is a BITR. We'll know that by March 31, 2000, from the evident lack of broad impact on worldwide economy and culture.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), December 09, 1999.

Great Thread

Big Dog --- Do the world a favor and update your opinions periodically such as 12/26 and 1/7. Thanks again.

-- Dana (A_Non_O_Moose@xxx.com), December 09, 1999.

I agree that hte efforts to cover up problems will continue into next year. If the electricity stays on, we see one person after another on TV (especially the financial channels) telling us that Y2K was nothing as they had predicted. One thing that will be difficult to cover up is problems in the oil industry. If there are problems, the price will keep going up. Obviously, there could be some terrorist attacks on the oil industry which might confuse the issue for a while.

-- Dave (dannco@hotmail.com), December 09, 1999.


This is the answer to ALL the questions anyone could ever ask about Y2K and why we've gotten ourselves into this mess in the first place. wlb.

-- warren bone (wbone@home.com), December 10, 1999.

The last time we had a global depression... There was a global war.

-- (...@.......), December 10, 1999.

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