Musings on D minus 12greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
With less than 2 weeks until the CDC (century date change), Ive been preoccupied (more than usual) trying to understand the phenomenon. Ive been both an observer and a participant in the drama for over three years. It is not unfolding in a way that I, or many others, had expected. The single fact I find most amazing is how little we still know about our country's readiness to meet the year 2000 challenge.
The reasons that we still remain in the dark, as I see it, are because of our fragile economy and because of tens of thousands of lawyers advising their clients to remain silent. Any attempts by business to acknowledge that their profits could be adversely affected by Y2k problems have met with swift retribution from stockholders (e.g. IBM). Rather than sharing information about discoveries (non-compliant systems), each business is left to their own devices, reinventing the wheel. Even in remediation, there is competition. Is it any wonder that business refrain from sharing bad news? I wonder whether lawyers advice is for their clients protection or for their pocket books. I believe that historians will credit our legal industry with a major role in contributing to Y2k being a catastrophe rather than an inconvenience.
Today, it seems that peoples perceptions about the NASDAQ and about Y2k are identical. The belief that the stock market will continue to rise and that Y2k will be a BITR (some economists believe it will be a boost to the economy!) is based on nothing more than wishful thinking. At some point, if wishful thinking is embraced for a long enough period, and supported by others, it becomes a conviction. Those of us who do not share the consensus view are ridiculed by the majority (hasnt this always been the case?), and may even begin to doubt our own sanity.
I dont have the figures at my disposal, but I believe that the insurance industry represents a significant portion of our economy. There is insurance for cars, life, homes, health, malpractice, unemployment, disability, old age and more. Close to 15% of my monthly income goes toward insurance. I dont believe that Im going to have a car accident, a serious illness, or that my house is going to burn down, but I still pay for insurance. I believe that most Americans feel the same way. So why havent they taken out insurance against Y2k disruptions? Even if they believe theres only a 2% chance that there will be infrastructure failures, wouldnt you think theyd spend an amount equal to, say, their health insurance to prepare? Its doesnt make sense.
Many people seem to believe that business and government will not allow a simple computer glitch to seriously affect their lifestyles. Its odd that there doesnt seem to be a similar belief that God wont allow the unthinkable happen. Many fundamentalists believe that Y2k collapse is the consequence of placing our faith in Capitalism rather than Christianity as we sow, so shall we reap. Even though Im not a fundamentalist or a Christian, I can see how this simple oversight could very well be our undoing. Where cooperation, generosity, honesty, and a willingness to make do with less would have made the problem manageable, we met it with denial, dishonesty, greed, competition and fear. Is it reasonable to expect that there will be no consequences for this? If Y2k is a test, I believe that we failed. We will be sent back to repeat the last 100 years if were lucky, 1000 years if were not.
Its interesting to me, how Y2k has struck such a responsive chord in the conspiracy theorists. I never bought into the Kennedy assassination theories or the Trilateral Commission. I remain skeptical of the WTO and the NWO conspiracies. However, its harder for me to explain the Y2k spin as simple fear and ignorance than as a government conspiracy. I dont know about chemtrails, white vans and detention camps. But I can imagine a think tank conjuring up various scenarios (infrastructure failure, nuclear accidents, civil unrest, etc.) and how these could be used for the governments advantage. Otherwise, why wouldnt the government have started releasing the air out of the balloon (economy) last year rather than pumping it up. Now, rather than absorbing the pain over a year or two, were going to experience the same pain compressed into a few days, when the balloon pops. Instead of injuries, we will have casualties. Instead of repairing our faulty economy, we will have to start over. (Sometimes I see this as the blessing of Y2k, not the casualties, but the building of a new culture based on cooperation and respect for the earth).
I believe that I personally have a 50/50 chance of seeing 2001. I could have improved my chances (to maybe 90/10) by relocating to a rural community. Instead, I have made preparations for my family to do without services in our suburban home for up to three months. Somehow I cant imagine camping out at my house for 90 days. I also cant imagine my city without power for a week. Will the government be distributing bottled water and MREs to all the people, who because of their advice, didnt prepare? Will they be dropping off porta-potties, when the sewage treatment plants stop working? Will they be setting up refugee camps, where millions of the unprepared can be cared for? What about the aged and infirm who are dependent on the medical system? A week without power would be a magnitude of 10 on the Y2k scenario scale. Considering where we are now, less than 2 weeks away from rollover, anything over a five seems inconceivable.
Riding home in the car this afternoon, I heard that someone is auctioning off an invitation to the Playboy Mansion for New Years Eve. Now thats unimaginable!
-- Bewildered (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 19, 1999
The stock market bubble and Y2K denial are not unrelated. No one has wanted to pop this stock bubble with bad news. Especially if Y2K did actually turn out to be a BITR. And remember that lots of serious "experts" are still saying exactly that. So there's lots of room for doubt in the minds of policymakers.
The amazing thing is that anyone can look at the ordinary track record of the software industry and then take any of these self-reported Y2K status statements seriously. And on top of that, minimize any possible effect from small business and global unprepardness!
Part of it is simply the unprecendented nature of this problem. We've never had to worry about simultaneous failures in the supply chain. We've never had a worldwide computer problem. The economic problems we've had in the last few years always seem to work themselves out without any major impact in the U.S. If Japan can slump, and Mexico can crash, and Asia can nearly crash, and Russia can collapse, all without affecting US standard of living, what could a silly programming error do?!
Again, it seems delusional to look at the Japanese stock market and claim nothing like that can happen here, but that's what they do. Lets hope the pollies are at least partly right...
Better to have egg on your face than blood in the streets....
-- You Know... (email@example.com), December 19, 1999.
I have the feeling that you are either in your 20s or you weren't hurt in the early 80s recession, to the extent that you often had to choose between heating your abode or eating... I won't go into lecture mode, but you sound so lost. Face it: the gov't doesn't care about us, nor does big business. Many American workers themselves have adopted a "life for today" philosophy that would make many of our grandparents and great grandparents cringe (and some are!)
Thus, none of the present foolishness is a surprise to me.
Your point about the conspiracy theorists is well-taken. I never thought that I'd see the day that folks like David "I believe in Grey Aliens and Cosmic Takeovers" Icke is taken seriously as a researcher or that Bill "Grow Bolder, Not Older!" Kaysing is best known for his argument that we never went to the moon. (Look up both names in www.altavista.com if you need more info).
You're not stupid, Bewildered -- you can observe and analyze. I rate your odds of survival as better than 50/50, unless you are still in NYC or LA. (:
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 19, 1999.
Let's stop and consider the numbers if we think that .gov will come to our rescue. There aren't enough MRE's, bottles of water, porta-potties, or WARM shelters for even a small percentage of the major population centers for even one day, let alone weeks or months. I truely believe that if things do come apart with our infrastructure we will see TEOTWAWKI (not TEOTW) in very short order. I've been a Christian all my life, but never prayed alot. I've probably prayed more in the last month than ever. I live in a very rural area, am well preped, and do not worry about MY family, but it breaks my heart when I think about what may happen to those who DGI.
-- Ace (Ace@nospam.com), December 19, 1999.
Bewildered: Insightful post. Pollies are toast.
-- dinosaur (email@example.com), December 19, 1999.
Look at the legacy thing. Emperor Billy has done very little but chase skirts and dismantle our defenses. This is truly Nero fiddling but back to the point. If .gov comes out early with potential problems than they lose the ability to COMMAND the masses through the turmoil. They also would have the disruptions possibly sink the economy that allows them to get away with jsut about everything. Their rationalization includes the well if its going to be bad why worry what you can't fix, and the masses aren't prepared for INFORMATION because they are idiots.
So it is up to the individual to decide to buck the trend and prep or follow the sheeple. I feel that prepping takes on an almost political statement that 1. I don't trust the government, 2. I am responisble for my family.
If you wish to trade freedom for an overseer then that is YOUR choice.
-- Squid (ItsDark@down.here), December 19, 1999.
Lady Buckeye: Do you like to mudwrestle?
-- King of Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 19, 1999.
Y2K impacts will increase the gross national product in the same way that car accidents, broken legs, lawsuits, and divorces increase the income of those persons and organizations involved in repairing the damage caused by these events. If industry spends $100,000,000,000 to fix the problems, these costs plus the salaries paid to the PR people to spin the minor nature of the problem, by definition result in an increase in the GNP. Is this good for the country? Obviously not. Somebody has to pay these costs and it will not be the government or the tooth fairy. What amazes me is the inability of people to see the interconnections and the willingness of the govermint to lie to the people so that they do not prepare. They cannot be that stupid. Even Curly can understand that there will be major impacts and they will not be happy(face) impacts.
-- Moe (Moe@3stooges.gom), December 19, 1999.
Uh, no. You're truly clueless on GNP. The cost of remediation merely redirects resources from one or more areas of the economy to another area of the economy.
In actuality, the net effect will be a decided DECREASE in GNP because in the near term, the government, and most of the businesses will not see an increase in productivity. Rather, they will at best be able to maintain current productivity, and spend MORE on IT than they would have liked.
While that's good for IT, this does NOT increase the size of the pie. The pie is actually smaller, with more apportioned to IT.
Theoretically, if done properly, many businesses will eventually yield more productivity with newer software and hardware. But that is an upgrade, not just remediation.
-- Jollyprez (email@example.com), December 19, 1999.
I like to tell people that the fact that we're still talking about Y2k with less than two weeks left indicates that it will be a huge problem. If we're so fucking smart and so fucking powerful and so fucking innovative, why the hell aren't we reminiscing about the "We Kicked Y2k's Ass" parades and parties we had last year? We put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon five months ahead of schedule because we overspent and worked our asses off to get them there. One finite, discrete program that took eight years to accomplish.
What is the first and primary mission of the federal government? I would imagine it is the survival and viability of ...... the federal government. That's why there are nuke bunkers for the chain of command and not for everyone in the country. There are very smart, very forward-looking people working for the government, despite what some anti-gov doomers say, and probably in contradiction to what I just wrote above, and I'm sure they've crunched the numbers and done the analysis and made the decisions. We'll probably never know the true story; hell, there are still things from World War II that are classified. We'll have to do some considerable reading between the lines, or listening between the lines, as the case may be.
-- Kurt Ayau (Ayau@iwinet.com), December 19, 1999.
Ladybuckye, you may mock David icke but have you ever read any of his books or listened to him speak?
Did you know that in a recent poll in England more people believe in ET's than Jesus? Do you have any idea of that stats on this? - believe the proportions of people that believe aliens exist in all countries is way over 50%. Remember any of Ronald Reagan's speeches in the 70's/80's???
That puts you in the clueless minority buckeye. Read between the lines, do yoy want it spelt out for you?
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), December 20, 1999.
Kurt, Please take your filthy mouth to the triple X web sites. you will be right at home there. Please lets keep this forum as clean as possible. We do have ladies here, believe it or not and though Im not a female, I dont like to read this kind of filth either. Thanks
-- Rod (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 20, 1999.
Yeah, I'm with you, Kurt.
It's amazing. Somehow, the 100+ techs on this board (and more on others) who have been studying this problem for years are somehow just wrong, while the mechanics and waitresses ("nuthin's gonna happen with Y2K (eyes rolling)") are somehow right.
No disrespect to waitresses: did a lot of that while at school.
-- lisa (email@example.com), December 20, 1999.
Maybe 100+ tech types on this board believe that y2k will be a major disruption to our society, but 99% of the tech types I talk to face- to-face say y2k effects will be minor!
What percentage are others seeing?
-- John Galt (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 20, 1999.