On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

January 8, 1999 Permalink

Okay Jay, I apologize. But your post doesn’t match the title “Why I think TEOTWAWKI won’t happen”. Let me take your statements one at a time.

I’m currently living and working in NYC as a sysadmin/ webprogrammer, and I really like my life in NY. I’ve lived in a rent-stabilized apt for many years, have an intresting job, friends, etc.

So you’ve been there a lot of years. New York’s ‘life’ is sustained by a highly complex chain of life support supplies from outside the city. Imagine just 72 hours of no power, no heat, no phone & water pressure failure. What does the city look like at the end of 72 hours? Would you like to walk out of New York City? What odds are you willing to bet your life on? Lets say its 100 to 1, there will not be an infrastructure failure. Would you get on an airplane (free ticket to anywhere in the world) if I told you there was a 1% chance of a bomb on board? Right now, even the squishy pollyannas (Yardeni, Bennett etc) sat they expect “some localized” brownouts and blackouts. IMHO, residing in a major urban area is tantamount to playing Russian roulette without knowing if there is 0 bullets in the cylinder or 6.

Since I don’t want to “head for the hills” I’ve been trying to rationalize why I shouldn’t. I don’t expect Y2K to greatly affect me, but then again I may be in a suicidal denyal, so I’m looking for some feedback to my rationals:

In other words your fleshy comforts are so seductive as to distort your reasoning and now you want someone to tell you everything is going to be fine.

1) By Y2K I will be a couple of months ahead in rent, have gold and silver coins for my savings, at least a month of food, water filters that can deal with the east river, a bicycle and a decent “bug-out” bag. A friend in Westchester has a house with a wood-burning heater/stove, and is also stocking up (I may keep some food there). So if it gets really bad I can do a Snake Pliskin.

If it gets really bad, you are not going to be able to get to Westchester. So you think you can be Snake? Can you shoot a .45 with either hand? How are your personal combat skills in general? Tangle with a nasty caffe latte lately? If it gets bad, the Feds already have containment plans for keeping the hordes in the city. This what I meant by your post title not matching your content. You talk about a “bugout bag” and Snake without any visualization of what the environment would be like. Either leave before Rollover or plan on not leaving at all.

2) This society (USA) has traditionally been horrible at planning past the next election, but is really good at dealing with a crisis. Hence, many systems will be able to “go to manual” BUT IN A DIFFERENT FORM than we are thinking of. The “old ways” of manual won’t work, but we would come up with a new, maybe semi-manual way of doing things in the interm.

Oh please... Name one “crisis” of national scope that we have successfully dealt with since WWII. Desert Storm? Last I looked Saddam is still a threat. Cuba? The Bay of Pigs was a disaster and the missile crisis was a result of Kennedy having bigger cajones (and a lot more missiles) than Khruschev. Localized disaster response (Calif earthquakes, Florida hurricanes) have been just that...localized. Lots of external help. As for the “manual” argument, how exactly are your webpage based businesses going to go manual? How does GM or Ford run their assembly lines without the automated robotics? How does any telecommunications company run on manual if a significant part of the comm lines and satellites are down? How do banks which require computer links for their tellers run manually? How does air traffic control work nationally if the regional mainframes are down (good bet at this point)? Face it, large portions of our economy are totally and irrevocably committed to a cyber framework. Lastly, just for kicks, lets assume that in the USA Y2K is a minor bump. However, lets leave the rest of the world on its present course. What happens to our economy when Japan, Brazil and most of Europe collapse?

—RD. ->H, Time Bomb 2000 Forum (LUSENET), 01/08/99

We are on the wrong side of Pareto’s 80-20 rule. We’re facing a 20-80 success ratio. The systems are not ready. They are unlikely to be ready in 2000. What if some firms stop selling electricity to locals? The grid goes down. It can no longer supply all users with predictable power.

If it goes down, must it stay down? The survival of this civilization rests on the answer. Nobody wants to deal with this publicly. So, the experts say, “we don’t know.” This is the case for optimism. It’s not strong.

—Gary North, garynorth.com, 01/08/99

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