On This Day Pre-Y2K

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

February 13, 1999 Permalink

For the record, I will state, not what TEOTWAWKI means for others, but what it means for me and what I believe would be an outcome justifying the label ‘disaster’.


Unemployment reaches or nearly reaches 25% by the end of 2001.

GDP drops by 20% in real terms (adjusted).

Market (DOW) drops into the range of 2,000 to 4,000.

1 year old Lexus available for $5,000 (another reason to have cash).

10% of Fortune 500 bankrupt by the end of 2000; 20% by the end of 2001.

Rampant inflation (25%) or deflation (25%) of goods. (CPI might stay within these bounds due to averaging, e.g. gasoline $10.00/gallon; house $50K vs. $250K)

Bank holiday. Stock market closed for some number of days. 25% of banks close permanently.

Paper money worthless.

Paper money extremely valuable.

Gold coins worthless or seized.

Gold coins incredibly valuable.

Severe shortage of certain essential goods: including perhaps gasoline & other oil goods, processed foodstuffs, fresh fruits and vegetables in the off-season, clothing, automotive parts, & medications, and more. Rationing via either prices, programs, or (probably) both.

Civil unrest. (pick any 2) Riots in ‘the usual places’. State of national emergency declared. Troops (or Nat’l Guard) in the streets at numerous locales. Terrorist attacks. Bombings. Nerve-gas (counts as 2 if over 10,000 die). Other biological warfare: same as above). The dreaded ‘cyber-terrorism’ (money flows through ‘trap doors at $1 billion per day+, majot IT systems brought down ‘this way’ (who could tell?) etc.). A nuclear explosion (counts as 2) - these are bombs, not reactors. Many nuclear explosions (also counts as 2).

2000 elections cancelled (delayed).

Federal, State and local governments ‘fail to function’ (o.k, that *is* the world we know, but it gets worse.) Looks like the ‘Republican’ gov’t shutdown times 2-10.

Infrastructure breakdown. Electric blackouts, rolling blackouts, or rolling brownouts persistent over the course of entire year 2000. Alternatively, one big blackout for 2 weeks or longer. Several major urban areas without potable water or effective sewage treatment. Telephony services intermittant and unreliable nationwide.

In other words, life in the U.S. becomes more like life in the third world, perhaps plus some. This is not “the world that we know”.


U.S. forces attacked with casualties of 10,000 or more.

Defense hamstrung by IT failures.

Several new wars break out (coming to mind: Bosnia (new?) South Korea, Taiwan, Middle East (again, the usual suspects). Chaos triggers these events, though they were ‘likely’ at some point anyway. Nonetheless, there coincidence makes everything worse.

The U.S. gets in a war. (I won’t say “declares war”, since it seems we have stopped doing that.)

Massive coordinated attack on the U.S. Or, just the top 20 cities go down. Who knows? Nasty stuff. More likely terrorist-style vs. frontal attack. ICBMs are always a possibility as well.

The third world ‘drops off the map’. No phones, no water, no power (in other words, things there get a little worse).

Emerging markets simultaneously enter massive depression (Brazil and all of South & Central America & Mexico; SEA; Eastern Europe) ‘Asian Flu’ remembered as “good times”.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind.

—Genroberts, comp.software.year-2000, 02/13/99

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