On This Day Pre-Y2K

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

April 7, 1999 Permalink

No food, no shelter, no safety. Gangs running loose looting and killing and raping. Mass murder, the beginnings of starvation. That is Kosovo today. And, I believe, the US a year from now.

The analogy is even stronger. A few - a very few - Albanians saw this coming. They took action. (Either left the country or joined the guerillas in the hills, depending on their attitude). Most Albanians just shrugged it off - hey, Serbia won’t try to kill us all, will they? Not possible! So they lived their daily lives oblivious to the danger until it was too late. People are the same, all over the world. Few take action before it is too late.

I think y2k is like that. Few will take action until it is too late.

The social contract is frail. When it gets ripped we see the tribal animal exposed. Like in Kosovo.

Unfortunately, I have little money. I can’t afford the place in the country, and I am right smack in the middle of a big city. But I am prepared nonetheless. I owe this to my family. If I’m wrong - no sweat. But if I’m right, the preparations will be worth every dollar.

—NoSpamPlease, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 04/07/99

...before a person takes action, they have to make a decision that “Y2k could be very bad.” That decision -- publicly made -- draws the label of Millennium Nutball or Chicken Little. I recognized this when I made my choice, and I made it anyway because I think it is the rational choice.

But the sheeple are being offered conflicting information from apparently credible sources. They have to make a decision before taking action. Most do care what everyone else thinks. To adopt my position is lose-lose to Joe Public. All other things being equal, Tversky and Kahneman would predict that the large majority will choose to be Pollyannas. They will “logically analyse” the situation and choose Pollyanna.

This is why I think we are seeing the emergence of the Broomdooms, or Pseudo-Pollyannas. The guy at the hardware store, “I think it is all a bunch of hype. It will turn out to be nothing. I’m not worried one little bit. But I’ve always said I really should do something about preparing for an earthquake, and that’s what I’m preparing for. My family will all be here at rollover and I will have a year’s worth of food... Still, I think Y2k is garbage.”

He’s expecting one hell of an earthquake, but he cannot be labeled “Chicken Little”. DeJager is going to go to this position, I think. He will continue to minimize the issue, but he will say Canadians should be prudent anyway. He will mention the ice storm.

Another group, one we won’t hear about, are the ones who choose to prepare without telling a soul. They are buying at the case lot sale to save money. The woodstove is purchased because wood is cheaper than oil. The generator is needed for camping.

—Tom Benjamin, comp.software.year-2000, 04/07/99

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