Contingency Planning: Douglass Carmichael's Perspective : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

The following is a slightly out of context excerpt from an excellent paper by Douglass Carmichael that can be found at When you get there, click the link that says, "Y2K!!" and look for his "Most Recent Paper." It addresses the social aspects of y2k and speaks to the issue of community in an interesting, useful way. Strongly recommend you allow it to influence your contingency planning thinking...

Given this picture of unfolding difficulties what do we do?

To jump at the conclusion, I propose that we work in parallel along the following lines

There are several reasonable courses of action. We must proceed  and people will (the evidence for this is much clearer than when this was written) - on multiple paths simultaneously.

First, to try and fix the current systems, and their interdependencies. Try to hold together and repair as much as we can. This might save 70 percent of the overall system.

Second, and simultaneously, to build starting now what we can call the B-system, an interconnection of systems that are guaranteed totally clean. This might include 25 percent of existing fully repaired systems, tested and interconnected by December 1999. This would give us a lower limit to failure. Though social factors can modify this picture.

Third, the development of contingency plans, including the preparation of new legislation so that there can be a debate on what would be tolerable and what would be intolerable and under what conditions. There will be waves of attempted and failed legislation, failing because it stirs too much resistance, or is unconstitutional. The second and third waves of legislation will be more, not less, radical.

And forth, like the air raid practices of World War II, we need to practice soon, cold turkey, for a week, one at time, without banks, electricity, water or food. The population needs to practice, to get tough.

Fifth, do all we can to use local community response as a protection against survivalist reactions and strong arm local control.

Six, use the media to creat4 images of survivalist self starvation vs. vital community cooperation and self organizing design to rework local production and distribution.

Seven use advertising agencies to create interesting, even fun, informative awareness of the problem. being creative about it will shift the perception from boring and scary to scary and interesting.

Eight, Stress actions now, given probable major failures, that can help create a very attractive post y2k community, businesses and governance.

-- Bill (, June 06, 1998

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