The Changing Y2K Argument : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In my opinion, the prevailing pessimist argument has evolved since mid-1998 (when I began reading Y2K speculation on the Internet.) In the early days, it was the "iron triangle" argument with a panic-induced collapse in 1999. This argument was de rigueur until Y2K awareness skyrocketed and we began blowing by "critical" dates with no significant problems.

As 1999 progressed, the hot new argument became international trade. We may be OK, but our trading partners will drop like flies. Of course, it's harder to forecast the end of civilization based on higher prices for VCRs. A nuanced version of this argument involved natural resource shortages. Fortunately, some readers actually lived through the recession and oil shortages in '72-73. While there were short tempers (and a sour economy), somehow the Republic survived.

While this argument is still in use, the new "angle" is "chronic versus acute." This thesis suggests rollover will have some problems, but Y2K will really be death by a thousand small cuts. The real collapse won't happen on New Year's Day... but later in 2000.

This argument fits well with what I will call "Flint's Observation." No matter what happens on January 1st, everyone will claim they were right.


A common pessimist "riff" is that Americans are not the stalwart souls they were in earlier times. This "fall of the Roman Empire" argument, warms the heart of the conservative Y2K pessimists. There is little evidence, however, of an impending collapse of society due to low morals. (One was predicted during the 60s. Then the "radicals" grew up to drive Volvos, buy tract homes and overindulge their children.) This is an argument rooted in mostly nostalgia and emotion with little empirical backing. (You can prove we have a vulgar, coarse society... but not that we're about to crash.)

Lest Ed Yourdon feel neglected, there have also been a very small number of "techies" who claim "the code is broken" and "we started too late." Of course, this a small minority of a very large IT community. These folks claim only they see the big picture. (Unlike all these dumb CEOs and CIOs.) The "anti-management" bias here runs strong. "Dilbert" is read as a documentary. This argument has been interesting, but there are currently few serious IT thinkers who currently believe Y2K will be catastrophic.

The conspiracy folks have followed Y2K and have it linked to contrails, the New World Order, international banking cartels, etc. As with Roswell, I'll wait for the movie.

Finally, we have a homestead version of Pascal's Wager. This is the argument that justifies Y2K preparation as "just common sense." This may be a reasonable approach... if you eat a great deal of rice and beans, why not stock up at low, bulk prices? The problems occur on two levels. First, this is not a Y2K argument. This is a decision based on one's agreement with one of the above arguments.

Second, this argument works best if preparation consists of "what I would have done anyway." Stocking food, water and other normal consumables seems fairly benign. Emptying one's retirement accounts (at a penalty) is more difficult to justify under this argument.

As with Pascal's Wager, the argument only works if there is no additional "cost" in choosing to prepare. The "consider the alternative" counter-argument does not work for a simple reason. Again, we return to odds and stakes. The stake of flying home for Thanksgiving are your life and the lives of those flying with you. The odds of crashing (and perishing) are rather small. Personally, I'll be home for the holidays. And I'll pay little mind to someone who berates me for being so cavalier. The odds of Y2K being worse than the Great Depression and the Civil War combined... pretty long in my opinion. High stakes, long odds.

Any guesses on the next great pessmist argument?

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999



You forgot the biggy


-- Brian (, October 12, 1999.

* * * 19991012 Tuesday

Ken "Moronic" Decker wrote:

In my opinion, the prevailing pessimist argument has evolved since mid-1998 (when I began reading Y2K speculation on the Internet.) In the early days, it was the "iron triangle" argument with a panic- induced collapse in 1999. This argument was de rigueur until Y2K awareness skyrocketed and we began blowing by "critical" dates with no significant problems.

* * * [RMangus] '... blowing by "critical" dates with no significant problems ...' publicly disclosed!

There have been many postings here about Y2K problems (i.e., Washington state and welfare system that "bumped" upwards of 100,000 eligibles as ineligible due to a problem that was 3 years old, discovered this summer!) have gained public exposure. * * *

Lest Ed Yourdon feel neglected, there have also been a very small number of "techies" who claim "the code is broken" and "we started too late." Of course, this a small minority of a very large IT community. These folks claim only they see the big picture. (Unlike all these dumb CEOs and CIOs.) The "anti-management" bias here runs strong. "Dilbert" is read as a documentary. This argument has been interesting, but there are currently few serious IT thinkers who currently believe Y2K will be catastrophic.

* * * [RMangus] Techies (emplyee and consultant alike) are prohibited from disclosing "proprietary" Y2K information about their employer!

As a matter of fact, most techies are not able to see beyond the visible Y2K horizon.

On another matter of fact, MOST corporate CEO's and CIO's ARE TERMINALLY DUMB TO A CRIMINAL FAULT! Thay can't/won't handle the Y2K TRUTH, either!

WHAT?!?! "Dilbert" ISN'T DOCUMENTARY?!? [Note: Adams came out of the FoMoCo corporate environment! I consulted to FoMoCo for 6+ years. "Dilbert" IS A DOCUMENTARY!!]

Closer to the truth, Decker, would have been the statement: There are currently few serious IT thinkers. (Period!) * * *

* * * The "Final Great (Y2K) Pessimist Argument": Look at the mounting evidence of Y2K systems and business failures, and the failures to respond to the failures effectively!

No argument, there!

Regards, Bob Mangus

* * *

-- Robert Mangus (, October 12, 1999.

The code IS broken.

We DID start too late.

And Dilbert IS a documentary.

-- BigDog (, October 12, 1999.

Nice diversionary tactic, Decker. Let's not talk about Y2K, let's talk about those who have been talking about Y2K.

Ditto, BD.

-- Lane Core Jr. (, October 12, 1999.

Is it good for the U.S. that the yeild on the 30 year bond is now at 6.24%

-- I don't think so (Insert@tab.~shift), October 12, 1999.

Ken sounds like you got everything under control.

Whew, and just in time for Thanksgiving too, thanks a million.


Besides, those cool 1968 rose colored glasses look good on you dude.






Where are them joker double wides dude







-- no talking please (, October 12, 1999.

No, Mr. Decker, you are completely off base -- as always. The "pessimist" argument has always been that the code will not get fixed on time; that we will enter the Year 2000 with un-fixed systems. This has been a constant.

What the impact will be is, of course, highly open to speculation, and is highly dynamic. The state of the economy, dismal reports of expected non-compliance of our major cities, lack of serious preparation on the part of most people, huge debt, fractional reserve banking with only a tiny amount of actual currency, etc., etc., are all relevant and are always used as a "best guess" as to how severe the impact will be. But the bottom line is: Noone knows.

Meanwhile, it is my observation that, by and large, it is the "optimist" arguments that appear to have changed like the wind. From "Y2K is a hoax" to "it is real but way overblown" to "a 'silver bullet' solution will be found" to "it will be fixed by 12/31/1998 with a full year for testing" to "mission critical systems will be fixed by 12/31/1998 with a full year for testing" to "mission critical systems will be fixed with fix-on-failure in lieu of testing" to "fix-on-failure and contingecy planning will see us through".

80 days.


-- Jack (jsprat@eld.~net), October 12, 1999.

I hope you're right,Ken,and I hope I'm wrong.For both our sakes.

-- zoobie (, October 12, 1999.

You left out this one

That Decker dude is FAR OUT!

-- Backspace (delete@no.way~), October 12, 1999.

Thank you Backspace,



-- no talking please (, October 12, 1999.

Now Decker is complaining that some who used to worry about a collapse of the Iron Triangle (a.k.a. 'TEOTWAWKI') are inconsistent and not credible because they have moderated their position. Decker shouldn't have been leaving messages here if he didn't want people to pay attention to him.

There are an infinite number of possible outcomes that fall between a 'bump in the road' and a collapse of the Iron Triangle. If you're convinced that a bump in the road is the only possible outcome for Y2k, Ken, then put that money you took out of the stock market in April back in.

-- Still not sure what Decker's (, October 12, 1999.

My Dear Mr. Decker,

Hope that you don't mind that I continue to call you Mr. Decker. Ken, sounds so cute. :)

I just couldn't help but respond to your latest thoughts about how Y2K arguments are changing. You know, you are right. Things are changing.

I consider myself to be a "doomer" of sorts, if you must put a tag on me. Do I consider that the world will end at the stroke of midnight? No, and I really do not believe that most of the posters on this form do either. I believe that, if you look deep enough, that you do not believe they/we think that. The Y2K situation is currently going thru an evolution. Many people that may not completely understand, when first hearing of Y2K may/could think that the world will end. This is understandable of some, but do not please lump us all into the same sack. Sure, first thoughts should be expected of the "iron triangle", as these are the elements which will have the most immediate touch on every life in the USA. As more knowledge is gained, people relax just a bit. Could there be problems with electricity, banking, or telecommunications? Sure there could be, but I don't think they will keep the world from spinning. As we start to (hopefully) become more sure of the "iron triangle", we start to focus on other areas of our lives that may be touched. That is all. Do I wish to pay twice the amount for some more memory for my computer than I had to a month ago? NO, but seems like an earthquake made that possible. It's life.

Right now, I think people are more open to the investigation of just how Y2K will touch them. We are all just sharing our thoughts, as you do as well.

But then again, it is called Y2K for a reason. Doesn't surprise me that we didn't have huge failures earlier in the year. I expect we will see many more slapping us in the face, as more and more states/cities/counties/companies start slamming in new systems. Heck, where I worked, we installed a Y2K compliant system from a MAJOR vendor. From testing, it was discovered that this system couldn't recognize a silly little date, Feb. 29, 2000. OOPS! Now I call that compliant! We would not have been able to do anything on that day, but through what little testing was performed, we did uncover that little "built in feature".

Just my thoughts.

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 12, 1999.

"While this argument is still in use, the new "angle" is "chronic versus acute." This thesis suggests rollover will have some problems, but Y2K will really be death by a thousand small cuts."

"Death by a thousand paper cuts"...Will someone with a better memory than I please attribute this quote to its proper source, along with an approximate date of origin? I'm afraid that this new angle is so old I cannot remember who first said it.

I think Ken is annoyed that Marianne Michaels isn't quoting him in her book...

-- (, October 12, 1999.

What's strangest about Decker's Y2K prescription is that it could not be meanfully followed or executed unless one began preparing a year or more ago.

Example: due to locale (temperate central Texas, next to huge lake, local electricity is hydro), preparing for an '8' cost me about $200.00.

When I finally committed to/finished with '8' preps in May, I moved on to '4' preps - which will have cost me an additonal 8,000.00 by the rollover. Upside: with no debt, will be moving into a newly-built home by April if for some reason Y2K is < 3/4.

What Decker forgets that in prescribing that everybody get out of debt he could have trashed us into a terrible recession if even 30% of the debtors heeded his advice by now... if, indeed they were even able to heed his advice.

His economic position and Y2K preparation advice is romantic, indeed, but hardly realistic and probably economically dangerous, to boot.

I've noticed that Decker uses Y2K as a venue to convert everybody back to economic frugality - a devolutionary postion, IMO.

But, hey, free advice is worth exactly the price.

Keep on truckin, Deck.

-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.

Dear Mr. Decker,

Great post! I've observed the same things. Plus, the majority of responses to your original post are most illuminating! Most just attack you, or call you names since you don't share the respondent's view for some sort of TEOTWAWKI.

The more time marches on the more I'm struck by deja vou (sp). I remember similar "the world is about to end and society will collapse SOON so become a survivalist or die with the masses" line from the late seventies. Then it was nuclear war, economic collapse, ect.

What I've learned is that some people have a predisposition towards doom and gloom. They seek out something that will justify their dark and dreary view of the "probable"...or is it "certian" future. Now it's Y2K; 20 years ago it was nuclear war with Russia. Next few years are bound to bring suitable boogie men for the doomers to latch onto. This insight has been very helpful. I used to be so afflicted. Probably from growing up hard, expecting the "other shoe to drop" all the time; both parents married three times each by the time I was 13. But, thanks to the extreme doomer delusions here, I've seen this in myself...and am now cured of this life limiting affliction. Never was a survivalist...just worried a lot. No more. Now, I've learned to have the attitude "Stuff happens...and life goes on"; "you roll with the punches...get up and go on"..."live..don't worry... your life away".

Too bad there are so many people repackaging the same tired garbage with every new prospect for "doom" that comes along...Y2K just being the current "fad". What strikes me is the inability of many doomers to carry on a rational, logical discussion with anyone who doesn't share their point of view. They either just restate their own position, or try to twist or missinterpret yours in a lame attempt to "refute" your points...and the doomer "peanut gallary" cheers them even greater levels of lunitic "reasoning". If these people weren't serious, it would be funny. Oh, what the heck, laugh at them anyway...BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

In answer to your question, I think the next "retreat" will take the various forms of saying that it will take a long time for the effects of Y2K to "manifest". 1-1-2000 not a problem? Wait for 1-3-2000; the first business day. That wasn't it either? Darn! Wait till the first month end processing! 2-1-2000 and society is still there?? Wait till 3-1-2000! That's when the 2-29-2000 leap year bugs will stop the world from spinning! 3-1-2000??? Society is still there??? Wait till first quarter! April Fools Day will be "Doomer Validation Day"!!! How fitting!! As the year drones on, they will keep shouting the you wait for X processing cycle date to hit! They will also start whining about society still functioning because of how TPTB conspire to control everything behind the scenes...but just wait! It's all about to collapse! Soon! Just like their ilk has been preaching and teaching for longer than I have been alive.

Mr. Decker, thanks for sharing. I've enjoyed reading your post over time. In advance, let me say "Happy new year!!"....that ought to get their goat! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!

-- Genius (, October 12, 1999.

In response:

1. "The code" is always broken, i.e, it ain't ever perfect. "Hoff" built a rather nice argument contending that the current changes (and disruptions) are far greater than those faced on rollover. I have yet to see a compelling rebuttal of this argument (Russ).

2. The contention of remediation starting "too late" is based on metrics. I am not convinced these metrics apply to remediation.

3. I have observed a change in pessimist arguments. This is not a complaint. You can draw what conclusions you will from this observation.

4. My decision to invest (or disinvest) in the market is based on my perception of current valuations... not Y2K.

5. Despite the protestations, some of the Y2K discussions on this forum have focused on a post-Apocalyptic world. Is there another explanation for pessimists longing to watch "pollies" die? (Other than we have some sick individuals present?)

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Soth Park/ Episode "Post Y2K!" Stan: "Man, that dilhole Kenny, I say we get'im. He told us this Y2K thing would be nothin'!!"

Kyle: "yeah!! We haven't eaten in two days!! Even that fatass Cartman is losing wieght!!"

Cartman: "yeah...but I got somethin' for Kenny TAKE THIS!!!" (Cartman pulls out a gun, levels it at Kenny, pulls trigger *BANG!*

Stan: "OHMYGAWD! They killed Kenny!!"

Kyle: "YOU BAST...waitaminute!...Serves him right!!! Damned Polly!"


-- Billy Boy (, October 12, 1999.

Ken, what hypocricy. Every single doomer on this board you've ever crossed swords with has been begging everybody (including you) to prepare so that you're not gunned down in gang crossfire while you're walking to the 7-11 on New Year's day to pick up some BC powder and a slurpee.

And you full well know this.

It's your disgusting habit of over-generalization that's cost you so many erstwhile fans. Or even tolerance for you.

-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.

To anyone who has been paying attention, it is very obvious that the Y2k discussions/arguments on this forum have evolved *exactly* as Mr Decker described.

There has also been a subtle but steady decline in what I would describe as a "confidence in disaster" attitude from those who contribute here. To me it has become quite noticable. The "system's going down and there's no hope" messages which were so prevelant here in late 98 and early 99 have all but disappeared from the landscape. I have the definite impression that most on this forum have "secretly" softened their opinions of what Y2k will bring. Of course there are those who would dispute this, but there is absolutely no doubt the "tone" of this forum has changed.

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.

Just 19 workdays 'till Thanksgiving, and NO heavy lifting in December.


-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in, October 12, 1999.

I've noticed that Decker never changes his Y2K tune. Interesting... n'est-ce pas?

Shift Happens, Ken.

We should have seen a FLOOD of "good Y2K news" by now. Instead the spin keeps on spinning. Last year, I recall we were speculating about "what if" 85% of the computer and embeddeds were Y2K complaint in this country? What could that "other" 15% do? Somehow... 85% now looks optimistic.

We'll see.


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 12, 1999.

Amusing to the max.
I always get a kick from the polly's putting the doomer label on every contributor, although I do tend to wear it as a badge of honor. The reality of the situation is that the group of pollys here should appropriately be assigned the term of "mirco-polly" where as the Kos/Clintoon crowd should be assigned the title of "macropollies". Why? The micropolly looks at their own company and their little world and draws world wide conclusions. Few if any that I've seen post here claim any travel to other countries to see the sorry state they are in first hand. VERY few understand two simple terms which will hurt the United States: "LEGACY" and "JIT"...
When they can address these issues, in realistic terms, with facts, then I might stop laughing. In the mean time quit it guys, you made me laugh so hard I dropped a case of pork and beans on my foot and it hurts.....

Laughing all the way to the bank, as us creators prepare to rebuild,

-- John Galt (, October 12, 1999.

There is no doubt that substantial progress has been made domestically on Y2K. The situation is not what it was two years ago. So what?

We still don't know what's going to happen in a few short weeks, only that most here expect some negative things to happen. If they don't, I'll regret having worried about it. If they do, I'll regret that the problem wasn't fixed in time.

I am personally convinced that it will be worse than what John Koskinen has been preaching. How much worse, I don't know because there is a severe lack of verifiable information as to the status of the projects.

So I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It's not that complicated.

-- Dog Gone (, October 12, 1999.

"We should have seen a FLOOD of "good Y2K news" by now. Instead the spin keeps on spinning." -D Squire

There HAS been a deluge of good news by now. You will rarely see it on this forum because posting it is "discouraged". In the event that it does get posted, it gets snipped, twisted & mutilated beyond all recognition. Above all it is ALWAYS dismissed as -what you coincidently just said- nothing but spin. Is there any possible way that good news could EVER pass your non-spin test and be believable?

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.

CD, Y2K is not about GOOD NEWS.

There IS no good news about Y2K.

It's either gonna be REAL bad, or just MARGINALLY bad.

The only GOOD news about Y2K is that it technically could NOT turn out REALLY REALLY bad.

Is this too hard to capish????

-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.


First, I've never given prescriptions. Second, "everyone" will not get out of debt. Most homeowners do not have the cash to pay off the mortgage. As long as we subsidize mortgage interest, they may have little incentive. Small businesses will continue to borrow when the reward outweighs the risk. Debt serves a useful purpose in a capitalistic society... as most forum readers understand.

Like most good things, debt can become excessive. I have suggested a reduction in consumer debt may prove beneficial in hard times. Contrary to your post, a reduction in consumer may cause a short term problem, but it also offers many long terms benefits. I suggest you read about the "crowding out" effect, the linkage between savings and investment and the economic costs of bankruptcy that we all share. A reduction in consumer debt, with a concurrent increase in the savings rate, would expand the pool of domestic investment capital, lower interest rates and reduce the number of bankruptcies.

If you want to keep your credit cards spent to the max, fine. I just hope we can amend the bankruptcy laws before you (and others) impose the cost of your irresponsibility on the rest of us.

Oh, Lisa, I don't care about your approval, or even your tolerance. But if you want to talk economics, have your ducks in a row. Oh, if you read what I write, you'll find I nearly always qualify my remarks. I have praised some pessimists for their consistent, thoughtful remarks. You, on the other hand, have rarely given more than two sentences at a time, though after reading your analysis of a reduction in consumer debt...


I have seen a torrent of good news. I have my Yahoo news "crawler" pick up every press article with Y2K as a keyword. There is a steady stream of positive articles... every day. What amazes me is how the pessimists can find a dark cloud behind every silver (or gold) lining.

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

"There IS no good news about Y2K." -snip- "The only GOOD news about Y2K is..." -snip- Huh?

"Is this too hard to capish????" Apparently.

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.






-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.


Great Post! We think alike on this one. I've often wondered why doomers spend so much time digging thru data they don't trust. No matter what the data says, they accuse the authors of spin, being PR shills, ect. I've even seen PUBLIC financial reports, audited by OUTSIDE, independent CPA's dissmissed as "creative accounting" by a professed accountant. BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Problem is, doomers don't WANT to get it. They feel more comforatable imagining living in a doomer world with their "preps" than having to face the real world, with it's fast change and uncertianty, and jitters over new stuff to learn, master and PERFORM.

Hey! just coined a diagnosis..."Doomer performance anxiety".... BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!! Yes, doomers, you FEAR performing in the real world...outside the safe confines of your mental "bunkers"!! Living in a nice warm "back to the land" scenario seems much more "known", comforatable, thus appealing....instead of the wired fast changing world of the future.

Again, it has grown to amuse me that some here protest the lack of "good news"....when what they are really protesting is a lack of GLOOM AND DOOM NEWS. That's why they "ignore" the positive, and label what they find...since it lacks any "smoking gun" quaility...and fails to make a case for certian DOOM AND spin, PR, ect.

Sounds pretty desparate to me for people to go "infonaughting" thru internet, government and other public sources...spending so much time....only to castigate what they find...calling it lies, spin, ect. If they believe that, then why do they waste their time digging in data sources they feel can't be trusted. Talk about disconnect!!! I say they need to talk to a psychologist!! BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!

Only 80 more days of safety in your "mental bunkers", doomers....they your "Doomer Performance Anxiety" will rock your world! Got DPA, doomer?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! MAybe after 1-1-2000, you doomers can get "DPA" labeled a "disability" and continue to live in your you become the new "welfare class" living off the pollies taxes!! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!!!!!

-- Genius (, October 12, 1999.

CD and Ken... I have seen a torrent of good news... Decker.

But do you DIG behind the yahoo surface Ken? No. You dont.

I don't consider a watered-down legalese 10-Q statement as "reliable" good newz, although it can offer intriguing clues.

Yes, we do see many corporations and organizations (rarely mid to small businesses) "saying" they are either compliant or "ready" and then something shows up to dispute that illusive "fact."

Like my electric company, PG&E. They finally sent out a press release claiming they were 100%, but when one digs deeper , as I did, you find that release didn't mention those little 'ole exceptions, that indicate... not really, even though they SAY it is. And don't forget that lovely phrase, prominently displayed... "no guarantees."

CD, you ask... "Is there any possible way that good news could EVER pass your non-spin test and be believable?"

Yes. Independent and verifiable "details" publicly available for scrutiny. A rare thing to see, in my internet research experience.

But, of course, the "live" test begins Jan 1st and continues for the first 6 months. We'll let you know, if we've passed in June next year, CD n Ken. If possible. Perhaps, youll both be able to figure it out for yourselves. Or not.

Personally, I think the economic consequences of Y2K will take time to roll out early next year. The obvious places may not be where the biggest problems end up surfacing, IMHO.


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 12, 1999.

C'mon Lisa. You find yourself in the path of a catagory 5 hurricane. Shortly before it strikes the weatherman comes on tv and announces the 'cane has decreased to a catagory 2. Is this "good news", or can there be no possible good news in your view???

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.

Hello Ken! A month or two ago you posted a note in which you said you did not expect to see riots and civil unrest in rural areas(as I recall). I responded and asked if you expected to see riots and civil unrest in urban areas. I can't remember if you answered or not - I do recall that one response to my post was that you were a "closed doomer" pretending to be a polly. So I ask again: Do you expect to see riots and/or civil unrest in urban areas?? How about the large cities with water&sewer problems?? I remember the "oil crisis" of the early 70's. I could be wrong about the exact amount - but I think our imports were cut off to the tune of 5%. I do remember how prices of everything went through the supply affects EVERYTHING from electricity(obvious) to food,transportation,etc.etc.etc.etc. Tell me Ken, do you really expect that our imports of oil (over 50% of what we now consume)will continue as normal after the rollover? Myself, I expect that the USA will be in serious trouble by Sept 2000 - solely due to the energy problems.

-- jeanne (, October 12, 1999.

Dear Mr. Decker,

Remember your question? Next great pessmist argument? I stated they would claim that the DATE PROBLEM would NOT show up on any DATE...but "over time" them more time to get out of eating crow, basically.

Well, look at Ms. Squire's post above mine. Now, she's saying SIX MONTHS!!! We have to wait SIX MONTHS!!! into next year before Y2K may become "apparent". Talk about back peddling!!! BWAAHAHAHAH!!!

She also claims never to have claimed....???

YEs, doomer retreat and bluster fatigue in full swing!!!

Thank you for your original post, Mr. Decker....and thank you Diane for making his point for him! You MUST become a Decker fan!!


-- Genius (, October 12, 1999.

Oh, thank you, CD: perfect example.

Tornadoes are rated on the F1-F5 scale, after the fact, based on the damage they cause. You do not wait until after the damage to determine whether or not you should have prepared for the tornado - you just do it in the 15-30 minutes you have.

Mr. Decker thinks debt reduction is good. I do, too. BUT, no consumer has any chance of reducing debt in order to lessen Y2K impacts AT THIS LATE DATE. The ONLY reason Decker still loiters here is because they STILL HAVE TIME TO PULL OUT THEIR CASH.

He could care less whether people actually brace for the storm. And it's becoming increasingly evident that you don't, either.

-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.

Ms. Cannot-Say: Do you like to mudwrestle?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 12, 1999.

C'mon... I dug behing the crap peddled by Y2Knewswire. I enjoyed the selective cut and paste of the DoD press release where they ignored the scale of testing. Before taking my new position, I worked directly with businesses who really ARE Y2K ready. As always, you want Moses to descend from the Y2K mountain with "Compliant" carved on stone tables by the very finger of God.

If you are not a shareholder, (read owner), public companies owe you nothing in terms of an explanation. Private corporations owe you nothing. If you are not happy, as a customer, vote with your dollars. Unless you have a financial stake in an entity, you may wait a long time for them to provide you with "details." Think about it, Diane. Where's the profit?

The "real" test began a few years ago. After rollover, we'll see who passes and who fails. For the record, I predict an economic downturn, partly due to Y2K. It will not reach Great Depression level. Not even close. And another prediction... no matter what happens, you'll still be trying to convince me you were right all along.

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Actually "Genius" it's Cap Gemini, Gartner Group, Yardeni and even * gasp* Koskinen, et. al., who talk about the rollout during the first six months. But you wouldn't do the homework to find out, would you o'brilliant one?


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 12, 1999.

Remeber people!!! Y2K is a DATE PROBLEM. Computers execute instructions! They work or they don't, basically. If Y2K turns out to be serious, it won't take SIX MONTHS to show up!!!

By what computer processing logic does anyone come up with SIX MONTHS??? Daily processing??? Semi-annual processing....naw...we would call it quarterly....hey! you left out annual processing!! Hey!! you doomers can back peddle ANOTHER SIX MONTHS!!! ALL THE WAY INTO 2001 BEFORE HAVING TO ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG....AND EVEN THEN, MOST PEOPLE WILL HAVE TIRED AT LAUGHING AT YOU NEXT YEAR!! BACKPEDDLE DOOMER, BACKPEDDLE!! SEE HOW FAST YOU CAN BACKPEDDLE...ONLY 80 DAYS LEFT TO BACKPEDDLE AND SAVE FACE!!!


-- Genius (, October 12, 1999.

Stay tuned Ken.

And in the immortal words of General Peter Kind...

Interview: Kind on Monitoring Y2K Millennium Bug--ICC Information Coordination Center (USIS Washington File) 001PZn


Q: And how long do you plan to operate?

A: From the 28th of December through the millennium until we are confident that any Y2K-related disruptions have stabilized.


Q: Are you expecting serious problems on January 1, 2000?

A: I don't think anyone really knows what's going to happen. If someone tells you what will happen with certainty, then they aren't credible. The reason we're doing the things that we are is that there is a potential here. We think we've followed good remediation and testing procedures here in the federal government, and we hope that's been done in other organizations, in industries, in other nations. It's prudent to be prepared. We're prepared to collect the information, assess it and try and recognize the early trends. These could be good as well as bad, and we're hoping they're good.

The essence of the problem is time compression. Multiple sectors could be affected in a short period of time. Normally, when you have a disaster it affects only one organization sector or geographical area. The potential here is for multiple effects. As time goes on, the more work gets done, the more testing gets done, things look better. And we shall continue checking and testing, but it's still appropriate to have the capability to monitor the situation when the time comes and to provide clear reports to decision-makers, the press and citizens throughout the world.

-- Diane J. Squire (, October 12, 1999.

That's right, genius, only 80 days for you to snap out of it.

Hey, if I say Y2K was a bust and eat 70 lbs of crow today, will you leave right now? Please?

-- lisa (, October 12, 1999.

O ye of little genius,

It's NOT "just" a date problem. It's a people problem, a supply chain problem, a JIT problem, a global problem, and quite possibly a terrorist problem... etc.

Think! Or not.


-- Diane J. Squire (, October 12, 1999.

Attempting to artfully dodge my hurricane (NOT TORNADO) question Lisa?

The issue is; Would you consider it "good news" or not?

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.


Never said Y2K was "just" a date problem. Your post was a classic example of your lame attempts at debate. First, you try to reword my statement...adding the word "just" to imply that I don't see the "big picture" of the dominos low and dishonest of you, "moderator"...what a joke!

Y2K is a DATE PROBLEM. The other things you list are the effects..or as you doomers like to refer to them.."dominos". Hey! No DATE dominos cause, no effect...get it? Or not!! I understand "IF...THEN" logic quite well!!!! Your attempt to imply I don't connect the date problem cause with the systemic effects is a quite low, contemptable and pathtic form of ad hominum attack, Diane. Must not have any better respone, huh? Then why bother?

Why don't you reason intellectually honestly? Why did you, in your post reword my statement by putting the word "just" in there to imply I didn't see the connection between the date problem aspect of Y2K and the resulting fallout it would bring in the areas you mentioned, such as JIT, ect? Is your position so lame that you have to use such "gutter" tactics in your reply? More and more my impression of you lessens. Your "SPINNING", trying to redefine my post, and SPIN in the minds of readers what I think about Y2K is PATHETIC, woman!!! HAve you no shame? Or integrety? OR solid "doomer" ground to stand on.....your petty little STINKBOMB 2000 dictatorship/forumn has another 80 days left, Diane....enjoy, despot!

Amuses me... you, who post about "spin" and "spinning" so much DO IT ALL THE your post I reference exemplifies!!! Bad try, a battle of are pathetic!

Got IQ? Use it! OR not!!



-- Genius (, October 12, 1999.

Diane, once again you did a Yoman's job posting the "facts." You have for over a year. (I don't see any "facts" from genius & cd....)

CD: Lisa told you they don't rate tornados until "after" they've occured. Please, you are getting dull-minded.

Decker: As usual, nice writing. But "the odds of Y2K being worse than the Great Depression and the civil war combined...pretty long in my opinion." ... Huh? Who said anything about that scenario???? Good god man you lost the entire argument in one sentence.

And BTW: I am not a pessimist. Never have been, never will be. But this problem is unique; Y2k was created by Man and then taken a step further by Man being cheap. Yes, the programmers saw a problem coming, told the companies and the companies were too cheap to fix it, just putting it off until another day. That's why I think there will be disruptions in every aspect of our lives. Because it has been there all along...waiting to happen. (Not because I'm a pessismist looking for a way to have fun by visualizing the end of the world...!)

Ed Yourdan is right: The End Game is here

-- mar (, October 12, 1999.

"The only certainty is that nothing is certain." Pliny the Elder, Roman Scholar(c. 23-79)
"Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

"A living thing is distinguished from a dead thing by the multiplicity of the changes at any moment taking place in it." Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

-- Donna (, October 12, 1999.


Have you read Paul Milne? Cory Hamaski? Ed Yourdon? Have you read the preparation recommendations herein? I took heat for suggesting 30 days of food was plenty. During both the Great Depression and the Civil War, we had a functioning economy where essentials were available... at least to those who could pay. I've made this observation on many occasions, however, the serious pessimists often predict far more dire consequences from Y2K problems.

Answer me this, if we have a functioning society... how useful will a year's worth of rice and beans be? With a stable job can't you keep buying rice and beans?

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Mar- "CD: Lisa told you they don't rate tornados until "after" they've occured."

Not that I am partcicularly interested any longer, but for the record, here was my question to Lisa ...

You find yourself in the path of a catagory 5 hurricane. Shortly before it strikes the weatherman comes on tv and announces the 'cane has decreased to a catagory 2. Is this "good news", or can there be no possible good news in your view???

She did not answer my question. Are you implying she did, or do you not understand the question either?

-- CD (, October 12, 1999.

Here's the "Changing Polly Argument":

"Y2K? Hahaha. You pod people slay me."

"Well there'll be some problems. Minor ones"

"Uh, an economic downturn is possible"

"And maybe a few Bophal level disasters"

"But no depression"

"Er, no Great Depression"

"Ah, make that - no Great Depression and Civil War combined"


"Oh SHIT!!!"

-- a (a@a.a), October 12, 1999.


My predictions:

July 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K August 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K September 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K October 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K November 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K December 1998 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K January 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K February 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K March 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K April 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K (Decker sells equities) May 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K June 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K July 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K August 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K September 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K October 1999 Sharp recession partly due to Y2K

Hmm... I think there's a pattern here.

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

WOW!!! Is it just me, or did the level of heat get turned up in this post. I have got to hand it to you Mr. Decker, you sure know how to stir the pot.

I can just imagine some people hitting the refresh on this thread. Red in the face, eyes about to pop out.

Mr. Decker, you as well as others wonder when the "doomers" will admit defeat that Y2K was no big deal. Fair enough, when will you admit defeat if it turns out to be a big deal? Is that a fair question?

KOS... only if in chocolate pudding.

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 12, 1999.

Decker: Can anyone *not* read Milne? He's extreme, probably beyond extreme; but, I like a man who states his beliefs and acts accordingly. He's true to himself.

Hamanski/Yourdan: They say prep for at least 2 weeks or whatever timeframe makes you comfortable. What worries me is the amount of preparing they are doing personally. These guys are on the front lines. I trust what they have to say.

I suppose it's the same debate: Will it happen? You think no. I think yes. You have 30 days worth of supplies. I have 90. I don't really think a years worth of supplies is feasible. You can only do so much and then you must accept what is. But if peace of mind comes from having a years worth of beans and rice, then who are we to question that?

The Serious Pessimist is prepping for the unintended consequences that could arise from y2k. (poisoned water, cyberterrorism, nuclear attack, etc.). I can't think of that right now--and there is certainly nothing I can do about it. I am ready for the power and water to go out. I fully expect it to. For how long? Weeks and weeks. I have supplies to cover that scenario. Anything worse and we'll all have to make do. Like it or not.

CD: I'm implying that Lisa answered your question...

-- mar (, October 12, 1999.

Hi Ken! How about answering my question?? You previously stated that you did not expect riots and civil unrest in rural areas. Do you believe that riots and/or civil unrest may occur after the rollover in urban areas? If so, why? Do you really believe that the USA will (after the rollover-CDC) be able to continue to import over 50% of their energy needs? If not, are you able to follow the line of thought that will tell you what may happen to our way of life if, for example, we are only able to import half of the oil that we usually import?

-- jeanne (, October 12, 1999.


Unrest is possible, but unlikely. January is a poor month for rioting in most areas. Ironically, most riots occur in poor income areas... where the rioters damage their own local businesses. A riot takes tremendous energy and burns out quickly in most cases.

Fortunately, water is Y2K ready and will flow downhill. So will sewage. In the event of Y2K problems, fixing these systems will be the first priority, however, I think the chances of serious problems are small.

There might be oil shortages, and prices will increase. This is the natural law of the economic world... the interaction of supply and demand. Beat the rush and buy a smaller car. Better yet, live close to where you work. Make your home more energy efficient. In the 70s, we actually paid attention to our thermostat.

In the event of shortages, we will adjust our spending. There will be economic problems... but how does buying a gun with 10,000 rounds of ammo help you make it through a recession?

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker, you as well as others wonder when the "doomers" will admit defeat that Y2K was no big deal. Fair enough, when will you admit defeat if it turns out to be a big deal?

Nobody will admit defeat if it turns out to be a big deal, because this forum won't be here and most of the people on it will probably be dead anyway. So, it's not really a fair question.

-- (its@coming.soon), October 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

As to the gun and ammo for a downturn in the economy. Simple, as more people lose their jobs, which is what would occur during a very bad downturn, they will become more, how shall I say it, open to getting what they need. I do not wish anyone to be so open about meeting the needs of feeding their family, that they just make up their mind to help themselves to what I have. The goods that I have purchased are indeed for the downturn. I bought them, paid for them in full. I'll be damned if anyone will just walk away with them. Now, asking is a different question all together. Catch my drift?

Never again will I allow anyone to break into my house (or me catch them in my house) to help themselves to what I worked hard to pay for. They will be required to deposit a little "something" if they insist on leaving with my stuff.

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 12, 1999.

Ms. Cannot Say,

Those who speak most glibly about violence, often have never experienced it. Carry a weapon and go into harm's way, ma'am. Then we'll talk about what is worth taking a human life.

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Ken: I'll have to take your word for it, but it seems I remember you ridiculing the folks on this forum that predicted economic downturn when you first appeared (you know, right after Mamma Decker explained to you what the initials "Y2K" stood for). As for myself, the following posts show that at least this "doomer" is unwavering. I stand by my assessment of a 1-in-5 chance of a Milne and 1-in-2 of a depression. I give your outcome about 1-in-3.

Year 2000 Predicted Crisis Severity - Dec 98

Year 2000 Predicted Crisis Severity - Mar 99 Mar 99

Year 2000 Predicted Crisis Severity - Jul 99

I'll probably post a final update later this month. And FYI, it hasn't changed. Note also that the predictions are for "Year 2000", not "January 1, 2000".

-- a (a@a.a), October 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Where in my post did I say something about taking a life? I don't recall typing that in. I said they may be required to make a "deposit". An arm or a leg would do just fine. Have I ever experienced violence? YES! The person that broke into my home attacked me. He left with a camcorder, my purse, and keys. I didn't really care about the items that he took, except for the tape in the camcorder, as it had my son's second Christmas on it. That is something that cannot be remade. I was unsure what he would do to me, so I fought him back. If anyone attacks me again, I would not hesitate to protect myself, or that of my family. What, are you saying that I should let someone rape me? I don't think so. That was the fear that I had at that moment. It lasted a VERY long time, and I am not so sure that I am completely over it.

Just because I am not some big man doesn't mean that I don't have the right to protect myself and my family. I will use whatever means I determine is needed.

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 12, 1999.

I don't get it. Ken, you complain on one hand that doomers ignore all the good news, and on the other hand that doomers are changing their tune and thinking it won't be all that bad after all. Which is it?

Personally, I've come to terms with not knowing. My guess is still 5-7 (on the 10 scale), but I will prepare for as bad a situation as I can. I like insurance; I like to play it safe. Of course there are reports which scare me up to a 9 or have me momentarily believing a 3, but since there is nothing I can do to influence Y2K's severity, I concentrate on getting my preps done and enjoying life as much as I can.

-- T the C (, October 12, 1999.

Hi Ken! In the 00's, you might actually pay attention to your "survival" garden. It is clear that you do not have a clue as to how dependent the food producing industry(growing,processing, distributing) is upon energy/oil. Have you not thought of the interconnections, or do you refuse to visualize that chain of dominos?

-- jeanne (, October 12, 1999.

What's wrong with revising your accessment of the situation as more information becomes available? Any successful organization does so. Also, please consider that a recession can quickly turn into a depression with the conditions that exist today (unprecedented stock market overvaluation, record consumer debt levels, record trade deficit). Total debt is now 2.75 times GDP, and household debt approaches 100 percent of personal income, far higher than any other time in history. Even without y2k, we are in uncharted territory, and almost anything can happen.

-- Dave (, October 12, 1999.

RUOK asked about the phrase "death of a thousand cuts." I saw it in print in regards to Y2K back in January:

The most common scenarios envision the USA facing pockets of short- lived serious hardship and a scattering of annoyances over the next 36 months  death of a thousand cuts by the worst descriptions.

-- Linkmeister (, October 12, 1999.

C'mon, "a," it was your mother who told me about Y2K. (laughter) Here's my assessment:

No impact: 1 in 10 Mild impact: 1 in 5 Decker: 1 in 2 Severe impact: 1 in 5 Milne: 1 in 10,000

Ms. C.S.,

You implied a willingness to engage in violence. This is not about gender... it about a hard lesson. When we commit an act of violence, even in a "just" cause, we pay.

Tricia, (some) pessimists don't ignore good news... they interpret it through the lense of their faith. I'm not sure how to explain why the argument is changing. One reason, for the more cynical folks, is that they discard old arguments because of overwhelming data contrary to their opinion. Pessimist rule one: make the data fit the theory.


Call me when you understand market economics. The domino analogy is badly flawed. Capitalism is redundant. The market re-allocates resources based on supply and demand. A shortage of oil does not mean you or I will starve... it simply means we will pay more. Perhaps you'll have to buy less of another good... c'est la vie.

-- Ken Decker (, October 12, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Next great pessimist argument? The code is broke. And nobody cares. Reason for stating this? In the past two weeks, the company I work for discovered that their multiple cycles of assessment, remediation, upgrade, test, reassessment, re-remediation, re-upgrade, and retest has produced..... (wait for it) BROKEN CODE! Ta-da. Result? The senior staff has been told not to make plans for New Years. When asked what it is that they expect us to do about code that was proven to be going to fail when the big rollover rolls over us, the reply was tha "You'll think of something." (With a straight face, no less). A comment worthy of Dilbert's pointy-haired boss. Followed by "After all, you're not going anywhere till you get it fixed." Which in this case means that I will be even older than I am now, with a loooong white beard, before I get to go home, since we have hardware that fails the date rollover (which I have no means of fixing), an operating system that fails the date rollover (which I have no means of fixing), vendor software that our system is built on top of (which I have no means of fixing), and code that is going to fail (which I could fix, if any of the other stuff was working, except it takes the staff remaining after the last year's attrition over 90 days to put out a new release without breaking everything else in the company, which is about 90% of the rest of the company.

And this is the 'good news'. After all, this company published probably the 'most honest and straightforward 10-Q seen yet'. (And that was on THIS forum!) Trouble is that they failed to mention these small, minor glitches, like that they are going into the new year with code that they KNOW is broke, won't work after rollover, and they aren't doing anything about it.

-- just another (, October 12, 1999.

Ken: Call me when you understand the oil/energy input requirements of modern agriculture. I certainly won't starve, it's true. I live on a farm and with very little outside source inputs, can raise enough food for my family. Subsistence farming will not provide for the needs of the people of this country. Do you really think that a higher price will magically produce the finished goods? It is a long route indeed between the farmer's planning and seed selection to the finished product in the grocery store. Your flippant comment above reflects a shallow callousness that I did not believe was in your character...closely akin to "let them eat cake".....In any event, good luck to you and yours; I hope you are able to buy all the things you and your family needs in the next year or so. We shall see.

-- jeanne (, October 12, 1999.

Diane, You make a very reasoned case for your position, as does Mr. Decker. I've enjoyed the exchange. As far as even responding to "genius" (, I really don't understand why anyone would. How much genius could really be at work when ET CETERA is consistently abbreviated as "ect." Maybe I read too fast for some of these posters, but it really becomes annoying to continually trip over things like that, I can tolerate a bonafide typo, we all have those from time to time.

Ken, As I said, you do have a balanced and reasoned approach, however, that may very well be your undoing. I'm not foolish enough to hope for the best out of the situation we find ourselves in, as y2k is only a little bitty slice of this pie. You fail to address the mess that is fractional reserve banking. It is USURY! If you don't understand the eventual consequences of such a thing, perhaps you should do a bit more study in the field of economic principles. Principles can only be denied for so long before our chickens come home to roost, and this particular chicken happens to be a two hundred ton gorilla sitting on top of the BUBBLE that is our stock market, and his name is DERIVATIVES... It won't take anything as nearly as consequential as y2k to make it go pop, and if you're so blind as to not see that coming soon, then open your eyes, smell the coffee and wake up. You won't want to be in the way, I assure you. The changing y2k argument? God help us if it doesn't change, it is only the lynchpin.

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.

Mutha, YOU ARE still here!!!!!!!!!!

I was really getting worried, no joke.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 13, 1999.


Government's top Y2K expert predicts failures for weeks, months

July 30, 1999
Web posted at: 12:06 PM EDT (1606 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Don't expect the Year 2000 technology problem to disappear after Jan. 1. President Clinton's top Y2K expert said failures could extend well beyond New Year's Day.

Although John Koskinen predicts there will be a national "sigh of relief" in the early hours of Jan. 1, he also anticipates scattered electronic failures over the first days, weeks and even months of the new year.

Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that some failures may not become obvious until the end of January, the first time after the date rollover that consumers review their monthly bank statements, credit-card bills and other financial paperwork.

"It won't evaporate until after that," Koskinen said. "Clearly, this is more than a January 1 problem." But he also slightly hedged his predictions: "None of us are really going to know until after January 1."

Unless repaired, some computers originally programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year will not work properly beginning in 2000, when those machines will assume it is 1900.

Some computer systems may shut down quickly with obvious failures, and others may gradually experience subtle problems or degraded performance that may take weeks to notice.

"The more difficult problem will be where the system looks like it's doing it correctly but it's doing it all wrong," Koskinen said.

Some failures won't be recognized until the work week starts Monday, Jan. 3, as employees return to their offices and turn on their computers for the first time.

Repaired computers also will need to recognize 2000 as a leap year, even though most years ending in "00" don't need to adjust for Feb. 29, he said.

A new $40 million Information Coordination Center being organized down the street from the White House will operate until March, sharing information about failures with states, federal agencies, corporations and foreign governments.


-- Linkmeister (, October 13, 1999.


Playing the crowd (and some clowns :o) Very good, well time will tell and words are cheap. At least you are good with words eh?

I know better, cheap thrills. Keep up the good work that you do.

-- Brian (, October 13, 1999.

Hey, Mutha, whereya been all this time.

Yeah, this irritated me so bad I had to leave early and go fishing.

a, you pegged it again with the polly progression, amazing you can speak so elegantly with that thing in your mouth.

-- lisa (, October 13, 1999.


Oh, great. Another homesteader ready to lecture at the LSE. Do you have any idea how much oil we squander? Do you think if there were a shortage the SUV drivers would take precedence over farmers? Do you think the strategic oil reserves would be used for Sunday drivers? Do you realize how a substantial price increase would move domestic wells (currently unprofitable) back into production? Do you think anyone is practicing conservation given the unusually low energy prices?

Here's a clue, Jeanne... in the event of an oil "crisis," the price of goods (including food) will increase. There is nothing magical about farming. The farm is a business producing food for the marketplace.

Like any business, when the price of production rises, a price increase is passed to consumers. Unless people decide to stop eating, they will pay increased costs. In some items, there may be shortages, but right now we have wheat rotting in the fields due to low prices.

People are not going to eat more during an oil crisis... they are just going to pay more. We have far more productive capacity in American farming than we need. We have simply kept marginal farms in production through ag subsidies.

Your writing suggests a shallowness of thinking about agriculture and economics. I'll be eating cake next year, Jeanne, and you are welcome to a piece if you stop by.


Fractional reserve banking is a fact of modern economic life. Try to outlaw it, and you'll have the same results as Prohibition. Loan sharking will become as profitable as drug dealing. Big businesses will simply borrow money from foreign lenders who allow "usuary." You'll learn the same lesson the Christians learned from the Jews.

Like it or not, fractional reserve banking exists. Debt serves as important purpose... or do you prefer everyone save until they can buy a house for cash? Would you like businesses to fail because of a short term problem... outlawing the lending of money?

If you have money, should you not receive a fair price for lending it? And what better way to determine interest rates than to allow the free market to determine them? Do you prefer a command economy where the State dictates rates... and then deals with the inevitable "black market" in loans?

The stock market bubble will be a passing problem... like every other speculative bubble. Same with derivatives. They are market mechanisms... not the underlying economy. The real economy is surprisingly strong given the length of the current expansion. The real economy is why a 23% drop in one day (1987) did not cause another Great Depression.

Take you own advice, Patrick... read economics. Start with Adam Smith.

-- Ken Decker (, October 13, 1999.

My Dear Mr. Decker,

I see that you addressed everyone with the exception of my last message to you. Is it that you agree with what I said about violence or do you have no comment? Just wondering.

Hope your meeting went well. Cheers!

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 13, 1999.


"Do you realize how a substantial price increase would move domestic wells (currently unprofitable) back into production? Do you think anyone is practicing conservation given the unusually low energy prices?"

Careful there're getting into territory that's obvious you know little about! When shooting off your sure not to shoot yourself in the foot.(g) Just a little free advice.

-- Cary Mc from Tx (, October 13, 1999.

Cary Mc from Texas! It is obvious that Ken knows as little about oil production as about agricultural production. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing-particularly if the person is in a position of power. Let's hope that is not the case with Ken. He has a little knowledge concerning economic theory, I'm sure. I'm glad that I don't have to depend on him for my family's well-being in the next few years. I have a nephew that sounds just like Ken---graduated with honors with MBA in Chicago....but he is unable to see either the "big" picture or the smaller picture of how a particular industry really does operate. Ken and my nephew - both with the depth of a saucer. Well, I hope they both have cake to eat this time next year. If so, that will surely mean that millions of others will at least be able to afford bread! If the USPS is operational, I'll even send Ken a cake mix!! I'm checking out of this thread-but will remember to check back to it next September...I truly hope that my predictions are totally wrong.

-- jeanne (, October 13, 1999.

Ken- Am I understanding you correctly when you say it's alright that you pay for four houses in order to own one, with the interest paid up front?! That's nothing short of criminal and on a far grander scale than loan-sharking ever could be. Adam Smith is theory not principle. In the days of our ancestors, people were shunned both for borrowing and lending. Those days will be returning soon. Read Maynard Keynes, (the disgusting pervert that he was), and you'll see that it was his plan to "rape" the people of their wealth with his system, and that only one man in a million would figure it out. Obviously, you're not that one...

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.

Ms. CS, I did respond.

Cary, let me refer you to the American Petroluem Institute.

In particular, read "Economic State of the US Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Production Industry: Long-Term Trends and Recent Events" by Jody Perkins. Let me quote the first sentence in her executive summary:

"The US oil and natural gas exploration and production industry is experiencing significant financial difficulties. The main cause is the recent decline in both crude oil and natural gas prices."

There is a production cost associated for every oil well. When prices are high, "marginal" wells are brought into service. When prices are low, these marginal wells are unprofitable. Read the following press release:

As you can tell from the above example, the domestic petroleum industry has been hurt by low prices. While you might find it ironic, high prices would be a boon to domestic firms.

Jeanne, it obvious you have an opinion... but do you hae any facts. Dazzle me with your data on agricultural production. Or just the facts on "the big picture." Until you have some data, you're just blowing smoke.

Please feel free to email me. When the world is still spinning next year, I want to ensure my cake mix arrives safely.

-- Ken Decker (, October 13, 1999.

Ken, I would be very skeptical of any mail from a doomer ;)

Take gift certificates instead.

-- lisa (, October 13, 1999.


It is a free market. If you don't want to take out a mortgage... no one is holding a gun to your head. Or do you want to interfere with my right to engage in such a transaction? Do you want a state-run economy where people are forbidden from engaging in financial services?

As a side note, if you outlaw "usury," you'll be no more successful than the "war on drugs." You'll just make borrowing money more expensive.

Here's a reality pill. We are not about to run an economy based on your personal idea of morality. You will not take away my right to own a gun, buy a book or sell a gallon of good whiskey.

You are free to have bad economic ideas, Patrick. You have every right to vote for people with bad economic ideas. Don't have a credit card, pay in cash, etc., but remember...

your freedom stops at my property line.

-- Ken Decker (, October 13, 1999.

Ken, I have no desire to infringe upon your rights... Article I Section 8 of the constitution states NOTHING but gold and silver coin shall be money. The question is: do we or do we not have a constitution? If you find the current economic disorder acceptable, then be happy to take out a mortgage for $80,000 and pay back $325,000, it's no sweat off of my brow that you throw a 1/4 mil of your life's earnings into the banker's rathole. Personally, I'm building my own home with my own hands, and I'll have 4200 sq. ft. for about 50K and no mortgage. No, no credit cards, but I still know the difference between right and wrong, and this monetary system is simply WRONG. If you don't find it to be so, that's your perogative and you can feel happy with yourself whilst you wallow in your deception. But know this, my beef is that the int'l bankers, (who have no national allegiance BTW), are raping the labor, wealth, and security of my countrymen, and I will never find a way to rationalize these facts away, and be happy in my servitude, as you so obviously have.

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.


The interest you wail about is just a function of time. If we all had the time and ability to build our own houses, AND the 50K upfront, then none of us would need to borrow and pay that interest. And nothing but lack of money prevents us from paying off that 30 year mortgage in 2 years, in which case we wouldn't pay the interest either. But for most of us, it's hard to save up that kind of money while paying rent roughly equal to what a mortgage payment would be, interest and all. Best to take someone else's money for up to 30 years, pay them the interest (which is the opportunity cost of what they *could* have used it for if we hadn't borrowed it), and accrue equity, yes?

But on the other hand, would it be possible for you to lend ME about 50K at NO interest (since you don't believe in it)? I'll agree to pay it back in 30 years. In writing.

-- Flint (, October 13, 1999.


Ah, I see. Another of the member of the lunatic conspiracy fringe. For your information, The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, states:

"To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;"

Where is the language on gold or silver? Oh, since you are a "usury" hater, I give you the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 2:

"To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;"

If you want to amend the Consitution, feel free. But don't prattle on about things the Constitution does not say. If you have the time and money, why not try a court challenge of "fiat" money. See if the Supreme Court agrees with your interpretation. Or are they an "extra- Constitutional" body?

As an aside, unless you have a family of about 12 people, 4200 square feet of home is excessive. But hey, this is America. Build the Trump Towers.

As for right and wrong, pardon me, but who made you the resident expert? You are busy enjoying the fruits of capitalism and the free market system. The materials you build your house from all are provided through our economic system. Or are you drawing your own copper wire for electricity? Forging your own pipe on the anvil? From iron you mined yourself?

You criticize our system... while you have your face in the trough. Change, or leave... but don't waste my time.

-- Ken Decker (, October 13, 1999.

Ken, Forgive me, it was art. 1 sec. 10... Yes borrowing money was allowed - INTEREST FREE - drawn on the bank of the U.S. and not the unlawful private institution that is the fed. Andrew Jackson was the last American president with enough testosterone to call the banksters exactly what they were, a den of vipers, as he routed them out. It took the civil war to get them back in, or do you still believe the silly teaching that the civil war was over slavery? You seem to equate my taking part in what little bit is left of the free enterprise system to being on welfare, (another unconstitutional program), having my "face in the trough" as you say... is this to say that anyone taking part in life has no justification to speak out about the wrongs? What hog wattle. I believe the question I directed at you was: do we or do we not have a constitution? If you fail to recognize this abominable monetary system for what it truly is, then obviously you can't be the resident expert of differentiating right vs. wrong. Maybe we need a right/wrong czar; come to think of it... isn't it curious that they're electing presidents in Russia, and we're now naming "czars?"

Flint, As usual, you bring nothing to the discussion, forgive me if I ignore you.

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.


Sorry about that, I see I wasn't very clear trying to point out the weakness in your argument. Thanks for the tip on the American Petroleum Institute...gee us here idgits in oil/gas country tain't ever heard of themses folks, nor do we get it about why's we drills and pumps that black stuff outta the know, we call it Oril.

Let me requote you and make my point a little clearer.

"Do you realize how a substantial price increase would move domestic wells (currently unprofitable) back into production? Do you think anyone is practicing conservation given the unusually low energy prices?"

Believe me, there's lots of cheering going on among some of the oil people because of the increased price in crude, but here's the kicker Decker...very few new wells/exploration is being done....oil rig count is way way down, infact its at record lows. No way Tx, OK, Ks, NM or LA could make up a deficit of a 10% loss in oil imports by Turkey day 2000. You could pay us all you Yankees want, and still can't happen. Don't believe me? Ask Cheryl the transport to Oregon, she's "tres" familiar with the petroleum biz in Tx too.

Btw, ever owned or invested in an oil well....ever seen one brought in, ever watched a rig drill? Btw, what do you think happened to all that drilling hardware, etc. that we don't use anymore?

-- Cary Mc from Tx (, October 13, 1999.

My Dear Mr. Decker,

I owe my appologies to you for missing your post to me. Sorry. I don't quite get what you were saying about "pay" in the end. I believe that if there is a higher power, that power would forgive me for protecting my family.

Ms. Cannot-Say

-- (cannot-say@this.time), October 13, 1999.

Amusing. *Borrowing* money with interest is wrong, it must say so somewhere around here. *Lending* money at no interest, well, we'll just ignore that and maybe it'll go away.

-- Flint (, October 13, 1999.

In the Scripture... from whence comes ALL wisdom. But God's wisdom is foolishness to vain man.

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.

Well said (for a so-called "polly," that is), although I disagree that it's time to kick back and let one's guard down. Pascal's wager IMO is the PRIMARY reason for a certain level of preps. BTW...I don't think you did a very good job refuting the "Pascal's Wager" doomer argument; you're going to have to try harder. Some of us here believe in high risk of light consequences re: y2k and/or lower risk of heavy consequences. Some are convinced that ALL y2k consequences are going to be low stakes, low odds.

How different people bet is their own business. Our economy and country should be great enough and big enough to accomodate ALL kinds of bets from all kinds of people; but clearly it cannot which is why I believe recession is inevitable in 2000.

As for me, I have no problem with your being "right." I will breathe a huge sigh of relief if we only make it to Jan. 7 without show-stopping problems. Ultimately if the infrastructure holds--barring any strange outbreaks of terror of violence--people will find a way to work around even the nastiest computer problems. It may mean a kick in the gonads to our economy, but it does not mean that it will be "down for the count." I believe (with no real evidence now to back up this blanket assertion) that we are currently in the autumn years of our civilization. Winter is coming, but that does not mean that we will never see Spring.

-- coprolith (, October 13, 1999.


Are you Andy's twin brother? There is no prohibition on interest mentioned in the Constitution. We can talk for hours about the legality of the First or Second National Banks. We can also discuss how a libertarian might argue government has no role in banking whatsoever. Aren't reserve requirements simply government interference in the free market? Of course, we could become the only country in the first world WITHOUT a central bank. Don't worry, though, we can always borrow from the Germans, Japanese or perhaps the Swiss.

While you might be entrenched in "goldspeak," you must realize that money is simply another commodity. As such, it is subject to the laws of supply and demand. The price of money is the interest rate you pay. If we have learned anything in 200+ years of economics, we have learned that governments ought not interfere with prices. If you set an interest rate at zero... the cost of money is too low.

Let me ask you this, Patrick. Is free food a good idea? Why or why not? What happens when we make food free? I'll tell you the economics answer... you have shortages. Prices reflect an equilibrium between supply and demand. When you keep prices artificially low, supply cannot meet demand. You have a disequilibrium. (And I'd call zero interest rates artificially low.)

On another topic, you misunderstand me. I'm saying you are on welfare. I'm saying you criticize the cook while eating his soup. Debt and fractional reserve banking created the tools you are using to build your large house. It created the materials, and made them affordable enough for an average person to buy them. You take away the role of debt, and you shackle economic activity... plain and simple. You'd be building a 42 sq ft hut.

Yes, Patrick, we have a Constitution... and you have every right to challenge any public policy. Use it.


Yes, it would take time to explore new sites and open old wells. But let me ask this... if gas was $5 a gallon, do you think we'd consume the same amount of petroleum? In a national emergency, we'll see high prices have a natural dampening effect, and possibly rationing. If oil is at $200 a barrell, you'll be amazed at how quickly production picks up. And don't think there aren't sites that could move into production ASAP. Trust the free market, Cary. If oil moves that high, I might be a wildcatter. Or bike to work.

Ms. Cannot-Say,

Oh, most Higher Powers are in the forgiveness business. For most people, the taking of human life, even in a just cause, does not come without a price. Of course, you might not believe this reading the forum. There are pessimists rubbing their hands in glee over the deaths of "Pollies." Sad. Before you ever pick up a weapon, you must first decide what is worth killing a person. Most people who own a firearm never ask this question... and when you are pointing a loaded weapon is a poor time for contemplation. My words are not meant to move you one way or the other. Your original comment just struck me as glib. The decision to commit violence, even in self defense, should not be taken lightly. A weapon is something one earns to the right to carry... through training. It is a responsibility every bit as much as a right. And it has been a long day... be well.

-- Ken Decker (, October 13, 1999.

Ken, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe that on the money issue, you're a DWGI. I appreciate the civil nature of your discourse and perhaps we could do it again sometime, albeit on a different issue.

-- Patrick (, October 13, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

I, too, had a dij` vu-like experience when first reading about the so-called millennial fears. I remembered being told, as far back as in Junior High (some thirty years or more ago), about various apocalyptic groups, and how they would settle upon some doomsday date which seemed significant to them. When their prophecies of doom did not materialize, the leaders invariably would shove the date back, and then amazingly, their followers would unquestioningly switch horses without a backward glance!

Are we really doing exactly the same thing as has been done in previous millennial scares? I hear that in the year 999, a significant proportion of the population was thoroughly convinced that they were about to become a part of "the rapture," which meant that they imagined that they would have no further need for their bodies. They hoped to die and expected to be whisked off and to be taken care of by a super parental figure. So sure were they about the inevitability of this happening, that they disrupted many lives by failing to properly set aside enough winter provisions to get their families and their communities past the end of the year.

By contrast, people who post here currently represent a very small proportion of the population. We are concerned about disruptions due to faulty computer code. We are working to survive by taking concrete steps now to physically protect our selves and our families from a wide variety of possible problems that we can imagine. Although most of us are far more dependent upon the industrial complex than we would like to be, we are trying to be more self-sufficient. Some (maybe most) of us may even be in a position to help members of our extended family and our neighbors.

One of the first things that I noticed about the industrial complex apologists is that they rely heavily on demonizing those who are preparing. The judgment ability of those who speak up is called into question by suggesting that there is something about their personalities that triggers their disturbing thoughts more than something about the facts of the situation. I found this discrediting phenomenon interesting enough, that after introducing myself in a Y2K context to this forum, the first thread that I started was on this very issue: Do Yourdonites Have Some Psychological Need to Attach Themselves to Apocalyptic Movements?. You can see for yourself what our answer to that question seems to be.

Although we may sometimes seem to be of one mind on this forum, we are genuinely seeking out relevant information and questioning everything we find, no matter how well respected the source. To equate us with the blind followers of earlier millennial movements isn't quite fair. But, even if we were all serious nutcases, down to the last doomer, that fact alone wouldn't provide definitive proof that our highly interdependent system isn't fatally kaput. Plus, even if it were possible to prove that the system is A-OK, that wouldn't be a good reason to try to obstruct folks who are working to take care of themselves.

As was stated so succinctly on that thread by the person who goes by the name notherethere, "I never wanted to live in [a post-apocalyptic movie]." I will admit to being a big fan of Melissa Gilbert in the TV version of The Little House on the Prairie. I do sometimes wish our world were a bit more like the one depicted in that show. But I do not pretend that I could even come close to living that way now. I don't have a barn and a variety of animals. I don't own fertile land as far as the eye can see in every direction. I don't have a team of well-trained horses to pull cultivating tools or a wagon.

The life expectancy in those days was not much beyond the age I am now (44). Sure, there were plenty of people that got a lot older, but the average was dragged down by early deaths from disease. I have good reason to believe that in case of a collapse of the medical system, I will be one of the ones who would suffer the most, not counting people like my husband who would probably die inside a year or two from debilitating complications of diabetes. Sure, we're stocking medicines but they all have a shelf life inside a few years at best, assuming we can keep them from being stolen by marauders or uniformed thugs.

As much as I might romanticize the wielding of a hoe as a healthy form of exercise, there have been times within the past two years, even, when I have been unable to lift as much as a Post-It Note[TM]. Do I secretly want to see the grid come down so I can bask in the warmth [sic] of the olden days? Hell, NO! Anybody who thinks it's going to be warm without electricity is seriously misinformed.

As for the notion that doomers are defective people in that they are afraid of learning new things, well that's a new one on me! Does this truly lame idea have any real chance of catching on? Nothing would surprise me, at this point. For someone to believe this, they would have to be ignorant enough to believe that self-sufficiency is a piece of cake. Give me a buggy new Windows version any day over that.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), October 14, 1999.

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