WARNING TO ALL!!!!greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
We live in a world that depends on a high division of labor. That world has less than three years to go. In one gigantic collapse, the division of labor will implode. This implosion will begin in 1999. It will accelerate in 2000 and thereafter. Those who work in highly specialized fields will find little or no demand for their skills, in the face of an enormous supply of desperate, low-wage competition. Any job classification that did not exist in 1945 will probably not have a lot of demand in 2001, with one exception: computer software programming.
The June 2 issue of Newsweek ran a front-cover story on the looming computer crisis of the Year 2000 -- called y2k (Year 2 K -- shorthand for a thousand). In the week it the article appeared (late May), the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a record new high. (It was beaten a week later.) If investors believed the information reported in the Newsweek article, the world's stock markets would have collapsed. Clearly, people don't believe it. That's why a small handful of people can get out now -- out of the stock market, the bond market, and any city over 25,000.
Not everyone can get out at the top of a bull market. This includes the "bull market" known as modern industrial society. Pull the plug on the local power utility for 30 days, and every city on earth becomes unlivable. What if the plug gets pulled for five years?
How do you rebuild the shattered economy if the computers go down, taking public utilities with them? Without electricity, you can't run the computers. Without computers, you can't fix computers. How can you assemble teams of programmers to fix the mess? More to the point, how do you pay them if the banks are empty?
Chase Manhattan Bank has 200 million lines of code to check and then repair. Citicorp has 400 million lines. All big banks are similarly afflicted. And even if this could be fixed, bank by bank, there is no universal repair standard. Thus, the computers, even if fixed (highly doubtful) will not work together after the individual repairs. A noncompliant bank's data will then make every compliant bank noncompliant. Thus, the world banking system will crash in 2000. When the public figures this out in 1999, the bank runs will begin.
You probably will not have your present job in 2001.
"It Just Can't Be True!"
You don't believe me, of course. Not yet. But I havepublished the evidence on this Web site. You can verifywhat I'm saying. But you still won't believe it. Why not? Because it's too painful. In their book, The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg make a very important observation:
A recent psychological study disguised as a public opinion poll showed that members of individual occupational groups were almost uniformly unwilling to accept any conclusion that implied a loss of income for them, no matter how airtight the logic supporting it. Given increased specialization, most of the interpretive information about most specialized occupational groups is designed to cater to the interests of the groups themselves. They have little interest in views that might be impolite, unprofitable, or politically incorrect (p. 339).
My views are all three: impolite, unprofitable, and politically incorrect. Impolite, because I am saying this: (1) those advising you are as blind as an eighth-century Israelite king; (2) they have given you information that will prove to be wildly unprofitable; (3) all the hype about your getting rich -- the world's getting rich -- is a clap-trap. We are heading for a disaster greater than anything the world has experienced since the bubonic plague of the mid-14th century.
Because the year 2000 begins on a Saturday, millions of victims will not be aware of their dilemma until the following Monday or Tuesday. They will pay no attention to advance warnings, such as this one, that they are at risk.
As you read this report, I want you to think to yourself: "How will this affect me? Is my business at risk? Is my income at risk? What should I do?" I also want you to visit my Web site, http://www.garynorth.com and examine the accumulating evidence, week by week.
The Origin of the Problem
Here is the problem. Over three decades ago, computer programmers who wrote mainframe computer software saved disk space -- in those days, very valuable space -- by designating year codes as two-digit entries: 67 instead of 1967, 78 instead of 1978, etc. Back then, saving this seemingly minuscule amount of disk space seemed like an economically wise decision. This may prove to be the most expensive forecasting error since Noah's flood.
What the programmers ignored for three decades is this: in the year 2000, the two digits will be 00. The computer will sit there, looking for a year. At midnight, January 1, 2000, every mainframe computer using unrevised software dies. If old acquaintances are in the computer, they will indeed be forgot.
Programmers who recognized the implications of this change did not care. They assumed that their software would be updated by year 2000. That assumption now threatens every piece of custom software sitting on every mainframe computer, unless the owner of the computer has had the code rewritten. In some cases, this involves coordinating half a billion million lines of code. (Example: AT&T) One error on one line can shut down the whole system, the way that America Online was shut down for a day in 1996 because of a one-digit error.
The handful of reporters who have investigated this problem have met a wall of indifference. "We're all using microcomputers now." "This is a problem only for a few companies that are still using mainframes." "Cheap solutions will appear as soon as there is demand." "The software will be updated soon, and I'll buy it then." "If this were a serious problem, we'd have heard about it." Yet this last response is given to someone -- a reporter -- who is trying to tell people about the problem.
I first read about this problem years ago in a book by the pseudonymous author, Robert X. Cringely: Accidental Empires. It is not as though the computer industry has been unaware of it. Only a few weeks ago, I read a Wall Street Journal column on computers that mentioned it. The writer wrote that his editor is getting tired of having him mention it. This is typical. The general public hasn't heard about it, yet editors are already tired of hearing about it. "It's old news." Well, it's new news for most people.
What does it matter, really? We use microcomputers. Microsoft has solved the Year 2000 problem, we assume. So have most software companies. Everyone uses desktop computers or, at the largest, minicomputers, right? Wrong.
Governments Rely on Aging Mainframes and Software
On September 24, 1996, Congressman Stephen Horn, who is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, submitted to the full committee a report on the Year 2000 problem. The Subcommittee held hearings on April 16. (Just one day of hearings. This indicates the degree of concern that the government has.) He said that these hearings revealed "a serious lack of awareness of the problem on the part of a great number of people in business and government. Even more alarming was the cost estimate reported to the Subcommittee to remedy the problem, which was said to be $30 billion for the Federal Government alone." Then he announced:
Without greater urgency, those agencies risk being unable to provide services or perform functions that they are charged by law with performing. Senior agency management officials must take aggressive action if these problems are to be avoided.
Yet despite Horn's valid warning, nothing visible is happening. He knows this. These agencies must shift hundreds of millions of dollars from their existing budgets to hire outside programmers to rewrite the code that runs these agencies. This isn't being done. More to the point, the longer they delay, the worse the problem gets. You can't just go out and hire programmers who are familiar with the code. As businesses find out what threatens them, the demand for these highly specialized services will soar. (If businessmen don't figure this out in time, payment will come due in January of 2000.)
The Subcommittee's report warns: "This issue may cause banks, securities firms and insurance companies to ascertain whether the companies they finance or insure are year 2000 compliant before making investment decisions." It also says that companies will start demanding contractual warranties guaranteeing against Year 2000 breakdowns.
A memorandum from the Library of Congress Research Service (CRS) has warned that "it may be too late to correct all of the nation's systems." So, the question arises: Which systems will survive and which ones won't? Here are some problem areas, according to CRS:
Miscalculation by the Social Security Administration of the ages of citizens, causing payments to be sent to people who are not eligible for benefits while ending or not beginning payments to those who are eligible;
Miscalculation by the Internal Revenue Service of the standard deduction on income tax returns for persons over age 65, causing incorrect records of revenues and payments due;
Malfunctioning of certain Defense Department weapon systems;
Erroneous flight schedules generated by the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic controllers;
State and local computer systems becoming corrupted with false records, causing errors in income and property tax records, payroll, retirement systems, motor vehicle registrations, utilities regulations, and a breakdown of some public transportation systems.
I don't think these are small issues. They will probably start receiving media attention when it is so late in the process that there will be massive foul-ups in coordinating the revisions.
Notice, the biggest one is missing: an international bank run, as depositors demand cash. From that day on, all exchanges will be local: the collapse of the division of labor.
When the computers' clocks think it's 1900, it soon will be.
I realize that there has been tremendous progress in microcomputer power, but does anyone really think that all of the Federal government's forms -- not an infinite number, but approaching infinity as a limit -- can be put on three dozen Compaq desktop computers and run with, say, Lotus Approach or Microsoft Access? And even if they could, how would you re-train all of the bureaucrats to use the new systems? How fast will they learn? How fast do bureaucracies adapt? The Subcommittee's report warns:
The clock is ticking and most Federal agencies have not inventoried their major systems in order to detect where the problem lies within and among each Federal department, field office and division. The date for completion of this project cannot slip.
By "cannot," the Subcommittee's report-writer meant "must not." The date can surely be allowed to slip. It almost certainly will be allowed to slip.
Additionally, the task may be more difficult for the public sector, where systems have been in use for decades, may lack software documentation and therefore increase the time it takes from the inventory phase to solution.
Did you get that? The software code's records are gone! Remember also that we're not just talking about the United States government. We're talking about every government -- national, state, and local -- anywhere on earth that has its data stored on an unrevised mainframe computer system or which relies on any third-party computer service that uses uncorrected software.
As the year 2000 approaches, word will slowly begin to spread: "After the three-day weekend that will inaugurate the year 2000, there is going to be a hangover the likes of which we have never seen before." For some, it will be a time of celebration. For others, it will be the end of their dreams. It depends on whether they are being squeezed by the government or dependent on it.
But it's not just government that is at risk. It's private industry.
Kiss Medicare Goodbye
Some 38 million people will receive Medicare payments in 1997. In 2000, an estimated one billion claims will be filed, totalling over $288 billion. This, according to a May 16, 1997 report of the General Accounting Office (GAO): "Medicare Transaction System."
Problem: the Medicare system won't make it through 2000. The same GAO report shows why. Medicare claims are not actually administered by Medicare. It's administered by 70 private agencies. These agencies have been informed that their contracts will not be renewed in 2000.
The agency that officially supervises Medicare has plans for one huge computer system that will bring the program in-house. It is the same dream that motivated the Internal Revenue Service for the past 11 years. The IRS announced earlier this year that after 11 years and $4 billion, the attempt had failed.
Medicare now knows that it has a problem with its computers. They are not Year 2000-compliant. So, to make sure that they will be compliant, Medicare has issued an appeal to the 70 newly canned companies: please fix the year 2000 problem for us before you leave. As the GAO report puts it, "contractors may not have a particularly high incentive to properly make these conversions. . . ."
What if the system fails? (What if? Are they kidding? When!) The report says that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which is responsible for running Medicare, has not made contingency plans. "HCFA officials are relying on the contractors to identify and complete the necessary work in time to avoid problems. Yet the . . . . contractors not only have not developed contingency plans, they have said that they do not intend to do so because they believe that this is HCFA's responsibility."
Kiss the IRS Goodbye
The IRS has 100 million lines of code. Their code is not year 2000-compliant. After the failure of the 11-year project to upgrade the system, Chief Information Officer Arthur Gross announced that getting the IRS year 2000- compliant is the "highest priority for the IRS." The IRS has nearly 50,000 code applications to coordinate and correct. This task will require the IRS to move 300 full- time computer programmers to the new project. (Reported in "TechWeb," April 21, 1997).
For comparison purposes, consider the fact that the Social Security Administration began working on its year 2000 repair in 1991. Social Security has 30 million lines of code. By June, 1996, the SSA's 400 programmers had fixed 6 million lines.
What if the IRS isn't technically equipped to pursue tax evaders after December 31, 1999? What if the IRS computer system isn't fully integrated with all of its branch offices? What if the system's massive quantities of forms are not stored in a computer system that is Year 2000-compliant? More to the point, what if 20% of America's taxpayers believe that the IRS can't get them if they fail to file a return?
In 1999, the IRS may find a drop in compliance from self-employed people. If the IRS can't prosecute these people after 1999, there will be a defection of compliance by the self-employed. When word spreads to the general public, there will be a hue and cry -- maybe at first against the evaders, but then against employers who are sending in employees' money when self-employed people are escaping. Meanwhile, cash-only, self-employed businesses will begin to lure business away from tax-compliant businesses by offering big discounts.
This will start happening all over the world. Once it begins, it will not easily be reversed. The tax system rests on this faith: (1) the government will pay us what it owes us; (2) the government can get us if we stop paying. Both aspects of this faith will be called into question in the year 2000 if the governments' computers are not in compliance.
Big Brother is no more powerful than his software. On January 1, 2000, this strength may fall to zero. Actually, double zero.
If the IRS cannot collect taxes, and if all the other mainframe computer-dependent tax collection agencies on earth do not fix this, what will happen to the government debt markets worldwide? To interest rates? To the government-guaranteed mortgage market?
Kiss them all goodbye.
"No Problem! Trust me!"
There are a few conservative financial newsletter writers who have heard about y2k. They deny its economic relevance. A shut-down of all mainframe computers would mean that newsletter writers will be out of business after 1999 -- a thought too terrifying for them. So, they brush y2k aside with some version of this rebuttal: "Of course, the government may not get its computers fixed." This is supposed to calm you. It should terrify you. Ask yourself:
What happens to T-bills and T-bonds if the IRS computer breaks down and a tax revolt spreads because taxpayers know the IRS will never find them, and that if they pay their taxes, they won't get their refunds?
What happens to money market funds and bond funds that invest heavily in government debt when investors realize that if the IRS can't collect taxes, the government will default on its debt?
What happens to the banks when depositors figure out that the FDIC is bankrupt and that nobody insures their accounts any more?
What happens to your job when the banks close because of bank runs, and no business can borrow money or even write a check to its employees?
What happens to the delivery of food into cities when money fails because the banks are busted?
What happens to the delivery of public utilities when money fails because the banks are busted?
What happens to your retirement fund when ERISA, the government pension guarantee program, goes bankrupt?
What happens to the 38 million people in the U.S. who are dependent on Medicare?
What happens to 42 million people on Social Security?
What happens to every state government?
What happens to crime rates when the state cannot imprison violent criminals and may have to release those who are locked up because they can't be fed?
What happens to the world economy when this scenario is multiplied across every government?
Kiss you job goodbye. Especially if you're a journalist. I know. I am one. I figure I'll be out of work -- forced retirement -- January 1, 2000. I'm making plans to be in small-scale agriculture. I'm out of debt.
What about you?
Those in authority prefer to defer thinking about this. They are playing Scarlett O'Hara: "I'll think about it tomorrow," followed by, "Well, fiddle dee-dee." Deferral is a normal response to distant problems. The question is: What can we afford to defer? People defer making this assessment. The fact that you have not read much about this looming problem doesn't mean that it isn't a problem. If your employer has not actively sought solutions to this problem, your firm had better not use mainframe computers or be dependent on suppliers that rely on mainframe computers.
Everyone assumes that someone else is doing something to solve these problems. "It's being taken care of." The problem here is the passive voice. Who, exactly, is taking care of it? What, exactly, is this person doing? Is he on schedule? How do you know for sure? Are you taking his word for it? Anyone who takes the word of a computer programmer that he is on schedule is a person of very great faith. If the programmer says "Sorry, I didn't make it" on December 31, 1999, you're dead in the water. Meanwhile, he moves on.
What You Should Do, Beginning Today
First, you investigate whether what I'm saying is true.
Second, think through what happens to you if the local power company and the local water and sewage company shut down in your city for six months. "Who ya gonna call?" Especially if your phone is dead? And if you do get through, how ya gonna pay if your local bank is defunct?
Third, here is my personal strategy. I have adopted a question:
"Can I prove on paper that he owes it to me?"
I want hard copy print-outs of everything I do with the government. If you are owed money from Social Security, and you're dependent on this income, contact the Social Security Administration every year and get a letter telling you what you're owed. This is true of every government pension system.
Do you have a copy of your birth certificate? If not, write to your place of birth and get it. Even if that community has not computerized the records, do it now. Even if it keeps the records in a desktop, do it. If word starts to spread, they may be buried in requests in 1999. You want your paperwork completed before word gets out.
Do you have a copy of your college transcripts? If not, get it. The same goes for your work record history. Assume that your records are in some company's mainframe computer. Assume also that the company has failed to update the software.
Do you have a print-out of all of your insurance records? Would they stand up in court? If not, get what you need, now.
Have you spoken with your local insurance agent? Is he fully aware of the problem? Ask him straight out if he has scheduled an update of his software if he relies on vendor-supplied software. He deserves to know what is coming. So do you. (If you want to photocopy this issue to send him, go ahead.)
Think through this problem in advance, before it gets out and creates a banking panic, all over the world. This story will get out eventually. In 1999, when reporters are running around looking for sensational Year 2000-third millennium stories, this one will at last surface. It already has: in Newsweek. At that point, every government bureaucrat whose agency is at risk will start playing the "No problem" game. "It's being taken care of." The bureaucrat's number-one rule is to evade responsibility. No one with any authority is going to admit that his malfeasance in office is going to create a disaster on Jan. 1, 2000. The basic response will be this: "There's no problem here, and furthermore, I'm not responsible when everything collapses next year!"
Keep visiting my Web site for updated information:
E-mail this report to anyone you care about.
----------------- End Forwarded Message -----------------
-- dirty rotten scoundrel (email@example.com), March 25, 2000
REALITY CHECK Issue #38 Gary North May 5, 1999
STAYING AHEAD OF THE GREAT WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION
As March began, the initial Y2K fever, mild as it had been, subsided. This gives us some breathing room. But there isn't much.
Y2K is like syphilis: when the cankers disappear, the disease advances to the next stage. The final stage is dementia. Then the carrier dies.
When the cankers disappear, most victims think the disease has disappeared. They go back to their old ways, spreading it hither and yon. The illusion of safety spreads the disease. The public infection is made worse by the disappearance of the outward personal signs of sickness.
Ask yourself: What is the most compelling evidence you have seen that indicates that Y2K has been solved -- internationally, nationally, and locally? Has the evidence been verified by an independent third party? Ask yourself:
1. What industry is compliant today?
2. What electrical power generating plant is compliant?
3. What phone company is compliant?
It is May. We have no year for final testing. There are no compliant industries in the U.S. There are none internationally. What is the case for optimism?
There is no strong case. There is only the fact that human beings cannot live at a fever pitch for months on end. They either adjust to the bad conditions, or go mad, or go into denial.
Denial is easy. It is the normal reaction the first time someone hears about Y2K. Only a small percentage ever advance to "maybe it's a problem." Of these, a small percentage take some minimal preparations. Those who gear up on a full-scale basis are a remnant.
Today, the public is being told what it desperately wants to hear: We (whoever we are) have it licked. It used to be, "they'll solve it." Now "they" have become "we."
Y2K denial is based on the willingness to be deliberately deceived. The denialist is like the ugly heiress who is besieged by suitors, all unemployed. Her mother tells her to be very careful, to ignore the sweet words, and to run credit checks. But the girl doesn't want to hear this. She enjoys the attention.
I am the world's nagging mother on Y2K. I keep telling people to run credit checks on the reports of good news. Some of you believe me. But most people prefer to take at face value the soothing words of the government press releases.
Consider this: President Clinton hired John Koskinen, a lawyer, to run his Year 2000 Council, which has no authority to compel anyone to do anything. Koskinen keeps telling us that things will be OK for large companies and the U.S. government, but not so good for foreign nations and smaller companies and local governments. In short, he sounds like a spokesman for the Clinton Administration, which is what he is.
Then consider this: President Clinton hired Charles Rossotti, a computer specialist, to run the Internal Revenue Service, which has the power to compel Americans to fork over the money. This is the first time that a lawyer or a CPA has not run the IRS.
You tell me: Which evidence is more compelling regarding the seriousness of Y2K?
99% COMPLIANCE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH -- GREENSPAN
I keep returning to this document, a November 4, 1997 statement by James Leach, Chairman of the House Banking Committee. I keep returning to it because it has been flushed down the memory hole:
I was intrigued by a statement Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made a couple of weeks ago. He pointed out that 99 percent readiness for the Year 2000 will not be enough. It must be 100 percent. Thus, the message seems clear: all financial institutions must be ready; federal and state regulatory agencies must be ready; data processing service providers and other bank vendors must be ready; bank customers and borrowers must be ready; and international counterparties must be ready.
This document is still on Leach's Website:
I can think of no statement by a former mainframe programmer, which Greenspan is, that drives home the point so forcefully. There is no tolerance for error. The entire banking system, worldwide, must be compliant on 1/1/2000 if the system is to function at all. This, Leach says, includes the regulatory agencies. But banking does not stop at a nation's borders.
What more needs to be said? We are reduced to these choices:
1. The international banking system will not reach 100% compliance in the next seven months, and will therefore shut down or be crippled, creating international havoc.
2. Greenspan was wrong in late 1997.
3. Leach was lying or mistaken.
If Leach was lying or mistaken, why has he left the document on his site, as of May 5, 1999?
The media seem unaware of Greenspan's statement. I have never seen it quoted in the mainstream press. It is as if the concerns of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and the Chairman of the House Banking Committee were irrelevant to the debate over the Year 2000 problem. It is bizarre. But that's what Y2K is: bizarre.
We are treated to nonsense about keeping print-outs of our bank records, or even more implausibly, statements that they can run the banking system manually in 2000. In fact, the first statement is an implication of the second. Print-outs are manual records, good for a manual system.
I know: I keep saying this. That's because it just does not register. Test me. Do you still have money left in your pension fund? Do you still have most of your liquid assets in electronic promises to pay? Have you at least been systematically converting your pension fund money to bank accounts, and bank accounts to currency, gold coins, and survival items? If not, you've not been listening.
A MATTER OF EVIDENCE
Maybe you just don't believe me. That's not surprising. The news I bring is bad. But why don't you believe me? What evidence do you have that points to the error of mine?
I keep posting items on my site. Day after day, the evidence mounts: Y2K will not be fixed in the largest institutions. This is 100% contrary to the Party Line, i.e., that the big outfits will make it, but small ones will not. I am trying to marshall the evidence. People read it, but it does not register emotionally, where action takes place.
One more time: the banking system is the heart of the international division of labor, which keeps most of us alive. Without the banking system, there will be a vast contraction of the division of labor. I am saying that the bulk of the world's life-support social systems will be gone in a year. What will replace them? How fast? On what basis? Using what currency?
The debate today should be over the survival and replacement of social life-support systems. Instead, in the United States, it is over how many hours of food storage people should buy. 72 hours' worth? Well, most people have that in their refrigerators. But what if their refrigerators go off? No problem in January!
So, almost no one prepares, because there seems to be no need to prepare.
What about portable toilets? Nobody bothers to think about this. They think 72 hours is some sort of myth, that it really won't be that long. It's the 72-hour crisis in the next county.
What about heat? No problem, because. . . . Well, just because.
They may buy a few flashlight batteries. I guess they want to be able to see the inside thermostat at night when it goes below zero.
BATTERIES AND CHARGERS
This reminds me: Have you bought at least $150 worth of Ray-O-Vac rechargeable alkaline batteries and a $50 solar-powered battery recharger from Real Goods?
The alkalines don't lose their charge; they are always ready to go. You should use nothing else in flashlights and emergency radios. Unlike other types of rechargeable batteries, which lose their charge, these should not be drained 100%. If you don't run them down to less than 60% of their charge, they can be recharged 100 times or more -- maybe 400 times; the company isn't sure. Charge them immediately after using them. You should let one set run down once in each application. Time this. Write it down in a notebook. You learn how long to use them from then on: 40% of the time it took to run them down in each application.
Don't forget rechargeable 9-volt batteries. Buy non- alkalines. These you want to run down all the way. They are used in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other continuous-run applications.
I suggest buying at least two D-cells and four AA- cells for each neighbor. This will cost you at least $12 per neighbor. You must determine what constitutes a neighbor. They need batteries for flashlights and radios. If you can recharge your neighbors' batteries in 2000, you will become important. People will be less likely to see you as a source to be tapped by force than as an ally against intruders.
Neighborhood communications are vital. Does everyone have in your community a CD radio that runs on a car battery? Find out. If not, go out and buy some in local pawn shops. Buy them at $20 each, and then hand them out in 2000 to people on the block who will take responsibility for monitoring strangers who drive into the neighborhood.
Buy a $500 solar panel to recharge car batteries. This is a major community service. Same deal: you will become the neighborhood power source. Give recharges for free in the worst of the crisis.
BECOMING A NEIGHBORHOOD ASSET
You need to position yourself as a person who is an asset in 2000. One way to do this is to provide services. Another way is to provide emergency food. If you store a bucket of rice and a bucket of pinto beans for, say, 10 neighbors, it will cost you about $300.
If you give today's cheap food away in 2000, your neighbors may not invade your home to get all the other food you have. They will see you as the goose that lays golden eggs. They may not kill the goose. Each one will see you as an ally. This will raise the cost of organizing a conspiracy against you.
If you have assets that you can dole out a bit at a time, family by family, each family will hesitate before cutting others in on the deal by stealing what you have as a group. Who knows who will allocate the booty? Better to play it safe.
This also gets those in the neighborhood to see the benefits of defending you and your assets against invaders.
Of course, if you live in a dense neighborhood, the cost of providing such emergency services gets high. This is another reason for moving to a small town or rural area.
Recently, I visited a gated community. I have never seen anything like it. The place is 10 square miles. It has woods. It has paved roads and a municipal water system. It has a club house, a 9-hole golf course, and two lakes. A major river runs through it. The 1-acre lots cost only $6,500, or $85 a month. About 400 families live there now. Under any other circumstances but Y2K, I would have bought a lot or two. But I didn't. Here's why.
The agreement (called a covenant, which it isn't) specifies that no property owner may build a separate storage building. No property owner can have chickens, rabbits, or goats. No property owner can sink his own well.
They have built a gate around the community in a region where there is almost no crime and very low population density. Why? Social pretensions.
The residents today have more money than those in the region do. They live separated lives. They are cut off socially from the surrounding community. They probably have generated their share of envy already. They are urban people who live in what appears to be the country, but isn't.
These people will be desperate in a year. They will have to drive for miles to buy food. They will not have gardens or tools. They will not have reserves. In the country, they will be like people trapped in a city. If I lived in such a place, I would be fair game in 2000. My enemies would be my neighbors, not the folks outside the gates. I would be in a prison where the inmates are in charge. No thanks.
What looks safe there today will be a jungle in a year if the banks close and the trains stop running. You must look ahead to new conditions to determine what will be safe.
The man who went with me to see the property is in a different situation. There is no gate around his community. He lives down a dead-end road that is 10 minutes outside of a town of 10,000 that is noted for its low crime. There is no big city within 100 miles. He and his extended family have lived there since 1972: now a dozen households. They have barns full of food and hand tools. Every household has a water well. The neighbors -- good old boys, all -- are well armed. They always have been armed. The son of the sheriff lives nearby.
No pretensions here! Where would you rather live?
The point I'm trying to make is this: in a big city, an enclave's gate keeps out criminals. But a city is too dense to be safe in 2000. In the country, its gate keeps out people of lower social standing. But these kinds of people are more likely to have the skills necessary to survive a breakdown in the division of labor. Residents of a gated rural community have alienated the very people most likely to be able to help them in 2000 and beyond.
There will be gates in 2000. They will be created by cars that block streets. Blocked streets will create communities: "them against us." But in a city, you need deliveries of many goods. These will run out after the banks close. In the country, you may be able to do without deliveries if worse comes to worst.
There will be gates in rural communities, too. Cars will block access. But the threat of invaders will be far less. I'll tell you this: anyone who walks down a dirt road in Arkansas had better have his rifle slung across his back, not in his hand, in 2000. He had better have a good reason for carrying a rifle in that neighborhood. On an Arkansas dirt road, if you go looking for trouble, you will surely find it.
I don't like dirt roads. Nobody where I live does. Mud, dust, and more frequent car repairs are the price of living here. But a dirt road serves as a kind of gate. People don't drive down dirt roads for fun. They have a reason for being there. Those driving on a dirt road live along it or are delivering something to someone who does. A dirt road creates community, and not a rich community. A dirt road functions as a unobtrusive gate. It keeps big shots out. Big shots without banks will be a threat to themselves and those around them next year.
MOVING DOWN SOCIALLY
I live in a lower middle class neighborhood. On one side is an abandoned home. A poor woman lived there. She got Alzheimer's. She is gone. For decades, this family rarely spoke to others there in the neighborhood.
On the property behind where I live is a retired businessman whose wife owns a mobile home park in town. I suppose they're millionaires or close to it. I have never met him. He is sort of a recluse. He owns 400 acres, and his home is on the far side of the property.
On the property on the other side of me lives a retired Marine. His wife grew up across the road in a shack not much larger than a chicken coop. Her family has been in the neighborhood for a hundred years. I live in a stone home that her uncle built 80 years ago.
In short, I am not a resident of Envied Estates.
I decided decades ago that if I ever made a lot of money, I would not live in a community where people with a lot of money, or at least a lot of debt, also lived. I never have.
If it were up to me, I'd live in a mobile home. That's good; in two weeks, I will. A fancy home scares off the kind of people I prefer to work with. It's a liability. A large, nice home in an upper middle class neighborhood is nice if times are good. I have owned two of them. I paid $59,000 for the first one in 1977. (It had been on the market for 45 minutes before I visited it, and I bought it two hours later.)
Urban wives don't like the thought of mobile homes. Mobile homes are somewhat impermanent, although a well- built one will surely outlast me. Mobile homes are associated with lower class people, former used-car salesmen, and Tobacco Road. OK, it's true. But there are advantages. They can be built in 12 weeks, or bought used at $12 a square food, and moved onto a safe property in a few days. If you put vinyl siding on one, put on a good roof with an overhang of 12 inches, keep it in repair, and get 2 x 6 construction with "northern built" insulation, it's better than what 90% of the world lives in.
My wife recently bought a 2,000 square foot one for $26,000. It's clean. It has a fireplace. It's good enough for me. And it fits into our present neighborhood. Here's what I told her. If and when we know that the power grid is up, I'll move back into Fayetteville. I will buy a home near the University of Arkansas. I will work with students. I will use the library. I will achieve what I have wanted ever since we left Durham, North Carolina: access to a good library. (Duke's is the best public walk- in, open stacks library I've ever been in.)
So, if things collapse, we'll maintain a middle class life style in a rural area, in a world where millions of urban people are starving, freezing, and generally losing everything they have. If things don't collapse, or rebound from a collapse, then we'll move back into town.
If the banks shut down, "upper class" will mean "self- sufficient." Western cities will become lower class overnight. Wealth will flow from the cities to the countryside. Urban people will become impoverished.
There will be a huge redistribution of wealth in 2000 and beyond. I am positioning myself and my four adult children to take advantage of this swing. To do this, I had to move to a lower middle class neighborhood. It will be a middle class neighborhood economically the day the banks close. It will be poorer than it is today, but far richer than urban neighborhoods.
Wives resist moving downward. Who doesn't? But this social move is temporary. It allows people to sell out of their upper class neighborhoods (or refinance their urban homes at low rates) in order to stay out of these neighborhoods in a breakdown, and then buy back in (or return to) if things don't break down or after recovery.
It's like staying ahead of a tidal wave. You can always move back if the wave doesn't hit, or if it hits and takes out all the homes. Post-tidal wave beachfront property will be mud cheap. You sell or refinance to avoid seeing your home's equity get washed away.
The move socially downward will become a move upward when upper class neighborhoods become unlivable or sealed off with used cars. When the division of labor breaks down, it will take with it today's comparative ratings. Everyone will be worse off, but some people will be worse off that others. In the universal sinkhole of Y2K, some people will find themselves on higher ground than others.
To be on higher ground in 2000, you must move to lower ground now.
Think it through. Where would you want to live temporarily if the banks shut down permanently in 2000? Avoid Envied Acres.
----------------- End Forwarded Message -----------------
-- dirty rotten scoundrel (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 2000.
The Flint Principle
Make the post so long that nobody reads it and, therefore, will not disagree ;>).......
-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), March 25, 2000.
Like a character straight out of a comic book, Dr. North knavishly plots and schemes his latest ruse for bringing about 'Christian Reconstruction'. His prognosis of y2k is unmistakably blunt: get out of the cities now or die. Y2K will, absolutely and inevitably, completely destroy the civilized world.
"Before every link, I add my comments, my "spin." They don't have to believe it, but as fear spreads to the reporters about their careers and their pensions, my spin will spread."
Gary North's Y2K Site: http://www.remnant.org/ or http://www.garynorth.com
"This is why we need a remnant. We need a school of the prophets." Christian Reconstruction, 1982 January/February, p. 2.
With only a few days left until the complete destruction of civilization and billions dead, you'll need a two year subscription to Remnant Review to prepare for Gary's next scary. Make sense?
Then order your two year subscription today and save!
Gary North &Y2K
In his November and December newsletters, Gary North has quite explicitly abandoned y2k as Gods judgment, and returned to his plans for developing an online publishing house for Christian Reconstruction in the year 2000. The transition will not be as easy for many on his roller coaster ride from cataclysmic judgment to everything-as-usual. Many lives have been dislocated or ruined, partly from their own folly, partly from the machinations of an accomplished scoundrel. Each had their own motive for being misled, from Art Bell and his listeners to Ed Yourdon, from Internet neophytes to the fringe extreme. Many saw aspects of themselves they never knew existed, the barbarous subterranean just beneath the surface of civilized life erupting through groveling insecurity and fear, played as by a consummate artist. Others proudly discovered a new ethic of Christian survivalism. Either way Gary has moved on, ushering to the metronome of his boorish catechization a new remnant of devotees into Gary Christendom, the knave in the image of God, the abyss of raging impotence. Paul Thibodeau, 12/10/99
"So, of course I want to see y2k bring down the system, all over the world. I have hoped for this all of my adult life." -- Gary North
The Plague Has Come At Last "God has a sense of humor." AIDS article, 1987
Economic Forecast for the Eighties "I am increasingly of the opinion that nuclear war is imminent..." Biblical Economics Today, 1980
Impending Judgment "What is an extremist? A prophet." Christian Reconstruction, 1980
Out of the Rubble... "They have no solution. There is no solution." Honest Money, 1986
Prophets, Leaders, Followers, Losers "Rarely does anyone believe a prophet. " Biblical Economics Today, 1993
The Rusting of the Iron Curtain: How Real? "God has raised up Gorbachev to execute this final phase of the Soviet strategy against the West..." Christian Reconstruction, 1990
What Are the Facts? "[The Soviets] now have a new anti-missile defense system in actual production which can hit any of our missiles or planes as they approach Soviet targets with half a dozen or more missiles." TentMakers, 1985
Guns "You need to know how to draw, unlatch the safety, aim, and put two bullets in a man-sized target at 20 feet in a second and a half, total." Successful Investing in An Age of Envy, 1981
Y2K Judgment "We need times so hard that men will turn to God..." ICE Newsletter, January 1998
Gary North's Y2K Site: http://www.remnant.org/ or http://www.garynorth.com "This is why we need a remnant. We need a school of the prophets." Christian Reconstruction, 1982 January/February, p. 2.
With only a few days left until the complete destruction of civilization and billions dead, you'll need a two year subscription to Remnant Review to prepare for Gary's next scary. Make sense? Then order your two year subscription today and save!
And don't worry, Gary's record is 100%. EVERY y2k prediction has failed in vintage Gary fashion. "Only in Remnant Review will you receive the information you need to make decisions in the middle of the worst peacetime crisis this world has seen in this century. You need one source that will keep you informed. The conventional news services dont dare report the full story. Bad news upsets advertisers. The media will not cover this topic until it has toafter the collapse has begun. Dont wait until "Bank Runs Spread" appears on the front page of your local newspaper to make up your mind. In short, dont imitate the U.S. government. Procrastination will cost you far more than you can imagine. Get out your credit card (before you are issued a 00 expiration year card that gets rejected because its expired), pick up the phone, and call 1-888-863-9359. "
"I used to speak with reporters on y2k. I no longer bother. They are simply paid functionaries of the advertising industry, getting rich off y2k denial. (Well, not getting rich. Just making an all-too-easy living.) Anyway, a lot of them asked me this: "But what if everyone believed in y2k? Wouldn't this create chaos?" And the answer is, of course, yes -- as surely as if they all believed that nuclear missiles had been launched five minutes ago, in a nation without civil defense. (Reporters don't like civil defense programs, either.) When a system- wide catastrophe is coming in a short period of time, and 99% of the victims have not prepared, it does no good for everyone to find out about it, except to say a few brief prayers. There are insufficient resources to make preparations. The catastrophe will hit." -- Gary North, April 28, 1999.
Time Bomb 2000 written by Ed and Jennifer Yourdon, is a book about surviving the potential collapse of various infrastructures of civilization from the y2k computer bug, and is based largely on the doomsday analysis of Gary North (according to North 90%). Mr. Yourdon removed the prominent link he had on the title page to Gary North's Y2K Links and Forums when the controversy surrounding North's extreme views erupted. Essentially, the book reduces the absolutism of North to unrealistic and unwarranted 10-15% probabilities (which quickly accumulate to 99.9%) and 1-10 year apocalyptic scenarios. The book has already proven to be embarassing, both socially irresponsible and technically inaccurate (for example, see the Preface, and a utility expert's response). We should be concerned about the y2k bug. We should also be concerned about the deforming bedrock of North's apocalypticism and sensationalistic motivations on the factuality of this book.
Like a character straight out of a comic book, Dr. North knavishly plots and schemes his latest ruse for bringing about 'Christian Reconstruction'. His prognosis of y2k is unmistakably blunt: get out of the cities now or die. Y2K will, absolutely and inevitably, completely destroy the civilized world. The picture is nothing short of a nuclear holocaust. Of course it is precisely just such a widespread belief, coupled with the every-man-for-himself survivalist reaction that Dr. North advocates, that would cause a y2k worldwide calamity in the first place. Remove either hysterical fear, or a self- preservationist ethic, and the facts simply can't support his y2k claims. Much of the public is unaware that North is and always has been a survivalist. Gary North moved to his last residence in Tyler Texas because he thought it was a good location for surviving a nuclear war. He has made false pronouncements of the end of the world in the past, and has prophesied the destruction of civilization all his adult life. Dr. North is the co-founder a movement called Christian Reconstruction. Its goal is to restore God's rule by taking Christian dominion and reinstituting 'God's law' in every area of life. Reconstructionism has gained wide notoriety for its extreme bigotry, misleading and abusive rhetoric, and questionable ethics. It has had a radical influence on the American religious right, infiltrating movements as diverse as the new militia and the Christian Coalition.
Should we be running for the hills? A few Reconstructionists have spoken out against Dr. North's apocalypticism. (also see Okay, Okay, Y2K by Doug Wilson). Reverend Abshire writes: "Look, we live in a fragile technological society that COULD suffer any number of problems. For years, I have recommended that ALL Christians have a six month supply of food, an emergency source of water and the ability to cook your food in case the gas goes out or the electricity isn't running. Gold is a good LONG-TERM investment as a hedge against inflation (and now is a great time to buy some). But these are all insurance type things, just like insurance on your house, your life or car. A prudent man makes preparations for unseen and unknowable eventualities."
"But we do NOT have to become false prophets. And that is the real danger. No man KNOWS the future, for "the secret things belong to God." If we say THIS will happen, and it does not, then we have become a false prophet. If people like Gary North who are scaring people into quitting their jobs, leaving their livelihoods and moving to the hills prove to be wrong on this one, let's hope they have a little integrity, repent of their sins and get out of the economic forecasting business for good."
Compare this with Dr. North:
"When I began writing about yak, hardly anyone had heard of it. Today, the media cover it sporadically. In a year, there will be a tidal wave of articles. And, month by month, fear will spread. Doom and gloom will sell, as it has never sold before. I have positioned my name, my site, and Christian Reconstruction in the center of this fear. All I have to do now is to report bad news. That's just about all the yak news there is. One by one, the media sources will move in my direction, for two reasons: (1) it's as bad as I say it is; (2) the public will begin to panic, and then there will be a feverish demand for more and more information. The "moderates" -- whose position cannot square with the facts of yak -- will be drowned out in a wave of panic. My site will be in the middle of it. The larger the site gets, the more formidable it becomes. The site scares away those critics with a large audience, which Rev. Abshire does not enjoy. When a network TV crew came to Fayetteville to interview me last month, it was my Web site that had hooked them. The site is now irresistible to any reporter who has been assigned the task of writing on yak. I have done their homework for them. I have assembled the documentation. They all have deadlines, and my site helps them to meet it. I have built it; they will come."
"Before every link, I add my comments, my "spin." They don't have to believe it, but as fear spreads to the reporters about their careers and their pensions, my spin will spread."
There is a difference between alarmism and awareness. Is the call for God's judgment: the complete breakdown of civilization worldwide with the consequent catastrophic loss of life, and reconstruction according to Gary North's law (he calls his views: "God's law") by his saved 'remnant', information and awareness? Awareness doesn't try to put a "spin" on anything. In comment after comment, Gary North imputes lying, treachery, idiocy, incompetence, and conspiracy to y2k progress. Does the government report that it's on schedule? You can't believe the Feds. Have organizations achieved compliance? The problem is systemic. Is a y2k test successful? Expect them to say this. Is almost every company and organization on track? Insist that none are compliant or on track without a letter in writing guaranteeing perfect, finished y2k compliancy. Are all mission critical systems of the government, and all major organizations compliant? One non- compliant datum "completely reinfects" a compliant system, which then spreads.
No one opposes Gary North because he is providing y2k "information". It is y2k information that disproves Gary North. Most of the documents he links to undermine the comments that precede them. It is because Gary doesnt let the facts speak for themselves. He comprehensively distorts them.
If the facts speak for themselves, then why the spin? Why such clear tactics of dishonesty and chicanery?
Why has this all appeared before time-and-time again in the well documented track-record of false alarms, hatred of the U.S. system of government and Western democracy, survivalism, sociopathy? Why God's judgment and y2k?
-- The Shadow (email@example.com), March 25, 2000.
Gary North and LaMont Cranston. Yawn.
-- Lars (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 2000.
If people like Gary North who are scaring people into quitting their jobs, leaving their livelihoods and moving to the hills prove to be wrong on this one, let's hope they have a little integrity, repent of their sins and get out of the economic forecasting business for good.
I've never cared much for Gary North. However, I will say that I think much of the conflict on TB2000 last year between 'doomer' and 'polly' was caused by pollys not realizing that while the posters on TB2000 were preparing for Y2k, most weren't 'heading for the hills.'
Gary North started out as a '10' on Y2K and stayed at a '10' through the end of 1999. Ed Yourdon never predicted a '10.' I'd say most of us knew that Gary North was painting the worst possible outcome, but the newest links part of his Web site was a useful source of information as long as one took Gary's commentary with a grain of salt.
-- Just another (old@TB2000.regular), March 25, 2000.
Thanks for the Gary North reviews. I think it was in summer of 1998 that I visited his site. I checked out a few things and decided the guy was nuts. I can see now that the folks who hung in there might have been swayed by his "convincing" rhetoric.
It's still unclear why some folks think the man a hero, but that goes back again to their original predispositions, discussed elsewhere.
-- Anita (email@example.com), March 25, 2000.
However, I will say that I think much of the conflict on TB2000 last year between 'doomer' and 'polly' was caused by pollys not realizing that while the posters on TB2000 were preparing for Y2k, most weren't 'heading for the hills.' --Just another
I have to disagree with your opinion "Just another". I doubt that many, if any, "pollys" would have cared one way or the other as to whether doomers were heading for the hills. (Why would they?)
It's my opinion that most of the so called "conflict" was caused by the frustration people felt when confronted by the mindless flaming which was routinely aimed at them personally. Unfortunately, on TB2000 not only were those personal attacks tacitly approved by those who failed to speak up against it but, as has been discussed here numerous times, it was in effect "encouraged" by the former sysops.
-- CD (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 2000.
You said most people took Gary North's extreme scenarios with a grain of salt. I say that's lucky for them, and to their credit that they made that judgment, given the information that they had.
But I don't think it was possible to read GN every day "just for the links" and not be swayed more than you think you are - well, speaking for myself, anyway.
That exposure was GN's ace in the hole, I'd say. He got hyperlinked on so many thousands of websites, with the result that there were millions of people saying "Well he's a little extreme - heh heh - but you really have to check this guy out, just for the 'resources'." That would be called.... upping the stakes for the worst case scenario, and it worked. Whatever people concluded, it did subtly influence thinking. A Gary North 10 was sanctioned as an actual, if remote, possibility in the official parlance of talking about Y2k on the famous scale of 1 to 10. A subtle stamp of approval on the man's ideas.
-- Debbie (email@example.com), March 25, 2000.
Shut up, all of you! You are mere fleas nipping at the heels of a great man!
-- Gary "don't talk to me about y2k" North (hidingout@with.EY), March 25, 2000.
The false assumption of many was that they "made up their own minds" after reading North, Yourdon, Hyatt, Dear Karen and so many more.
Most of the repeats via Cut and Paste to TB I were from the same sources and pessimistic.
That lead to the creation of the overall "atmosphere" and the construction of the mantras we know fell apart.
By the subtle twisting and highlighting of a few phrases you can change the meaning of a Movie review. What then is so different or difficult to understand about the "methodology" of Gary North a long time and skilled artist at that?
It is merely Propaganda for his point of view.
By not identifying himself and his motives on Y2k gn.com site there is little question he set the entire tone for the Y2k "debates".
Excluding and even sneering at all reports of progress with hints of coverups and conspiracies lead to the final conclusions that SO MANY THOUGHT (REPEAT ........THOUGHT) they were making "independently".
If I bang a drum near you for 24 hours/day for months, I can assure you that you will hear that drum long after I stop doing it.
Unlike Yourdon, this was hardly Gary North's first time at such a thing.
So, upon exposure, it is hardly surprising that he just kept beating his drum six days /week (Sundays off naturally) while he let all the others do the SELLING FOR HIM.
-- cpr (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 2000.
cpr/Lamont Cranston (LOL!) - So?
It's over. Get on with your life, Son.
-- (-&@*.+$#), March 25, 2000.