Re: Y2K
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 05:03:54 -0800 (PST)

Max More [] wrote:
>I'm going on record as saying that the Y2K doomsayers are going to look
>silly a year from now, at least in regard to the USA.

So do I. If you think I'm a doomsayer, you obviously haven't spent much time reading the Y2K groups on Usenet lately. I'm expecting big problems for six months to a year, not a return to the stone age.

>The government systems that give away our money
>are the *most* advanced in terms of being fixed.

As far as I'm aware, the systems that give out money are the most advanced. The systems that collect taxes, and the systems which actually get that money to the people who are supposed to have it are well behind.

>Why isn't it going to solve the problem?

Because after they've printed out all that extra cash, there will be less than a thousand dollars per person in circulation in the US. That's a tiny percentage of the amount deposited in banks.

>It's possible that if irrational
>hysteria builds, then far more money than expected will be withdrawn.

It's more than possible; you only need to look at a few of the surveys conducted in the last few months and do the math. The last survey I saw showed that 'only' about 25% of people planned to take most of their money out. If 'only' that number of people take their money out the banks will run out of cash very, very quickly. When you consider that the people most likely to withdraw cash are those with larger amounts in the banks, the situation becomes even worse.

>Again, this seems to be a general assumption. The belief may be
>self-fulfilling, producing a short-term dip.

The reason I think it's inevitable is that it is self-fulfilling, just as with the banks. It's simple game theory: we're in a Prisoner's Dilemna here, and the rational response is to default, so people will.

>If so, I look forward to
>buying great companies at sale prices.

Me too 8-).

>However, again in regard to the USA
>(and perhaps Europe to a lesser extent), the *opposite* may happen. If
>you're in a country that has done almost nothing to address the Y2K
>problem, where would you want to put your money.

That's a good point, but I still think that most of those people would rather have a wad of cash or a pile of gold under their bed than stocks which may well lose 90% of their value in a few weeks. I still haven't decided whether to sell mine or keep most of them for the long term.

>Any information to back up this claim?

Various news reports about Arab countries just starting to think about Y2K.

> I would think they could afford to
>update their systems, though that doesn't mean they have.

Oh, most of them can afford it. But at this point you can throw all the money you like at a big programming project and it still won't be finished in time. Time is what they need, and time is what we no longer have.

>Out of action? What evidence do you have for that?

The way the military keep missing deadlines, and mostly meet those they meet by redefining critical systems as no longer critical. Doesn't bode well for such a high-tech military.

>Please, please, please, make me a specific enough claim about civil way in
>the US, and I'll take a bet against!

That all comes down to how the government and military handles it; that's impossible to tell at this point.