This page is intended for officials and leaders who wish to make a difference in wrestling the challenge of y2k to ensure a more positive outcome of what could be the most devastating event of our times. It should be understood that the vast majority of the population, and some visiting this page or the internet--where most y2k information resides-- haven't yet had the opportunity to assess the gravity of the y2k situation and will consider what follows to seem rather extreme or un-necessessary.
Our entire socio-economic, military-industrial-welfare complex has been computerized and therefore has y2k built in, and will not be able to function to satisfactory levels in 2000 and beyond (from the domino effect). While it is technically true that "nobody knows exactly what will happen," it is also true that we have enough information and evidence to peice together to form a strong educated guess and envision a rough, broad outline of what can be expected. A few hours of extensive study of y2k documents--which are very abundant throughout the internet--can give any intelligent person an idea of what we're up against. The hard part is trying convey the magnitude of y2k in a couple of paragraphs without avoiding sensationalist sound-bites, or convincing people not to be lulled into a sense of complacency from media reports that are eager to latch on to isolated success stories which give a misleading view of the overall situation. Getting this sunk into a community's head is the biggest hurdle. Once effective awareness has been achieved, we can move on to the serious business of risk assessment and contingency planning then action. The knowledge that y2k cannot and will not be solved on a system-wide basis should by now be clear.
Given the overwhelming similar consensus among "those in the know," and anyone who understands the systemic nature of y2k, it is prudent for those with the means and will to take action--and to do it fast.
Our current system may or may not have a chance of surviving in it's present form beyond 2000. We don't have to prepare for the worst (which could appear excessive), but we can at least prepare for a moderated version. Contingency plans can be made based on the best available evidence to determine the likelihood, extent and length of possible breakdowns and definite events threatening our way of life.
It is extremely probable that y2k will have a serious affect on the economy, and will most likely be a genuine depression. What we can do, however, is ease the transition to a society that will assuredly have a lower division of labor, and therefore a lower material standard of living. As a subjective analysis on the possible global effects, site has a Macro-economic thesis on y2k . The conclusions given are only the assessment of the author, and could be better...or worse.
Ultimately, some very tough choices from leaders of industry, government and military must be made whether it is in 1999 or 2000. The more we procrastinate now, the more exponentially difficult it becomes in the future.
As it is at the present, our society and economy would not simply grind to a halt in 2000, but snap to a halt. In essense, we must establish priorities; we must immediately make plans for the securement of core infrastructure, ensure food is produced and delivered to feed the public with basic water and sewage provisions met. By accepting and allowing non-compliant systems to be taken off-line, we can salvage remaining (functional) computers to be put to the most critical use. At this point in time, fixing the computers should be second or third priority. Extensive organizational contingency planning and triage must now be undertaken at corporate and governmental levels.
This will take a very cohesive--and daring-- plan to execute given the current climate of denial, lack of awareness and the perceived risk of 'panicking' the public if government and private sector were to come clean with its (true) knowledge of y2k. Keeping silent or being misleading will only increase the ultimate level of panic under speculation and conditions of shock. Let's recognize that this truly is an emergency situation, and the consequences through failure to act swiftly and responsibly will be very dire.
It is very likey that extensive governmental martial law is being quietly planned as we speak, and is probably inevitable. It will not be enough however, given the current risks which threaten our way of life. We need LEADERSHIP that is reminiscent of Patton in WWII. I am somewhat pessimistic that such strong "Blood and Guts, Give 'em Hell" leadership will surface before 2000, but it will eventually be necessary whether it is now, during, or after the crisis has unfolded. In the unique dillema of y2k, society has really only two options at this point; procrastination then panic . The middle road is the one we'de like to drive, but wisdom and history shows us otherwise. When everyone starts merging onto the freeway ramp at the same time, there is a congestion we cannot handle. We will not be able to clear the roads all at once, but with a greater national effort through planning in advance, we can at least get 'em moving faster.
We will not be able to save everything--or everybody, so let's get moving to ensure the worst doesn't happen, and prove the doomsayers wrong! There is life after y2k, what affects the eventual outcome is actions we take now.
No leader anywhere can ignore these needs or delay their implementation:
critical infrastructure protection is absolutely imperative. This means the power and water MUST be flowing...period. We must recognize that the very real threat of an extended national power outage will literally shut down everything our civilization, and would END IT if it is not restored in proper time.
It must be a top priority to ensure the planting, processing and transport of food throughout 2000. Production of hybrid seeds, fertilizers and fuel necessary to run tractors must be available. In normal times this is trivial, but in early 2000 may need co-ordinated national efforts to accomplish.
Main priority, back-bone primary lines must remain functional if the power grid and other systems which require critical information is to be transfered. Our industrial society absolutely depends on this means of exchange to survive.
Federal government: Forget about the budget "surplus" or other nonsense...Allocate a couple hundred billion dollars to pay for much needed emergency action, campaigns , food and supplies! Consider it an investment with huge dividends. Will this be done? Of course not. But it's a nice thought.
Local and state governments...
Begin immediately stockpiling food, clothing, fuel, water and other necessities in strategic locations in your area. Have pre-planned shelter provisions for those who cannot supply heat in winter due to expected outages. Begin working with private industry to co-ordinate these plans. Work with communities, private and non-profit organizations to establish co-ordinated contingency planning. (Take Miami-Dade's preparations plans : they have 30-60 days worth of food already stored.
What communities must do
Communities need to assess where they are most vulnerable and develop contingency plans. Such assessment and planning needs to occur not just within individual locales, but also in geographic regions. These activities can be initiated by existing community networks, for example, civic organizations such as Lions or Rotary, Council of Churches, Chamber of Commerce, the United Way. But new and expansive alliances are required, so planning activities need quickly to extend beyond traditional borders. We envision residents of all ages and experience coming together to do these audits and planning. Within each community and region, assessments and contingency plans need to be in place for disruptions or loss of service for:
-- all utilities electricity, water, gas, phones
-- food supplies
--government payments to individuals and organizations
--residents most at risk, e.g. the elderly, those requiring medications
What organizations must do: Organizations need to move Y2K from the domain of technology experts into the entire organization. Everyone in the organization has something important to contribute to this work. Assessment and contingency plans need to focus on: --how the organization will perform essential tasks in the absence of present systems
--how the organization will respond to failures or slowdowns in information and supplies
--what simplified systems can be developed now to replace existing ones
--relationships with suppliers, customers, clients, communitieshow we will work together
--developing systems to ensure open and full access to information
The trust and loyalty developed through these strategic conversations and joint planning will pay enormous dividends later on, even if projected breakdowns donít materialize. Corporate and community experience with scenario planning has taught a important principle: We donít need to be able to predict the future in order to be well-prepared for it. In developing scenarios, information is sought from all over. People think together about its implications and thus become smarter as individuals and as teams. Whatever future then materializes is dealt with by people who are more intelligent and who know how to work well together.
And such planning needs to occur at the level of entire industries. Strained relationships engendered by competitive pressures need to be put aside so that people can collaboratively search for ways to sustain the very fabric of their industry. How will power grids be maintained nationally? Or national systems of food transport? How will supply chains for manufacturing in any industry be sustained?
Encourage people that while you are doing everything you can, we must not forget the personal responsibility of preparing individually, as charity starts at home...
What can every person reading this page do? Prepare psycologically and physically...
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