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Y2K - Not the Real DealI haven’t studied economic history enough to know (or at least to remember) what the causes of the Great Depression were. It might be a good idea for me to Wiki it because I believe with all my heart that we are currently living in a time of impending worldwide economic collapse. I don’t harbor any illusions that my coming to an understanding of the roots and causes of the Great Depression will prevent the onset of the next one, but I know that when we don’t learn from it, history has a way of repeating itself. So it might help me to more clearly see the signs of times if I were to revisit the Great Depression. I’ll put that on my list of Things To Do.

My parents were young adults during the Great Depression. It made a big impact on their lives long after the depression was over. Just as my parents were molded by the Great Depression, a lot of my prepper ideas have their roots from the Y2K scare. (Y2K is the abbreviation for “Year 2000.”) That’s when I first became aware of the need to be prepared for world-changing calamities.

For those of you too young to remember, or if you just weren’t paying attention at the time, Y2K was a scare that was born out of the growing pains of worldwide computerization. Computers run on data. One of the most common pieces of data used in computer databases is a date — month, day, and year — stored as numeric values for purposes of calculating… well, lots of things. Most early computer software was written to allow only two digit abbreviations to define each portion of a date, including the year (for example, June 28, 1907 would be 06/28/07). So instead of storing a year as “1907” it would just be “07”. It was assumed that you were talking about the 20th century.

As we approached the dawning of the 21th century, some forward-thinking programmer was dealing with future events that crossed over into the 21 century and ran into the problem of dating. Anything that was going to happen in the year 2000 or beyond was understood by the software as being in the 1900s.

Every calculation that was based on a date either gave the wrong answer (best case) or crashed the system altogether (worst case). Virtually every significant computer system in the world would be affected by this error — banking systems, public utilities, military applications, manufacturing, government, healthcare, everything! If steps weren’t taken to replace old hardware and software to accommodate date codes that used four digits to define a year rather than two digit year abbreviations, and do date math correctly, there was a real risk of computers malfunctioning on a global scale and the world suddenly reverting to the level of technology of the late 1800s overnight.

Governments and businesses spent train loads of money to update their software and hardware to avert the problem. The result was that Y2K was rung in with traditional fireworks and celebrations, instead of the world going dark as power grids failed.

There were many skeptics in the run-up to Y2K. But let me repeat the first sentence of the previous paragraph: Governments and businesses spent train loads of money to update their software and hardware to avert the problem. People who understood the problem and its implications weren’t skeptics — they were preppers!

I was working at the global headquarters of a Fortune 500 company at the time leading up to Y2K. It was reported around the water cooler that the CEO of the company installed a 15,000-watt generator to keep the power running at his large home in the event of a Y2K blackout.

So there were many skeptics and nay-sayers during Y2K, but the fact remains that businesses, industries, and governments fixed their computer systems (at great expense) so that they wouldn’t become part of the problem. The experts were believers, and they convinced their bosses who held onto the purse strings to become believers, too. They took the necessary actions to avert the disaster.

I see three impacts from the Y2K scare.
First, the emergency expenditures made to update computer systems worked, making all the personal preparations that Y2K preppers did unnecessary. Many uninformed or unaware people thought that Y2K preppers were a bunch of nuts. The success of the business and governmental preps solidified this opinion among skeptics. “There’s no need to prepare for disaster! Even if the threat was real (and many believed it was not), the government will take care of everything. You don’t need to get your panties in a bunch.”

Second, I believe that the massive amount of expenditures made all at the same time to update computer hardware and software has created (or enhanced) a new economic cycle of boom and bust. Let me point out here that I’m not an economist. I don’t pretend to be one. I’ve never read an article that discussed what I’m about to say. I’m just a guy who has lived through some events and put some pieces together.

Here’s what happened in the run-up to Y2K. IT departments were staffed to the rafters, and computer hardware and software companies had an unprecedented boom because of expenditures made to avert the Y2K problem. Everything had to be in place by January 1, 2000. When it was over, it was over. Business and government now all had new computers and software, forcing a very artificial arrhythmia in the normal upgrade cycle for hardware and software. No one was going to be in the market to buy new stuff for another three or four years.

Three months after the world stopped spending money to upgrade computer systems, in March 2000, the “dot-com” bubble burst. Over the next two and a half years, the stock market lost five trillion dollars ($5,000,000,000,000.00) in value. Telecommunications company World.com was one of the most notable to fail, filing the third largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Coincidence, or cause and effect? The dot-com bubble was followed by the housing bubble in 2007, which is the cause of the Great Recession that started in 2008 which bankrupted our federal government and has never ended. I predict more bubbles to burst in the days to come. The next one may be the personal debt bubble, perhaps led by the school loan bubble. People can’t find jobs, so they take out huge loans and go back to school. When the jobs still aren’t there, they’ll default on the school loans, bursting that bubble. China’s booming economy may be all smoke and mirrors, too. We’ll be posting a shocking video of a story that ran on the TV show 60 Minutes that will make your financial toes curl. (No, not in a good way.) But to sum this second point up, I believe that the expenditures made to prevent the Y2K disaster from happening set up (or at least exacerbated) a series of boom and bust bubbles that will eventually bring down the global economy.

The third result of Y2K is the Cassandra Effect. Cassandra was a figure from Greek mythology. She was human, but Apollo, the god of the sun, fell in love with her and gave her the gift of prophecy. But when Cassandra rejected Apollo’s romantic advances, he put a curse on her so that her prophecies would never be believed by anyone. There were so many skeptics speaking out against the efforts and warnings of Y2K preppers that a book and organization called The Cassandra Project were launched. I don’t know if they still exist, but we need them. The general public has their head more deeply in the sand now than during Y2K. Our culture is dominated by ease, comfort, convenience, instant gratification, entertainment, and a hostile sense of entitlement. Take away any or all of the first things in that list and see how long it takes for the hostility to raise its ugly head. Preppers are regarded as kooks and extremists. Most people still think that our bankrupt government will come to the rescue of the entire country if hard times come. There’s no need to change our personal habits. “Just as in the days of Noah…”

So Y2K didn’t pan out to be the global disaster that it was warned could happen. I believe that’s because it was caught and fixed in time, but with repairs that have caused these three long-lasting repercussions. I saw the potential for hardship that Y2K posed, so I was among those who sounded the alarm within my circle of influence, and I took some baby steps toward personal preparation. They really wouldn’t have served me well or for very long if I had needed them. We all need to do much better now.

But 13 years later my take on Y2K hasn’t changed. I believed then, and I maintain now, that Y2K was a wake-up call, a “dress rehearsal,” for what is to come. Golfers take a practice swing before they step up to hit the ball for real. I got a practice swing during Y2K. Now it’s time to get ready for the Real Deal.

7 Responses to Y2K – Preparation for the Real Deal

  • Fleendar the Magnificent says:

    Y2K is very similar to the threat we face today. Power grids not being improved, hardened and updated to protect against cyber attacks, EMP, or solar flare impacts. Our power grids are antiquated and very vulnerable, and very few know about the Carrington event that cooked telegraph lines and killed communications in 1859. This was caused by a sun generated EMP which caused telegraph systems to fail, shock the telegraphers, and in rare cases, some continued to work. Today’s grid network is as vulnerable as the telegraph system, and if the grid goes down, we’re in TROUBLE and I will explain why.
    We’re so used to electricity *always* being there, at the flip of a switch that we take it for granted. However, while the power being out IS an inconvenience, a much more dangerous issue is lurking that few even know about. Long term power failure and nuclear power plants.
    Like everything else industrial, nuclear plants also run on electricity and when a grid is down, they have a backup generator to keep things online. However… these generators are run on gasoline or other fuel, and if the entire grid has been destroyed, there will be no gasoline being made to run said generators. These generators are used to run the coolant system that keeps the fuel rods cool and from going into meltdown. Ok, you see where I am going with this…. If the grid has been destroyed and will be non functional for months or even a year, there will be no way to keep the fuel rods from going to meltdown. Now, imagine this scenario happening to *every* nuclear plant nationwide if the EMP kills the grid nationwide.
    Our gov’t has reacted very slowly to this very real threat. We had better pray that our grids aren’t destroyed. What’s happening at Fukushima would happen here, except MUCH worse.

    • Fleendar, your comment was… magnificent! Really good info about things that aren’t common knowledge. A lesson I’ve learned very recently is that just because something has never happened, or hasn’t happened for a very long time, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again. I agree that our grid is very fragile. One of President Obama’s promises from his first term was a stimulus package that would be used to strengthen the infrastructure of America. It was an exciting concept. Trillions of dollars of debt later, we’re still waiting to see any example of spending that makes actual improvements to anything. I’m curious — with your obvious interest in the grid and all things electrical, are you personally doing anything with alternative energy? I’m still trying to find my way with that. I need a solution that is practical, economical to implement, and simple enough for a dope like me to install and use. Your thoughts?

      • Fleendar the Magnificent says:

        Unfortunately, we are in a real conundrum when it comes to the grids and electricity. Obama has promised us *many* things, but has delivered none except a truly “fundamental” change in America. It’s a change we didn’t want! As for what’s really happening in America, this cannot be explained in one paragraph because, like a brilliant cut diamond, this crisis was intentionally engineered and has uncountable facets, all of which lead to the one common goal. The hostile takeover of this nation. Because this collapse has been engineered by the global elite to usher in the NWO, *many* things have to happen to not kill America, but cripple her so that she can be taken over by the government, the big corporatists and the elites. The smart parasite doesn’t kill it’s host, it just weakens it and continues to take sustenance.
        A nation cannot be taken over if: citizens are armed, have food/supplies, have a strong currency, are financially independent, and are self sufficient. This is why our liberties and rights have been so strongly attacked, jobs outsourced and illegals allowed in. It’s all tiny pieces of the whole puzzle. The key to taking over any nation is breaking the citizenry, the currency, and making *everyone* completely government dependent. Once this is done and people have no other options of survival, they will comply and allow the takeover. The electrical grid is one of the key pieces to this takeover, and that is why it hasn’t been upgraded and hardened to withstand attacks and such. The electric grid HAS to go down, coupled with all of the other afore mentioned facets to make this takeover happen. In all actuality, what we’re seeing happen now is the destruction of America from within itself by tyranny, sabotage and treason. Obama never planned to fix our grids, he just blew hollow promises. It’s all part of the global plan. The NWO cannot take over, and the UN cannot become the 1 world government IF America remains as is. We are the very last hurdle in the global takeover.

        As for me and power during grid down. Despite my preps, eventually even I will succumb to long term power outages simply because I cannot keep enough gas to keep power running. I DO have oil lamps for light and a 100W solar panel and am constructing a setup that will let me run small appliances and a PC on solar, but it’s not enough for the entire house. Despite this, I still have an advantage because I burn wood to heat from a radiant burner, can grow food, know edible wild plants and some herbalism, and am mechanically educated to fix things and to engineer things in an emergency when needed. What I recommend is as much solar as you can afford and oil lamps as backup lighting. But, in all reality, IF the grid goes and we witness a WCS where the nuclear plants DO melt down nationwide, it probably won’t matter much because the nation will have been irradiated.

        Oh, yes, one last thing. *No* amount of preparation will help if you have no way to defend it and yourself. Guns and ammo. LOTS of it!
        Pray for the best and prepare for the worst.

        • That’s some very meaty commentary, Fleendar. Thank you for devoting the time to compose it. I appreciate your research and advice, and I hope you continue to weigh in on future postings.

          • Fleendar the Magnificent says:

            You are very welcome Phil.
            I have spent the past 3.5 years doing a LOT of in depth research on what’s happening because I wanted to know the full depth, scope, and magnitude of what we’re facing and what’s actually happening. We know for a fact that we absolutely cannot rely on the MSM to tell us the truth because they’re owned by the establishment. Therefore, we have no other options but online blogs and news sources. What I have found from haunting many investment and finance sites and many of the well reputed online news sites is that we’re heading directly into the perfect storm, which was deliberately created for the specific purpose of collapsing this nation for takeover. America is a peach ripe for the plucking with our abundant resources, farmland, water and other commodities and the global elites know this. If they collapse this nation, they can take control of this nation. This is all part of the NWO plan. This is also where the UN would come in as the global governing body. They have created a document called the “Global Environmental Constitution” which, when finished /if ratified would nullify any and all national laws globally that conflicted with it. To keep in mind is that our United States constitution has 7 articles in it. The UN’s GEC has 79 articles. It’s massive and would give the UN the sweeping powers of global resource taxation. This would make the UN unstoppable because of unlimited funding whereas at current, they exist ONLY because of membership funds. As it is now, the UN is a toothless, clawless kitten. However, all it takes to make the UN become the devil incarnate is the liberal majority in the senate to change wind and ratify these treaties, which they easily could, and they’d become law within the CONUS. The United States and our sovereignty has never been SO close to being lost than now.
            Anyhow… As I have told people before, the NWO = Global communism where the global elites and the UN control everything and everyone globally. Also to keep in mind is that a huge number of the global elites are also members of the UN and the CFR councils.

            Have a great weekend.
            Chris

  • Larry Kool says:

    I’ve lived through three real life “shtf” scenarios in my lifetime. I grew up on a farm and farmers are “natural” preppers. They have large (often cash) incomes several times a year and have to “make do” the remainder of the year, when there is no income. However, my biggest “shtf” challenge did not occur on the farm but rather, in an urban environment. Hurricane Hugo hit the Charlotte metro area in 1989. Many people were out of electricity for weeks…..I was out for 11 days. Even the stores had no electricity. Fortunately, growing up on a farm, my instinct to to prepare for the unexpected. I normally have a minimum of one months supply of food on hand. So, what items did a need for 11 days without electricity?
    1) food
    2) A camping stove (and extra propane tanks)
    3) Light (a Coleman lantern, candles, flashlights and spare batteries)
    4) Water (fortunately the city water never quit….but, it might have)
    5) A chain saw (trees were down everywhere and you could not get anywhere without one)
    6) Spare gas
    7) a non-electric can opener

    Not needed in this case, but, essential: A source of heat for winter months (that doesn’t require electricity).

    Note that in none of the three scenarios, did I need a firearm. But, like all things “prepping”, I have them “just in case”.

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