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Note: In the interest of historical accuracy, this predictions page is unchanged from 1999.

Y2K Hoax:
What will really happen?


The date turnover will not happen without incident, but oddly enough very little of the incident will be attributable to computers malfunctioning. Here are my predictions:

  • A run on supermarkets.
  • A run on banks and ATM machines.
  • Opportunists causing civil unrest.
  • Experts will pat themselves on the back

Here's little more detail:

A run on supermarkets.

People may fear a disruption of the food supply chain. In reality, a real food chain disruption is impossible. For example, let's say you are a corn farmer. Your father has farmed the land for decades and then you took over and farmed the land for the last 20 years. This year do to a Y2K glitch, your farm management software instructs you to not plant anything at all. Now mind you, you have been planting a corn crop for the last 40 years and this year you (and your farmer neighbors) will plant nothing without question?

What about the food delivery system? Let's say a truck driver is piloting a load of food for the local grocery store. He looks on the invoice and it says, "Deliver by January 4, 1900." Is the delivery driver just going to pull the truck to the side of the road because he is a century late for a delivery? Will he be so paralyzed that he will allow his truck full of food rot?

When you examine the scenarios, it is quite difficult to come up with a compelling reason why there would be a interruption in the food chain.

This won't stop some people from thinking that there will be supply problems and hoarding food. But what if people do clean out the supermarkets? Just eat at fast-food restaurants. Their products can't be hoarded because they are perishable.

A run on banks and ATM machines.

There are fears of a financial collapse in the financial computing infrastructure. But many of these fears are unfounded. The banks have known about the Y2K issue since 1970. That's when the banks started making 30 year real-estate loans that were to be retired in the 21st century.

But this doesn't matter to a fearful public. Some people may just pull out huge gobs of money from their savings accounts, just to be sure. And I'm sure that we'll see a rash of empty ATMs being blamed on computer malfunctions.

So will the Y2K Hoax cause the collapse of any banks? I think not. The Federal Reserve has a program to make special loans to banks, thrifts, and credit unions that might need emergency money because of consumer fears about system breakdowns caused by computers that can't handle the date change.

And to insure that the all-important dollar bill is not in short supply, the central bank ordered an additional $50 billion of new currency to put into circulation in the event people make a run on banks and ATMs. More than $200 billion in currency now is stored in government vaults, up from the $150 billion normally held in reserve. That's in addition to the $500 billion or so in U.S. notes circulating worldwide, including roughly $170 billion in this country.

Opportunists causing civil unrest.

Face it, bad people love an opportunity to be bad The Y2K Hoax is a perfect excuse to riot, loot, and cause mayhem. Law enforcement agencies worldwide will be on alert, but it will not stop some bad things from happening.


Experts will pat themselves on the back

The very Y2K alarmists that caused this needless stir will, come January, pat themselves on their collective backs for alerting all of us to the dangers of Y2K and causing us to spend billions in software, hardware, and civil preparedness. They will expect us to congratulate them for sparing us from certain doom.


So what do you think of my predictions? Email me with your comments.

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