On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

January 5, 2000 Permalink

I am certainly willing to say that my assessment of the threat, as things have played out, was incorrect. I did not think that fix-on-failure would work as well as a $500+ billion expenditure seems to have worked so far. I am indeed perplexed by the fact that those companies, nations, and local governments that spent almost nothing to fix y2k seem to be performing as well as, say, Microsoft. Did I expect this? No. Did Koskinen expect this? No. What mainstream source went into print with this message as recently as a week ago?

There was no 72-hour storm, no brownouts or blackouts. We were told by those in authority that there would be. They were wrong. Now, let me say here, they were closer to the truth than I was. But the perplexing truth, so far, is that the bell-shaped curve did not appear. There have been no big events. But, statistically speaking, there should have been some, somewhere. The governments of the world was planning on at least some. That was why there were no New Years Eve vacations for policemen anywhere in the industrial world. So, the middle of the road position was also wrong. I mean, so far, it was wrong. It sure seems wrong.

Y2K’s effects, so far, have taken all of the specialists by surprise. No one knows how much money was spent to fix it. No one knows what constituted wise y2k repair spending. There was no year of testing, yet we were assured in early 1998 that a year of final testing was mandatory for safe, secure systems. Most organizations never got their systems finished, so they could not run final testing. But there has been no catastrophic failure of any organization yet.

Because optimism is mainstream, the absence of a bump in the road has not called forth public self-searching among mainstream y2k prognosticators. There should be a little repentance here, too. The mainstrwem assessment assumed that there would be visible differences between those organizations that prepared and those that adopted a fix-on-failure strategy.

So, for the record, let me say this: the evidence that I posted on this Web site for three years did not indicate that fix on failure would work as well for organizations as spending $50 million or $950 million. I did not see that those companies that turned in “we’re compliant” statements to the Securities & Exchange Commission seem to have no competitive advantage over those companies that did not submit such confident reports. I am indeed perplexed. I call upon y2k mainstream prognosticators to explain this anomaly. I am open to suggestions.

—Gary North, garynorth.com, 01/05/00

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