Ah, those Brits! What creative people! Not satisfied with suggesting that unemployed people on welfare may be able to do the COBOL repair work, the bureaucats now suggest that prison inmates offer talent.
I'm wondering: Will they be assigned to banks?
The point, of course, is that we're running out of people who can do this work. Put another way, we can throw more money at the problem, but this will not increase the supply of qualified mainframe programmers. It will only increase their salaries. This is the greatest example of what economists call an inelastic supply curve since Noah climbed into the ark.
It's desperation time. As the crisis gets closer, the solutions will sound crazier.
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European IT systems and services group ICL is considering using British prison inmates to fix computers that will be affected by the year 2000 date change, it said on Thursday.
An ICL representative confirmed that there are discussions underway with the British prison service about using computer-qualified British prisoners to help tackle the year 2000 problem in the U.K. Meetings between ICL and prison officials are scheduled to take place next week. . . .
ICL has shown how resourceful companies can be when looking for skilled IT engineers, said a consultant who specializes in year 2000 issues. "While the idea may seem ludicrous, it actually reflects the fact that in the future we're all going to be utterly desperate for resources," said Karl Feilder, chief executive officer of London-based year 2000 consultants Greenwich MeanTime.