(feel free to mail this page)
(Links to documents appear after the summary.)
Until the June 2, 1997, issue of NEWSWEEK, the mainstream media had not paid much attention to the enormous threat to civilization posed by the Millennium Bug. There had been articles here and there, but nothing so dramatic as this one.
In the week it was published, May 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new record high.
This tells us something important: The world is in a state of denial. The y2k ("year 2 k" or thousand) problem is the most important problem that has ever faced Western civilization, yet it is not taken seriously.
Why not? Because people do not want to consider the following facts of life:
The social division of labor is the basis of our wealth, and in the case of cities, of our very lives.
The social division of labor rests on the existence of a payments system: money.
Money is computerized.
If the computers crash or start churning out bad data, there will be a run on the banks the likes of which we have never seen. Who will keep his money in the bank for 2% if he or she thinks that the money will be lost in dead computers?
"If the banks shut down, how will I get paid? Who will sell to me? What will I use as currency?"
To these questions are added others, which this Web site examines:
How will the West defend itself militarily if its computers go down?
How will cities get resupplied if computerized transportation goes down, especially trains?
How will governments survive if they cannot issue or collect checks?
How will we communicate if the telephone systems crash?
Then there are questions regarding public utilities: electricity, oil pipe lines, natural gas pipe lines, water and sewage, and so forth. Our lives depend on these services. Except for electrical power generation, there is nothing on the Web dealing with these topics in relation to y2k. (The news on elecrical power is extremely pessimistic.)
What if traffic lights go haywire in 2000? What happens to traffic in Los Angeles or in any other major city except New York? Millions of people will not be able to get to work. Trucks will stop coming into these cities.
Every supermarket must be restocked every 72 hours, assuming there is no panic buying.
This is why y2k is important. This is why the information on this site is important.
(Other categories: all of them, but especially "Countdown Clock.")