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Evolution At The Oasis Series: Article 2
EVOLUTION AT THE OASIS :
This second article in the Evolution at the Oasis series looks at one of the more extraordinary phenomena of recent times and coincides with the 200 day mark to the Year 2000 on June 15, which will be celebrated in Los Angeles and elsewhere as a date to remember.
The Y2K phenomenon continues to create an incredibly wide range of responses ranging from the "bump in the road" to "catastrophe".
Ed Yourdon, author of Time Bomb 200 and one of the most prolific writers and
lecturers about Y2K, "dropped out" of the Y2K business
with an amazing commentary, "Sayonara,Y2K" which you can find on
his website, last updated on May 29, 1999.
"I have decided to withdraw from the public discussion and debate about Y2K; for an explanation, see my essay Sayonara, Y2K.† I am also changing my e-mail address; email sent to email@example.com will no longer be answered. Henceforth, I'll be focusing on the software engineering technologies that occupied my time and energy prior to Y2K.† This site will gradually be revised and updated to reflect those activities."
Gary North as one of the spokespeople for the more "alarmist" viewpoint and
his comments can be found on
Ed Yardeni, respected economist, and somewhat "middle-of-the-road" Y2K
prophet is quoted as saying in a Gary North website
The TV show, 60 Minutes, anchored by Steve Kroft, presented an alarming view
of Y2K, dated May 23, 1999 which headlined: "Look at how local governments,
including Washington, DC, are less prepared for a possible Y2K crash than
many think." The transcript is available from
One of my most trusted sources of Y2K information, Jonathan Latimer on Maui
On another tack, there are those that say that government and banking sources have a vested interest in downplaying Y2K seriousness so as not to alarm the public, whereas in fact, there is high likelihood of breakdown of essential services (electicity, water, food deliveries, transportation, etc.), although the US, will have fewer problems than 2nd and 3rd world countries that have done little to ensure Y2K compliance.
There was even a story ( reportedly originating on the US Navy War College's website) commenting on the expected disparity between US and non-US Y2K readiness, " U.S. will be blamed for Y2k disasters overseas" by Norman Kurland that is so remarkable that I am including it in its entirety as a footnote to this column.
In summary, I'd say that you can find "experts" for almost every viewpoint about Y2K's negative effects or lack thereof.
What has NOT been widely reported are Y2K's positive side-effects.
What has NOT been widely reported are Y2K's positive side-effects, especially in the area of Community Preparedness. These constitute the "Upside".
Throughout the US† and Canada, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, people who are looking at the possibility of severe curtailment of essential services, are beginning to ask: "What can we do?"
The answer has been an unprecedented surge of community cooperation, perhaps
best† exemplified by the Resilient Community Forums, originated by futurist
Although "Emergency Preparedness" has a long history of† planning for natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, fires, tidal waves, tornados, hurricanes, etc.) the public has been largely apathetic and not involved.
With the growing awareness of Y2K's possible widespread disruptions, citizens have begun to realize that they may not be able to depend† for assistance, either on established agencies or on their local, state or federal governments. Instead, they have begun to turn to each other to form† local and neighborhood† support groups to meet the challenge in the form of community gardens, foodbanks,† and alternative systems of† communication, healthcare and transportation.
In large cities like Los Angeles, small cities like Santa Cruz and Spokane, and places in Hawaii which might be cut off from the Mainland such as Maui and Kauai, citizens are re-discovering the value of community cooperation in preparing not only for Y2K, but to any threat to their well-being.
Perhaps because of Kauai's† recent devastation by Hurricane Iniki, this westernmost outpost of the United States has developed a remarkable network including a Mayor's Task Force which has integrated Y2K and other emergency planning in its "Community Self-Reliance Cooperative" (CSRC).† Their website provides an exemplary look , not only at what Kauai has done, but also provides links to other communities† elsewhere, each of which has developed plans that are relevant to their own situation, and each representing their own version of community resiliency.
Launched by Karlos de Treux
In thinking about Y2K from an evolutionary standpoint, I invite you to consider "the uses of adversity".
What may look like a disaster in the making can be a "blessing in disguise" . In this instance, Y2K may well represent an "evolutionary driver", a term coined by my mentor, Barbara Marx Hubbard , which refers to those events and situations that force us to grow, as individuals, as families, as communities, as countries and as the world.
I invite you to heed the lesson, and look for its application in each of your lives, as we approach the turbulent times that many are predicting as we approach the year 2000. On June 15, we have 200 days to go. Prepare to use them well.
Blessings & Aloha,
Ed Jor-El Elkin, Ph.D.
U.S. will be blamed for Y2K disasters overseas
by Norman Kurland
One of the most serious consequences of Y2K may be on America's standing in the world. Already we are hearing comments such as that by Kevin Phillips about the impact of the Kosovar war: "Anti-Americanism and disgust with the war are taking off. People are talking the United States as a superpower run amok."
In his recent weekly Y2K commentary Doug Carmichael wrote: "There are growing reports that overseas the U.S. will be blamed, even seriously, for the whole of y2K effects."
Add Y2K to a chronic undercurrent of envy and distrust of the United States, now magnified by Kosovar and we get a potentially very dangerous situation. Consider this not-too-unlikely scenario:
After January 1 and on into 2000 the U.S. is relatively unscathed by Y2k. Our infrastructure is intact, there are some local disruptions, and a few businesses fail, but overall the hopes of the Y2K optimists are realized.
The picture in much of the rest of the world is, however, much different. There are serious infrastructure failures, with power outages lasting for weeks and even months in some areas; food, water and medical supplies are disrupted and, even, occasionally unavailable; delivery of critical government services is chaotic; and financial service failures threaten many of the world's economies, particularly in countries that are already economically unstable. Ordinary citizens feel the impact immediately, but are uncertain who is to blame or where to turn for help.
To deflect anger from themselves, government and business leaders, and anyone wishing to exploit the situation for their own advantage, will point the finger at the U.S. "See," they will say, "our problems all come because of bugs in the computers and software that the US created and sold to us. And, while the Americans spent billions of dollars successfully fixing their own systems, they did nothing to help us."
Extremists (or many not so extreme) will add that this was all done deliberately in order to ....(you supply your favorite reasons.) All kinds of stories about the origins of the Y2K problem will be invented to play upon the latent fears and hostility toward the world's only superpower.
Carried to the extreme, that scenario could have devastating consequences for the U.S. role in the world; and, even, if only some of this scenario comes to pass, it could make life difficult for many Americans and American businesses overseas.
Whatever does happen, whether worse in the U.S. and better elsewhere, than imagined here, if there is a significant discrepancy between the impact of Y2K here and in many areas abroad, the consequences, if nothing is done, could be serious.
What then can be done?
First, in the seven remaining months, our government and business should greatly increase efforts to help other countries address Y2K, including developing realistic contingency plans to mitigate the worst effects of inevitable failures. Because so much of the hostility will be directed at large companies that were (and are) primary suppliers of technology overseas, leadership should come from them.
Second, a worldwide educational campaign should be mounted to inform the average citizen about Y2K, its causes, probable consequences, and ways that individuals can help mitigate the impact. (I recognize that such an effort has hardly been mounted here, so our citizens would also benefit from such a campaign.)
Third, planning should begin immediately to prepare teams to go into affected areas overseas to help get critical services back in operation as speedily as possible. Efforts to recruit volunteers for this purpose have already begun, but the need may well go beyond the capacity of voluntary arrangements.
Fourth, public and private funds should be earmarked for distribution particularly to meet humanitarian needs.
All of these efforts, should be well publicized now and in the Y2K aftermath in an effort to demonstrate to the affected people that we recognize our role in the disasters that have befallen them and intend to help as much as we can. Of course, in a fully nuanced presentation, we can point out how governments and businesses around the world ignored warnings about Y2k until it was too late, how the Europeans put their energies into the Euro conversion rather than addressing Y2K, and how governments and businesses everywhere used pirated and unlicensed software that cut them off from the legitimate help that was available.
Such nuances will, however, be dismissed by most people as, at best self-serving, and, at worst false. For our own sakes, we had best accept responsibility with good grace and try to demonstrate by our actions that we intend to help with remedies as much as we can. Starting the new millenium as the world's most hated nation is not something most of us should want to contemplate.