It is hard to believe that two numbers have the potential to turn the eve of the 21st century from a worldwide party into a worldwide economic breakdown. Computers in most industries will have the problem of seeing the year two thousand for the year nineteen hundred.
Y2K as some people call is going to be a problem that we all must face. Y2K is essentially a storage problem that early programmers failed to solve successfully. The date format that they stored in their programs is two digits for the month two digits for the day and two digits for the year, this only allows 2 digits for the year 2000 which is 4 digits long. Y2K is going to hit and hit hard. Large corporations are scurrying around trying to get this fixed so it won?t affect them.
It is coming down to the end of the wire. The problems Y2K will cause are potentially devastating. If the worst case scenario comes true, stores could be looted and there will be no restocking of shelves. Delivery trucks will have no gas due to fuel pumps being offline because of electricity outages. That?s even if the products can even make it in the trucks due to the companies not even being able to produce any goods.
The worldwide cost of Y2K could reach up to $600 billion dollars. Absorbing a good chunk of the worlds available funds from last year up until the millenium. Fixing Y2K is necessary, I never thought I would see the day Bill Gates didn?t have enough money for something. Because of legal statements, companies will have to include the cost of Y2K in their yearly statements. Investors or the people that rely on these companies services need to be aware that some of the year end statements and will be obscure because of the increase in spending.
Most companies have prepared for this bug but maybe too late. Some people are not even aware of the problem. Some are even dismissing the problem all together. Organizations in retail and utilities are out of touch with the severity of the situation.
Therefore causing the bills we have to pay overdue by over 100 years. I am thankful that some companies like banks and health services are recognizing the problem and should become or already are Y2K compliant. The stock market will drop I suspect but not completely crash. If everyone gets all of his or her own money out of the bank it will cause a shortage of cash on top of the shortage already caused by the cost of Y2K. Overseas markets may see a problem at the millenium.
International mutual funds or stocks of many foreign companies are basically hands off at this point because most foreign companies are still only halfway compliant and it is way passed the point of no return. I know when it comes to money people tend to get worried about its security. That is why I believe that a rush of the banks will happen and I hope it will be recoverable in a timely fashion. Some people in the media are saying that everybody needs to get enough cash to run on for at least a couple of months, but that is nonsense. If everybody would take just a little cash, but not too much then maybe the banks won?t take a bad hit.
If everybody goes and gets a thousand dollars out of the bank, again this could cause some money shortages. The panic will cause most of the problems in the U. S. Banking systems are particularly sensitive to this kind of panic. There are hundreds and thousands of nodes in banking networks.
If you Think about how many people use Credit Cards and MAC machines and the possibility that the software in any one of these systems is not working properly it can cause problems anywhere in the network. These problems could range from money not being deposited or ducted from accounts properly, problems with interests and investment situations, or even a complete crash of the network. Testing the solutions for Y2K may be the safest bet we can make in these unsure times. The scariest part of the bug is that not one person has put together a positive prediction of what exactly can occur. Mixed emotions and fear are running wild now that the New Year could bring a decline of our prospering economy.
However, testing the solutions is the only way to ensure that business will flow smoothly into the 21st century. Small business have a lot to worry about because of problems caused by automated shipping companies that aren?t shipping products. These products may be held back because they have expiration dates and UPC#?s to be 99 years old caused by the millenium bug. Since nobody can really tell what will happen some business see a problem with prospering into the next year. Some fear that if their is a problem with vital aspects of their business they may not be able to pull through. Some companies would have to pay millions of dollars to fix their software.
Some companies don?t have the time, money or resources to deal with Y2K problems. Even big companies have a dilemma that the only positive way to get around Y2K is to get new machines. New machines are the only way to ensure a clear fix of the Y2K bug. New machines are already compatible and so a company can almost save money by getting new Computers. Most companies cannot replace existing machinery because of the difficulties of starting from scratch. This solution should be considered if a company?s systems are too costly to fix, or if there are not very many systems that need to be fixed.
To consider another economic side of Y2K, I would consider unemployment. Unemployment needs to be addressed. A large amount of companies created solely to fix Y2K problems and sort through code will have a severe problem finding work considering that their sole purpose for business had came and passed. It would be like a car salesman working for a dealership with no cars. The demand for the services these companies provide would be in a complete nosedive.
Most companies can?t just worry about themselves with this problem because so many businesses rely on each other to make money. If the government would regulate the effort in fixing Y2K things may be easier, but I also realize that they probably have more than enough of their own computers to fix as it is. Y2K and its economic impact have too many different possible alternatives to give a clear and solid prediction. Although the government seems to be very optimistic considering the possibilities. In spite of the fact that Alan Greenspan had to correct himself because his prediction was frightening for investors. It is clear that the chance Y2K brings about the apocalypse is rare but I would expect some hard time and little string of glitches.
After all that I am sure we will all have a good millenium