I did not necessarily doubt
the information you posted. It is all grist for the mill. I have no doubt
there are workarounds in the railroads, and in every industrial sector,
for that matter. I hope the railroads -- and every other industrial sector
-- are setting priorities. (I fear that they are not because I don't think
management really accepts that the remediation will not be finished, yet.)
But workarounds and priority
setting are, at best, a very short term band-aid. This is the point where
I sharply diverge from the "no problems" crowd. I know almost nothing about
the nuts and bolts of a modern railroad, but I assume the railroads computerised
for the same reasons every other industry computerised: so they could do
their job far efficiently. Because of computers they can move far more
goods far more cheaply. They can put more trains on the same track. They
do not need the same inventory of boxcars to move the same amount of goods.
They don't need nearly the same number of people or people with the same
skills for that matter. Etcetera. The business is completely different
than the days when manual switches were thrown.
I read your post and initially
thought, "Oh good, the power plants will get coal if Bob is right." In
the end though, it all falls apart anyway. The computers have to work or
the railroads ability to ship goods will be severely impaired until they
do work. If every railroad worker is a hero and management makes outstanding
decisions about priorities maybe 50% of the most essential goods will get
Without computers we would
need a much bigger rail system to accomplish the same work. When the occasional
strike has hit the Canadian railroads it is legislated to an end within
a couple of weeks because the economic impact is devastating. What percentage
of goods will be carried on a railway dependent on workarounds and priorities?
Even if the priority setting is wise, how many businesses will go under
because switches have to be set manually?
All this led to my second
thought. "So the economy doesn't snap to a halt. It slowly strangles instead."
Somehow your message is much less comforting in that context. The computers
have to work. They don't, as Moshe pointed out, have to be completely compliant,
but they have to work.
There are four critical --
and interdependent -- systems that absolutely have to work: Power, Telecommunications,
Transportation and Banking. If one goes down, they all go down. If one
goes down, I think we will have a variation of a Milne scenario, although
I am not as pessimistic as he is about how most of us will react. (We don't
have anywhere near the same firepower up here and we do not have the same
level of violence, and this may colour my perception. Also starvation is
not likely in my area.) The human race will survive and eventually flourish
Still, it is the end of the
world as we know it, if any of those four systems go down. The fact is
the computers are broken, and the result of not completing a fix is that
there are millions of points of failures. Not only do those four sectors
have to survive, the system of satellites is very nearly as critical. And
the water systems. Government at all levels. Even if every remotely critical
system survives, a 30% or 40% failure rate in small business would probably
lead to a complete collapse. There are so many points of failure that the
odds are overwhelming that there will be critical ones in the seconds,
minutes, days, or weeks following 2000/01/01.
The only reason the situation
is unpredictable is because no one can tell where those failures will be
or even when. But there will be failures. Unlike Paul, I don't think efforts
to mitigate are worthless. But at least as much of the mitigation effort
should now be going to planning around picking up the pieces rather than
preventing the fall. It takes time to prepare. We can't completely, not
as individuals, communities or nations. But the more we do as individuals,
communities and nations the more of us will come out the other side.
Want to bet that we are a
day late and a dollar short on contingency planning too?
Three long posts (sorry) and then I'm going to go back to lurking for a while. For what it's worth, this is my take on the whole sorry affair.
People in denial are defending
their position in the same way the Dream Team defended O.J. Simpson. The
big picture is being ignored while we argue over the minutiae of DNA evidence.
Bait and switch. Demand an impossible burden of proof. The fact that no
one can predict the exact size and shape of the disaster is twisted to
suggest that the chances of a blip in the road are just as likely as the
Milne scenario. Just like Mark Fuhrman planting the glove became just as
likely as a murdering Simpson. Split hairs. Blow slivers of good news into
"If it does not fit, you must acquit."
Paul Milne posted the "Pollyanna Progression" yesterday, but it is more than that for me.
1. We will fix all the systems
2. We will fix most of the systems
3. We will fix all the Mission Critical Systems
4. We will fix most of the Mission Critical Systems
5. All of the Mission Critical systems can not be fixed.
6. There will be some mission Critical systems failures
7. We will use paper and pencils to work around what was formally called 'Mission Critical' and now is recognized to not only be not mission critical, but we never needed then in the first place.
This has been exactly the
track the media has followed since I began monitoring it closely about
a year ago. Phase one was just ending. Number seven was a non-starter for
me from the very beginning so all chance of convincing me of an optimistic
scenario is gone even though I am, at heart, an optimistic guy. The progression
alone is as convincing to me as the trail of blood from Bundy to Rockingham.
My happyface went for good
when the December 31st, 1998, drop dead date mysteriously disappeared.
The happyface was replaced by a paranoid suspicion that I was not being
told the truth on the issue. In the end, I have decided paranoia is healthy.
I disagree with Milne's take on the reasons for this disaster, and I have
too much faith in humans to buy into the mutant cannibal routine except
in isolated areas. But on the systemic issue and the lying he is absolutely
right on. I do not think I am being told the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth.
If the propaganda machine
keeps churning out the happyface messages, some people will be in denial
until the end. At risk of DD invoking Godwin's Law (Correct reference?
I'd love to have that one explained) I still think the best denial analogy
is the Germans near the end of WWII. The Russians had surrounded Berlin
and a substantial portion of the population still believed they would be
saved by a silver bullet, er, a secret weapon.
Borrowing one Mr. Secor's
techniques, I am consigning all of the Don Scotts and the Bradley Shermans
to the killfile. I'm not going to read or respond to any more of their
There is also a group of
optimists who are not in denial, in my opinion. Moshe Shulman recognizes
that the problem is very serious, but his views are coloured by the conviction
that the only acceptable course of action is to keep filling sandbags.
If the ship is going down, he is going to bail until the very last second
and then go down with the ship. A positive viewpoint is essential to fast
bailing, so Moshe Shulman is positive.
I can understand -- even
admire -- the position. I'm all for bailing to the end as well and emotionally
I am with him. But my rational side says that the centre cannot hold. DeJager
seems to be heading for this position, too, but it is increasingly untenable
for him and for everyone else.
Milne reserves his most scathing
flames for this group and I wish he would stop that because Davy Crockett
at the Alamo is not an unsympathetic character for me. I also want him
to stop because I get tired of looking through the flames and the drivel
to find the gems like the "Pollyanna Progression". If someone took on the
task of reposting the really good stuff under the title "A Paul Milne Gem",
I think the lurkers regularly provide standing ovations.
But Milne has no choice about
these attacks given the niche he has carved out for himself in this group.
Davy Crockett is the most credible alternative position, and that means
Milne is coming over the wall like a wave at them. (I, of course, have
slipped on the nun's habit, and escaped out a secret door. I think the
words "coward" and "deserter" are going to flung fairly often in the coming
months, and it does strike a nerve. It will be flung *because* it strikes
The clueless and the Davy
Crocketts are in one corner. Everyone else has some vision of TEOTWAWKI.
The Milne variation is truly a doomsday scenario but TEOTWAWKI is not a
precise term. For the Nintendo generation, a severe depression is TEOTWAWKI.
That is my absolutely best case scenario: severe depression. We get that
if we get truly heroic work from Davy Crockett, a brilliant "workaround"
response from managers and workers everywhere, and an enormous dollop of
The computers -- fabulously
reliable as they have been and as essential as they have become -- are
suddenly going to become unreliable. They are broken, date certain. The
code is being fixed, but not nearly as quickly as the days are melting
away. (Note to Cory if you are still around in this post -- the switch
to hours is awfully depressing.) Failures will cascade through the economy.
I'll go with Yardeni's numbers
(with the obvious correction) but only because I am an optimist at heart.
We are looking at a 70% chance of complete collapse. A startover. Not the
end of the human race. Not the Road Warrior. But death, desperation, destruction,
The whole thing absolutely stuns me. More..
I find it far easier to assess
what is happening now, and even to imagine what is going to happen after
the fall, than to try to predict what is going to happen in the next 16
months. Obviously readers will understand a much bigger grain of salt is
required from this point on.
(The clueless denial heads
do not have to point out to me that this is speculation, and I do not know
anything for sure. For the most part, I appreciated the mail I received
in response to the first message. To the others please don't bother.)
Right now I believe that
there is rampant and unwarranted optimism among management types. Most
are not really lying, but they are not telling the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth, either. They believe that they will make it,
despite the briefings from the geeks. To be completely honest means admitting
they have screwed up on an unimaginable scale. That is difficult to admit
even to themselves. So Happy face rules.
The Navy is going to pretend
that it is okay for the Global Positioning System to be merely Y2K tolerant
for as long as they possibly can. Right now the happy face is probably
nearly honest in most cases. If they cross their fingers and really really
hope, maybe they will make it, no matter what the geeks in the basement
At a certain point, however,
the happy face is a lie. A deliberate falsehood. A cover-up. Perhaps that
point has already passed. At a certain point, a CIA report lands on the
President's desk. "It is over," the report says. "The power grid, and the
telecommunications, and transportation and the banking -- the whole works
is f*cked, and in our opinion you are the last President of the United
States because the United States as a political institution is history."
What does the President do?
The first thing he will do is recite the seven words George Carlin used
to say couldn't be said on television "S**t, f**k, p**s, c**t, motherf**ker,
w*ore, t*ts." After that, a delaying action. When there are no good options
or answers, the response is always delay. Maybe the shoemaker's elves will
come in during the night and make it all go away.
It is too late for everyone
to stockpile. As long as the report is closely held, and the public is
largely unaware, an impossible decision does not have to be made. As soon
as the President -- even a Bill Clinton -- comes clean, and shares that
report, it is over. (By the way, I think this Monica Lewinsky thing is
laughable. The only thing Clinton will be remembered for is that Y2K happened
on his watch.)
Every rational person would
simultaneously try to prepare and a system that is kept together on faith
alone would collapse. So Clinton will delay, because he does not have any
good option. I think the President of General Motors has (or will) also
read a report like that about his company. So will a lot of other company
presidents. At that point an optimistic position becomes so outrageous
on the facts that it is a lie.
Still the delays and the
lies will continue for as long as possible because anyone who admits the
truth is not out of business in sixteen months. They are out of business
right now. So the whole issue is handed off to the lawyers and the flacks
to spin doctor. The liars can even justify the lie to themselves. "We are
just like Davy Crockett," they will say to themselves.
"We will go down fighting,
giving our all. We have to be positive for the troops."
"What's that?" ask the pseudo
Davy's, "I'm cashing my options and stocking up on a few items? Some planning
is prudent for everyone, because we just don't know." I have sympathy for
Davy Crockett at the geek level, the level where the sandbags are actually
being filled. I have no sympathy for Davy Crockett sitting in the Oval
office or in boardrooms across corporate America. Joe Public does not have
a clue what is going to hit him yet, and that is a terrible thing and it
is entirely the fault of high level types pretending to be Davy Crockett.
But Joe Public cannot be
shut out of this issue for long. Awareness is gradually sinking in. A good
friend works in a chocolate shop where the cash registers keep inexplicably
crashing for about an hour. They call the service techie, but by the time
he gets back to them, the system is back up. "Mmmph. Isn't that weird,"
says the techie. "Oh well it is back now." It turns out a certain bank
card with a "00" expiry date crashes this particular cash register. The
techie knows, and so does my friend.
So do others, at least in
their hearts. I paid for groceries with a bank card the other day and the
system took an inordinately long time to approve the payment. The cashier
complained about it aloud. The person behind me in line said "Wait until
the year 2000. This will seem great." We all laughed nervously. Joe Public
at some level deep in his heart already knows.
The stock market will figure
it out first. We'll see a crash in the next few months, even though the
reasons given for it may only touch on Y2K. Other things like the Asian
meltdown and the situation in Russia can and will be blamed. Glitches will
intensify after 1999/01/01, and the media will finally focus on the problem.
The story becomes bigger
than O.J. Simpson, and Monica Lewinsky put together. The Don Scotts and
the Davy Crocketts versus the Paul Milnes on Larry King Live every night.
Congressional hearings. The debate carried on in this newsgroup spills
onto the boob tube and into coffee shops and barber shops across the land.
The whole nine yards. What then? By the Spring of 1999, the year 2000 looks
shockingly close. What then?
The President of the United
States is at the crossroads. Delay has become impossible. The best response
-- if a crash is inevitable -- is to come clean even though it means the
crash happens early. In the spring instead of the winter. It is not much
comfort but a lot fewer will die. I am a cynical fellow so I think the
most likely response is Davy Crockett. It is too late to come clean without
precipitating the crash, and it will require too much courage to pull the
So we will probably see Davy
Crockett from our leaders. Clinton will play Winston Churchill. "We will
fight them on the beaches.." Much will be made of ludicrously inadequate
contingency planning. Clueless denial-heads will draw comfort from all
of this, and squawk even louder.
But a new and important faction will emerge, a group I will call the fatalists.
I know a 76 year old gentleman
who is very smart. He is Y2K aware. He expects a Milne scenario. Even though
he has money, he has decided to ignore the issue. He knows it is coming.
He is choosing to give up rather than face a fate worse than death. "Have
you read a novel called On the Beach?" he asked me. "It was a bestseller
written by Nevil Shute a long time ago. It is about a group of the last
people on earth living in Australia after a nuclear war. The radiation
is coming for them and they know it. What could they do? They prepared
to meet their maker. That is how I am going to get ready for Y2K. I am
76 years old."
If there are enough denial
heads, and Davy Crocketts, and fatalists, we may hold it together until
2000/01/01, and we will all find out what really happens. All of the arguments
will be settled. I live on the West Coast, so I will be able to watch the
impact circumnavigate the globe. (Will this mean watching a blackout march
inexorably around the world towards me? Will we get news or silence?)
But we probably will not
hold it together even with Davy swinging old Betsy to the very end. There
is too much information getting out to too many of us. We do not have enough
trust in our leadership to believe Davy Crockett or Winston Churchill.
So rational Joe Public wakes up in the spring of 1999. Suddenly next winter
doesn't seem that far away.
Joe gets more than a little
concerned. He decides to wander down to the store and pick up a propane
heater. He'll use the VISA, and hope the charge squeezes through. And,
hey, why doesn't he pick up a few sacks of rice while he's at it? Beat
the rush and all that. This is not panic to Joe. This is rational behavior.
It is so rational that everywhere
Joe goes, he meets other people trying to buy the same things and clutching
the same pieces of plastic. Joe starts to walk more quickly from store
to store, and he even finds himself breaking into a jog down the aisles.
Faster and faster.. Some places stop accepting plastic! ATM machines empty..
When the public wakes up and behaves rationally, what then?
Whether the computers failing
could cause a collapse becomes a moot point. A rational panic. The invisible
hand of Adam Smith pulls the pin on the problem nine months early. This
is the best thing if the crash is inevitable.
The only bad part about taking
it down early if our fate is already sealed? We never do find out what
would have really happened to Davy Crockett. In a thousand years historians
are still arguing about the same old, same old. (Descendant of Shulman:
"We would have made it. It would have been close, and there would have
been failures, but it would have been our finest hour." Descendent of Milne:
"LOL LOL LOL Butthead!")
I repeat what I said from
the outset of this post. I find it far easier to assess what is happening
now and to imagine what is going to happen after the fall than to predict
what is going to happen in the next 16 months. Nobody really knows. This
is Tom's take. Speculation. But for me this scenario plays, and I cannot
imagine any other reasonable unfolding of events. It plays all too well
The whole thing absolutely stuns me. More..
It turns out there are two
more posts to finish my story, rather than one. Fair warning: This one
is the really bad one. It includes the depression scenario and at least
a few too many words about the actual collapse, and aftermath. My final
(and I mean it this time) post will be about survival and recovery, and
it is a happier story, one that does not fit at all well with this one.
Two posts, and this one is very difficult. It was very hard for me to write.
People have written and asked
me if they could share these posts with friends. I do not mind. Share with
your friends. Remind them that this is just what I think. It is Tom's take,
his terrors, his scenario. I have seen the blood trail from Bundy to Rockingham,
and this is my natural progression. These scenarios play for me, and they
are about the only ones that do.
Those who are still with
me will recall that I am using the Adjusted Yardeni scale. We have a 70%
chance that it all collapses, and a 30% chance of a severe depression.
As his number goes up, mine will too. It is just a number and doesn't really
mean anything, but if there is a 30% chance that we will escape with depression,
we need a set of circumstance that results in damages held to that.
Here is my most reasonable one:
First, there have
to be enough denial-heads and Davy Crocketts, and Fatalists to delay the
crash until 2000/01/01. Davy Crockett will be making this point ever more
forcefully in the days and months to come. The only chance we have to avoid
total TEOWAWKI is if the programmers get an opportunity to avoid it. Time
is their greatest enemy, and pessimism about the outcome may steal time
The Fatalists are an important
group because there will be no rational panic from them. They want to delay
the crash for as long as possible. If this group is large enough, everyone
preparing has more time (that's good) but it also means the crash will
occur in winter. This will make survival more difficult in the Northern
Second, the financial
markets have to hold. The other key sectors have to provide at least intermittent
service. Power this week, but not next. A couple of days later the phones
are down. Food gets really short, but the trucks arrive in time. Rationing.
The phones come back but only long distance or only local. The power is
on for a couple of days but then goes off again as somebody juggles some
juice to an area suffering through a particularly cold snap. Your employer
goes under. Deflation. Everybody has impossible debts but everybody (including
the banks) ignores them. Most people are wiped out financially. Cash is
king. Barter for a while.
But people still believe
in the future, and we hang in there. Violence is contained mostly because
people get tired of making it worse by shooting at each other. A lot of
Fatalists give up even though the worst does not happen. The infrastructure
trembles, and our confidence takes a real wallop but it all holds with
leadership, heroic effort, sacrifice, faith, luck, determination, baling
wire, and chewing gum.
Over a period of a few months,
a kind of stability emerges. Shortages become less noticeable. The infrastructure
becomes more reliable. A few long miles down the pike we are a smaller,
younger population, and much poorer. Joe Public is a skinny Ralph Kramden,
living a life style Americans enjoyed in about 1950, but harder because
everyone has to hustle and scramble all the time to maintain it. There
are few luxuries, real hunger, and almost no leisure.
But stability leads to a
recovery with the economy getting a positive jolt from every restoration
project. We fall so far, so fast it takes a long time to get back to even,
although recovery begins almost immediately. Ten years of baby steps to
get back to 1998? Perhaps longer. We are changed forever by it, of course,
but we will get used to it. People prove to be amazingly resourceful and
we dig out from under a Sarajevo here, and a siege of Leningrad there.
Even though it will take
a long time to come back, things will be getting better through most of
it, once we achieve stability, and recovery starts. A future. Hope. These
things will make a big difference. So will the little things. A hot bath
is wonderful because the power was on today. Our definition of good luck
is changed permanently.
That's my good news scenario,
which truth to tell, is not that much better than sunny side of the worst
case. It is hard to imagine our generation accepting this without losing
confidence completely but officially it is still possible for me while
I wait for Yardeni to push his forecast up. The better bet is far worse.
Everything may snap to a
halt, or it may be a grind down over a period of a few weeks, perhaps even
months. Grind is more likely the earlier the collapse begins. Bank runs
can be stemmed. Joe Public can be reassured. Limits can be placed on withdrawals.
A payroll or two can be missed without everyone walking off the job. Utilities
can be nationalized and propped up with promises that everyone pretends
to believe for a while because everyone finally understands the implications.
But once it begins, though,
it will gather speed and the result is inevitable. Paul Milne's signature
"If You Live Within 5 miles of a 7-11, you're toast" isn't quite right,
but the drift is certainly correct. The sunny side of disaster will be
in the rural areas. Like the real estate business, the most important factor
in the Y2K game is location, location, location.
Most of us live in a city
and the cities are not viable without the global economy. The global economy
is about to die, and national and state economies are lines on a map. A
viable local economy, that's the ticket. Proximity to a 7-11 is irrelevant.
If the economy is viable we will build it. That is what I would look for:
A viable local economy. An area that can support the population without
outside help, somehow some way. There must be a food base.
A more rural suburb near
the ocean may be okay. That viable local economy does not have to exist,
but you have to be able to imagine it. The resources have to be there:
arable land, water, or the forest or ocean, for hunting, fishing, agriculture,
hunting and gathering. A local economy. If it is there -- potentially --
the population will find it. If you can see it, imagine it, then you are
probably in as good a place as any. Stockpile for the short run. Prepare
to fit into the viable local economy.
I do not think that the main
problem elsewhere will be security, not even in the suburbs. Anyplace where
the local economy is not viable. Armed parties searching house to house
for the food that has been squirreled away is not in the cards. This is
not just faith in humanity talking. Road Warrior just isn't a practical
solution, not even for the savages among us.
There will be an initial
blowout, because there always is, but one that is contained to certain
areas. It will run out of steam pretty quickly because rioting is very
fatiguing. It will slowly peter out with exhaustion. Road Warrior requires
leadership and organization, and even among the criminal element, people
will be stunned and confused. By the time raiding parties can be properly
organized the food will be gone in most of the homes. Robbing somebody
who has nothing is not a good way to make a living. Finding the squirrels
with a stockpile will be like searching for a needle in a haystack. The
return on investment won't be worth it. Road Warrior is not economically
viable. It is a movie.
Transportation will be snarled,
roads blocked by thousands of cars. Suddenly a place that has always seemed
close -- say, a suburb occupied by the mythical typical American -- will
be very far away, particularly for anyone short of food or water. So the
problem is not security, not in the suburbs, not unless friends and family
and neighbours turn against each other.
But even those of us who
expect a fall will be stunned at the change. No power, no phone, no broadcast.
Perhaps the most confusing thing is the silence. We are bombarded by our
daily dose of information. News. Talking heads. Newspapers. Radio. TV.
The silence will be deafening and confusing when the global economy dies.
The rumour mill will run wild. Two digits for a date. A cosmic joke.
Friends and family and neighbours
will emerge from their homes and congregate to discuss the latest. Some
will confidently predict that the problems will be brief, and the Fatalists
will not call them on it. This illusion will shatter soon enough. The bank
president is dipping a bucket into the swimming pool to get water, so he
sure isn't down at the office fixing anything.
Nobody knows what to do.
The telephone company executive is every bit as dazed as the computer geek
and the lawyer and the office worker and the school teacher. Nothing is
working, nobody is fixing it, and nobody knows what to do. The lawyer is
burning his Y2K litigation files in his fireplace trying to keep warm.
The only people who can be possibly be fixing the problem are you and your
friends and acquaintances and neighbours, and they are all in your boat.
The problem very quickly
becomes meeting the basic needs of life -- food, water, and warm shelter.
Those who can, begin to flood out of the city. The earliest and the most
resourceful make it, but after a few fender benders, and all the roads
become jammed parking lots. Violence in the parking lots and on the roads?
No doubt. But friends and families and neighbours will not turn on each
People will mostly cooperate
because violence will not solve the problem. Cooperation, because it is
comforting. Unfortunately, cooperation cannot substitute for food, water
and warm shelter. I think most people will very quickly become Fatalists.
Nevil Shute and "On the Beach." No options but to prepare to meet their
maker. The strongest and most resourceful will set out on foot. This is
dangerous because you have to carry food and water and that is asking for
trouble. Some will make it.
Death from dehydration, starvation,
exposure, and suicide. No body disposal. Disease. More death. The smell.
Grief. Terror. Heroes performing tirelessly and heroically and hopelessly
until the end. Hanging together before hanging separately. People slip
away from friends, and go home to face Y2K alone in bed.
Tragedy on an unimaginable scale.
Survivors from the non-viable
areas will those who stockpile enough food for the winter and then some,
preferably in groups of family, friend, and community. Small groups pooling
resources are much wealthier than most individuals. Cory Hamasaki is your
neighbour. Plan to burrow for months while you try not to go crazy. Walk
together towards the nearest viable economy in the spring. If it happens
in the spring, burrow for a few weeks, and then -- carrying as much as
you can -- walk towards the nearest viable local economy. The trek is more
dangerous in the second case, but you will be stronger.
More will make it. My heart is breaking.
I pause at this point because
my tale has reached the fork in the road. So far my views have pretty much
echoed those of Paul Milne, resident Millennium Survivalist Nutcase. He
probably muttered "Butthead" under his breath about the Adjusted Yardeni
Scale, but I am sufficiently terrified for him to pretty much leave alone.
He sees Road Warrior. I don't. That's really the only difference.
Milne and I walking the same
road may not come as a surprise to him, but I'll tell you it shocks me
the H-E-double toothpicks out of me and everybody who knows me. I would
wager that the only thing Paul Milne and I have in common is our opinion
about the extent of the coming disaster.
Survivalist? Me? I've never
held a gun in my life. I am not well equipped for this. From this point
on, my views and Paul's begin to separate. His path is right for him, perhaps,
but me? A survivalist? Self sufficient? Me? Get real. I'm a middle-aged
wuss. The Paul Milnes of the world can build their enclaves and I wish
them well, although I am not convinced it will work even for them. But
I'm a middle aged wuss. I
have to take a different approach. The whole thing still absolutely stuns
me. One more, and it is a much happier tale, I promise. Probably not until
the end of next week.
I have a lot of respect for
deJager, but I am beyond being swayed one way or the other by anyone else's
view of the commonly held information on this subject. I have looked at
it all, and I have made up my own mind about the evidence that exists.
I have few illusions about any new evidence.
And only new evidence or
new information will matter to me now. There will surely be success stories
over the next few months -- like the Wall Street tests -- and they will
create a lot of noise. The financial part of the network might actually
manage to hold together if it gets the opportunity. But not the banks *and*
power *and* transportation *and* telephones. Even if they all make it,
there are a million other possible points of failure. Almost zero chance.
Jim Lord's description of the job -- a Grand Canyon full of marbles for
to polish -- is only too true.
The waters are not going
to get muddied for me by an announced compliance here, or a re-assurance
there. I know how much evidence I need to counter that blood trail from
Bundy to Rockingham. For me, a man who prides himself as a rationalist..
Look, I am mostly a freelance writer, not a journalist, but a writer. I
write about the labour market, about ice hockey, and about education mostly.
Reports for governments. Reports for lawyers. Wordsmith for hire.
I am writing this for me,
and aside from posting it to this group, I have no idea as to what I will
do with it. If anything. Like all writers, when I am writing for me, my
choices are intensely personal. This is Tom's take, my view, the way I
see it, for what it is worth. I am writing on the aspects of the problem
that I want to write about, and I offer no apology for my choices. I also
refuse to either apologise for my argument or defend it.
To be honest, it has been
the hardest thing I have ever written. My heart is breaking as I desperately
race against time myself, but I am a writer, and this is something I have
to get out of my system before I get on with all that I have to do.
No apologies, no defense,
no offense. One more post. It might be a few days for those who are interested.
I don't care about anyone else.
I didn't really know where
this is going when I started, but I am very glad I wrote this series. It
turned out that this is the post I wanted to make all along. A catharsis
for me, and I thank you all for your indulgence. I have not received one
truly unpleasant piece of email, even though the essay in four parts completely
subverts the purpose of this newsgroup.
Tom's take, final chapter,
what I think, for what it's worth. A little more speculation that leads
to a path out of this mess for me, and I hope maybe for you. Not for Paul
Milne -- he is on his own -- but for us. Speculation yes, but far firmer
than a guess. This is how it will be after the fall. Beyond survival. I
am certain of it. It is obvious, as obvious as the blood trail.
No wonder we have denial.
When Fast Eddy Yardeni recites a litany of problems that all but announces
that we are f**ked, somebody always says, "Listen to what you are saying!
Recession my ass! Does this mean Milne is right?"
And Fast Eddy has to shuffle
backwards frantically, because there is no future there for him or for
anyone else when you take his findings to the obvious conclusion. So does
Allen Simpson when he talks about the global food chain falling apart.
"Hey, Al does this mean Milne is right?"
Simpson sputters and talks
about failure not being an option, and how it means that we just *have*
to make it. This is not good enough for Milne, of course, and scorn is
easily heaped on the lot of them. It is not good enough for you and me
either. We need another answer or the choice is Milne or death or denial.
For the middle aged wuss, it is death or denial. Small wonder we choose
We need to be able to paint
a new millennium reality for people, one that is not Paul Milne. We have
to have an answer that makes room for the middle aged wuss, if I am resourceful
enough, and if I prepare well enough. That is my objective, and it has
been my objective from the beginning of this series, although I didn't
know it. To paint a new millennium reality for the middle aged wuss.
"Hey, Tom, does this mean Milne is right?"
Paul is not right. Milne
is right for Milne but not for anyone else. He is probably right about
the magnitude of the disaster because no rational person can deny the trail
of blood from Bundy to Rockingham. If remediation fails, it all falls apart,
and remediation is very probably going to fail. Paul Milne will survive
because he is a survivor, and I wish him well. But there will be survivors
everywhere, and survivors will choose the Hamasaki Alternative, not Paul
Milne. That is the path for most of us after the unimaginable tragedy.
I choose the name (and without
permission) only partly because I think Cory shares my vision. He can disavow
it if he wants, but I mean it as a tribute to honour Hamasaki and Cowles
and deJager and Westergaard and Senator Bennett and Bruce Webster and David
Eddy and too many others to name. It has taken great courage to make sure
I had the opportunity to learn and think very hard about this issue. It
is probably not an exaggeration to say that I owe these people the rest
of my life.
I also owe Gary North and
Paul Milne, not for their messages particularly, but for the fact that
it takes courage to be the millenium survivalist nutball, too, and they
served an important purpose. In the end, I reject their solution because
they offer me only death or denial, but still, I thank them for their courage.
I thank all the geeks who are working so hard on this problem, too, and
I particularly offer thanks to those who choose to fill sandbags until
the very end. I am sorry if my pessimism makes it harder for you when it
is already surely very hard.
I refuse to deny because
the blood trail leads from Bundy to Rockingham, and I choose to fight for
my life. I reject Paul Milne and I choose the Hamasaki Alternative, and
a view of the future that says a middle age wuss can make it, if he is
resourceful enough, and if he prepares.
Can I make that fly? For
me, it has wings. It soars far above the hills where down below we can
see where the survivalists hunker and survive. Does it play for you, too?
I hope so, because it is the future. This is the way it will be. It does
not depend on charity or altruistic behaviour. It is the truth, and we
will speed the recovery if we accept it and build around it.
We are going to rebuild our
economy from the bottom up, not from the top down. It will happen with
stunning speed. A decade may be wishful thinking, but I am going to wish
for it. In twenty years, tops.
The immediate problem is
survival, and that means learning from Captain Dave and Paul Milne and
stockpiling individually and in small groups. This is not survival for
long enough so the authorities can fix the computers, and make life normal
again. The bank president is dipping a pail into his swimming pool for
water. Lawyers are burning their Y2K litigation files. Geeks who think
someone will pay them to keep remediating after the fall are kidding themselves.
This is survival for long enough to allow for the creation a viable local
economy. Survival with a purpose. Survival for recovery.
In my last post I was very
pessimistic about the city. In this post I want to emphasize that there
will be survivors everywhere. Even close to the epicenter. It is not hard
to imagine squirrels in burrows all over New York. Or an entire apartment
building, with people pooling the stockpile, using the roof, collectively
providing security. A generator. Rain barrels. Parks dug up and potatoes
planted. A viable local economy is impossible in the city now, and it will
be impossible for months, perhaps even for a year or two after the fall.
But some squirrels will be ready for a year or two and well prepared groups
can emerge from the imaginary rubble earlier.
At the other extreme, there
are some places that will be very rich almost immediately. Suppose there
was a place that was relatively small and isolated. It is on the ocean
or near a forest. Maybe some hobby farms on the outskirts of town. Imagine
a place with all of those things. What are the other local resources? Every
house has a stock of heating fuel that can't be burned in the furnace.
How do we use that? We have knowledge. In some places, the land is so rich,
even the unprepared will survive.
Most of us will find ourselves
somewhere in between Paradise and Hell, but there will be survivors in
Hell too. Everywhere we look there will be survivors. Stunned, shocked,
dazed, horrified, grieving, but alive, and determined to stay that way.
I'm the one somewhere over there in the middle of a bunch of people working
to learn different skills. I'm not too worried about security, because
security will not be the problem we imagine. Road Warrior is a movie, but
still, there are issues. But not for me. My best friend was a snakeater
in 'Nam in another life, and the skills are there to draw on, and he has
to worry about that set of problems. I will worry about other skills because
that base is covered by my friend.
I'm the one somewhere over
there in the middle of a bunch of people working and developing different
skills. A middle aged wuss who is lucky because his wife forced him to
face it in time, and because he is resourceful, and because he will be
prepared. I owe my life to my wife. My children also owe their lives to
my wife, but they do not realize it yet. "It is going to happen. We have
to face it," she kept saying over and over. She has not stopped moving
since. The inertia has been overcome.
The key to this problem is
learning how to use the resources around us to rebuild the economy. The
resources are there. Less pollution and a cleaner environment will be a
positive force and a big help. We just have the wrong skills for a simpler
life. We can learn. The key is to create viable local economies. We will
have to acquire new skills and make new divisions of labour. We will. For
sure. We can't help it. The efficiencies we realize are so great the situation
will demand it. We act in our own best interest and we will create a viable
local economy. We will create them everywhere.
This certainly plays for
me. Can you see it? Links between the viable local economies will become
easier and easier.
The harder a local economy
is to create, the better provisioned you have to be. A viable local economy
is what we seek. New rules. This middle aged wuss has assets, not the least
of which is a wife and two strapping teen age boys. He has some time to
get ready. There is too much to learn. I have friends. How do our skills
mesh? Hamsaki is learning about radios, and that means I don't have to.
I would be silly to learn about radios, because I know Cory when there
is so much to learn.
We can't just think about
stockpiling. Stockpiling is critical to survival, but even more critical
is purpose. Even a middle aged wuss can stockpile, but to what end? The
stores will run out, sooner or later. I have to find a new way to make
a living. A viable local economy is what I seek to join or to build. The
Hamasaki Alternative. We will not do this as a community. We will do this
as individuals who are part of a community. Each recognizing our own best
interest as small groups and individuals and acting on that interest. The
resources are there, we have the knowledge, we can learn.
It is easy to see a viable
local economy in Paradise, it is harder in that suburb even if you factor
in a much smaller population. It is impossible in Hell for a while, but
not forever, not even in Hell. Survival with a purpose. It is relatively
easy for the middle aged wuss in Paradise. We can all imagine the fisherman
trading part of his catch to solve a fuel problem. One person digging clams,
while another gardens with a few chickens and a goat. How hard is a fair
trade? How many benefits are there for both parties?
An economy. How many potatoes
will I trade for a venison steak? I don't have to acquire all the skills.
I dig potatoes, Bubba hunts. We make a fair deal. This is an economy. It
will grow and diversify. The Hamasaki Alternative. We adapt with new skills.
Preparation means stockpiling with a purpose. As I put away my rice, I
am thinking about the nearest viable local economy. Where I am going to
earn my living, and how I am going to plug in.
Refugees from the city will
not be welcomed in that first winter, not even in Paradise, because even
Paradise is a relative term. In the winter we have to huddle in Paradise,
too. But in the spring, there will be a labour shortage in Paradise. There
is too much work to do. Squirrels from the city will begin to trickle into
the Paradise in the spring. They will be welcomed for their labour and
the skill that they bring.
Pollyanna? It plays for me.
I'm a middle aged wuss, who can prepare to stockpile to survive, and I
can also prepare to plug into a local viable economy I can see down the
road through the morning mist. When we look beyond the horror, it is obvious.
Old skills must be dusted off. We have some time. At least part of your
preparations have to be about acquiring new skills.
If the forest is one of the
assets in the viable local economy, can't someone decide to learn what
is edible and what is not? Not to live on in the short term -- the stockpile
is the short term -- but to be part of a living in the longer term. Mushrooms
and nuts for potatoes and corn? It plays for me. How can we not do that?
How can that not be the way?
If I spend two or three days
bringing seaweed to you and digging in one of your gardens, what will you
give me? A week's worth of food? What is fair? We acquire new skills. Hamasaki
learns about radios. I'll give him an egg or two for a copy of a weather
report with news from the outside. With his garden, and his stock of barter
items and his weather reports.. hey, it's a living, okay? He is lucky,
but this is a new paradigm and we need a new definition of luck for this
How about this for luck?
In another place that will
be Paradise, the survivors live beneath a dam! The water still crashes
over it! The generator is not broken! As soon as we can pool enough resources
to support a work crew for a month, or two or three, we can figure out
how we can produce power! Not for the grid, because the grid is gone, but
for us! We will be dazed and confused, but we can't let that opportunity
pass! If we are smart we will make the arrangements right now. Plant a
The power allows us to squeeze
much more from our other resources. Genuine growth. That local viable economy
a hundred miles down the road will give us something very good if we can
figure out how to move power another hundred miles. It will probably be
easy. This is my answer to Paul Milne. All we have to do is find the fair
deal and act in our own interests and use the resources that surround us.
All we have to do is act like human beings have always acted, and we will
soar above the hills where the survivalists survive.
How will that not happen?
In the city, the squirrels will still be burrowing even with Paradise only
50 miles away. The situation is still desperate, but by the second spring
a path is being worked out of the parking lot. No rescue, but the survivors
will dig themselves out. They have a plan, too. They can salvage many things
that people in Paradise will crave. They have the resources if they think
and if they learn and if they acquire more skills. Something to think about
in the burrow. Hell begins to improve as a stream of goods from the rubble
go one way in exchange for a flow of food back. How can that not happen
and expand exponentially?
The Hamasaki Alternative.
We go back to the roots, we rebuild from the base and in the end we will
soar above the hills where the survivalists survive.
All the 7-11's are toast,
but I will see a store again in my lifetime. Built from the ground up.
A do over that spreads with remarkable speed, because we still have the
knowledge. The Hamasaki Alternative. It plays.
Fair deals, a new division
of labour, viable local economies, new skills for a new paradigm. If we
all look for a place. The elderly do not have to be fatalists. They have
to stockpile and survive, and comb the memory banks. How were the old days?
Old ideas and old knowledge applied to a new reality. With the Hamasaki
Alternative, we help our parents because we love them, but they earn their
keep with their memories. Does that play? Can you make it work for you?
It does for me.
In my viable local economy,
there are many, many maple trees. I noted them when I was working on my
personal Hamasaki Plan. I looked at everything around me. I looked for
mission critical systems in the millennium economy.
I try to plug myself in.
There are still many ways to make a living and we will find them. New seeds
watered with knowledge. How can we not soar over the hills where the survivors
survive? It is inevitable.
Any way, the maple trees.
The knowledge. A low priority bit of information filed away with some plastic
tubing. On a Christmas morning in the not too distant future, each of my
friends will open a bottle of maple syrup as a gift. That will be my turning
point. We will still have a long way to go on that Christmas morning, but
that is the day my broken heart will soar.
There is too much work to
do, and too much horror to face, and it is very hard to see through the
tears. But even through the tears it is as clear as day for me. My heart
will soar over the hills where the survivors survive.
It plays for me and I hope it plays for you too. Godspeed.
The email and the posts have comforted, thank you. I have one explanation to make and one point of clarification. I keep saying I am done, and I have to be done.
I am very proud of this whole
piece, and it is probably the best writing I have ever done, but I do not
like it very much. I never dreamed I would write a true horror story. I
am giving it away. I renounce all rights to it. Consider it -- and this
post -- to be in the public domain. Do anything you want with it.
I can't make any money with
it anyway, and probably neither can anyone else. I hope nobody else tries
to make money with it, but you can if you want. This is the way it will
be. Survival with a purpose, and not merely survival. Survival for recovery.
Spread the word. The new paradigm for everyone who knows that this is not
going to end well and is prepared to face it.
I am a rational person who
believes that the end of the world as we know it is coming. If you agree,
this -- not Paul Milne -- is the future. It will happen, anyway. Whether
I write another word or not. I am writing an argument about economics,
not about human nature. It is TEOTWAWKI, but it is not TEOTW
The reason I came back is
because the mail tells me I made a mistake. I forgot to kill the bogeyman.
And the bogeyman gets in the way of true acceptance. If I had understood
the extent of this fear, I would have put this piece somewhere right after
the crash. Part IIIA. The bogeyman myth is strong.
"I am a Vietnam vet, and
I do not like the idea of doing a replay of that domestically. I am too
old and too experienced to feel anything but dread." Others like the ideas,
and the elegance of the prose, but they lack my faith in the human race,
they report sadly. Everyone will kill and loot, I am being told. The leash
will be off. People will go wild. Rampage!
When you come to believe
that the systems will crash, horrible things come to your mind. No food,
no water, no whatever! From there somehow we make the leap to Road Warrior,
because Road Warrior is a movie we have all seen, and CNN tells us how
horrible we are to each other every day. It is easy to make the leap. That
is why Paul Milne is so far away. He is right about the crash and he has
the courage to face it. He sees Road Warrior. He is wrong.
Have you imagined the details
one by one if everything crashes? I wrote the disaster scene from a distance
but I examined it closely. It is much worse than you can imagine, but only
because it is real. It is going to happen. The blood trail from Bundy to
Rockingham. But no matter how far I descended into Hell, or how hard I
tried to find him, I could not find the Road Warrior.
This is Achilles Heel in
the Milne argument. How do you advance from the crash to marauding gangs
killing you for food? Tell me exactly how this gang comes to be? It can't
happen. Where does Hopper get his cigarettes in Waterworld? How does Mel
Gibson eat? Impossible. The movies. Hollywood horror.
I make no pious appeal to
have faith in humanity. This is about economics, not some pious appeal.
I am going to challenge Paul Milne on this. It can't happen. I know about
the scum and the parasites. I know people will go crazy. But parasites
die when the host goes under. If you accept that host is going down, the
parasites go down with it.
exposure, suicide. These will kill most people, not bullets. These are
the enemy. This means it is more important to ensure water, food, warm
shelter, and sanity before security. Many people are girding themselves
against an imaginary threat when the limited resources should be spent
on the real ones. Dennis Hopper is a movie star. Once I see how many people
are going to die, and it is real, the tears well up in my eyes. But I can
see survivors everywhere, too.
I see city survivors. Tens
of thousands, if tens of thousands prepare. Maybe more. A handful, relatively,
but survivors. How did they survive I wonder, and then I figure it out.
It is easy when you work your way through the details. Think the unthinkable.
Catch the paradigm. We are going to survive and rebuild. Dead certain.
Most of the survivors don't even know how it will work. They are just stockpiling.
But it is basic economics. But if we understand it, we make better investments.
More survivors and a faster recovery. That is my aim.
But it is dead certain, anyway,
just a little slower. The more of us who choose the Hamasaki Alternative,
the better. The sooner we will recover. Simple basic Adam Smith economics
are applied to the problem. Screw the social scientists, and the liberal
pointy heads who sing "Come on everyone, let's all love one another." I
take that back. I said it that way to emphasize that cooperation is not
necessary in my paradigm. It will help. It will happen. But it isn't necessary.
I am going to kill the bogeyman,
and then I will tell you how people are going to survive in the city, by
the tens of thousands. Do not think about the rest any more. It can't be
helped. Milne's right. Most people will die. It can't be helped. But you
can choose to survive. Not as Paul Milne. Not miles from anywhere. You
can survive anywhere, not miles from it.
There will be violence in
a number of forms, but Road Warrior is impossible. Security is a concern,
and civilised and uncivilised people are going to shoot, and be shot at.
But security is not going to be the problem that most imagine, and I worry
about people spending too many resources on that instead of focusing on
the most important threats. Most of us will not have to kill people. Most
of us will not get shot at. You can position yourself so that you minimize
There are only three real
possibilities that lead to violence between people under my scenario. Two
are easily avoided. The third must be dealt with and I talk about it briefly
In rural areas, people will steal from a garden, go after a chicken, and
poach from a stockpile that is growing outside. These are individual thieves
who will depend on stealth, but it is a real concern. If a thief steals
from me today, hey, it was only money. But I need my chickens. The stakes
are raised, and I plan to defend against poachers and thieves. But these
people will sneak, not attack. That is a concern, like raccoons are a concern.
When the roads jam, there will be a lot of people caught in the parking
lot. A very bad place. If you are caught in the city, do not attempt to
escape. Plan to burrow. That's where the survivors are. You will not be
really welcome outside the city anyway unless it is in the spring or the
fall. It is not difficult to imagine someone going crazy and randomly shooting
in the parking lot until someone else dispatches him. It is not difficult
to imagine someone or a group of someone's going from car to car with weapons
and stripping refugees of everything.
Survivors from the parking
lot battle may be able to make a viable living by preying on refugees,
because refugees are carrying all their food. Travel will be dangerous
for months, particularly for individuals. Think the highwayman of old.
The stagecoach robber. That is a concern.
The inner city will explode, because it always explodes. It will explode,
run wild with looting and destruction. No National guard. The mob runs
out of energy and it peters out in three or four days. Now what? No National
Guard comes (and some in the mob must wonder about that) but it runs out
of energy within three or four days. Now what? These poor souls are trapped.
No food, no water, exhaustion. Now what? The truth? They die, even the
innocents among them.
Trapped and unprepared. Exhausted,
no food, no water. I don't care how many guns they have, or how malevolent
their intent, they are not going to get five miles from the inner city.
Walk? Malnourished junkies? Hungry, thirsty, no dope? They are going to
die without even trying to get out.
But suppose I am Dennis Hopper,
a really bad, really smart guy. I already have a battle hardened organization
of ten men. As soon as it falls, I recognize the implications. This is
incredible already by now isn't it? This can't happen, but I am trying
to *create* Road Warrior now. If I cannot create him -- or Paul Milne cannot
create him out of this chaos -- then he will not be created. Road Warrior
is a movie.
Back to me, the scumsucking
parasite Dennis Hopper with ten Vietvets who immediately recognizes what
has happened. Instead of being dazed and confused, I realize that even
though everybody I know has no food or water, in every 1000th apartment
there is a burrow. I am incredibly smart, aren't I? This is becoming a
movie, not real life.
But even if I am Dennis Hopper
with ten guys, and I figure it all out, how do I find the burrows? I can
clean out the ghetto where I know people. Maybe. But there are millions
of holes and most have no squirrels. There will probably be some cannibalism
because I am the worst person you can imagine. Now what do I do? We invade
the next neighbourhood a week down the road. Isn't this impossible yet?
Dennis Hopper is in a strange
neighbourhood now. There is no destruction but the dead and the dying are
everywhere. Where are the squirrels? They saw you come in and disappeared
into the burrows. Even if you know they exist. Try making a living as Dennis
Hopper. Even if you do find a burrow you will lose a man or two to take
it -- squirrels are not without resources -- and how far ahead are you?
A month or two of resources for the army. It can't happen.
The mutant cannibals are
gone within a month because they have no viable economy. Knock 999 doors
down to find horror and death before finding a squirrel? It does not pay.
It does not play. Dennis Hopper dies in the inner city. Dennis Hopper is
a movie. Hollywood Horror. We have much worse to deal with.
The suburbs are safe from
the violence unless friends and neighbours turn on each other. Can you
imagine your neighbour as Dennis Hopper? I can't, and even if he is, he
can't survive if he is not prepared. Decide to survive. Survivors are everywhere.
Near the inner city is the
hardest, and few there can afford it. I grieve for the innocent who are
there. I can't go into details about survival, and what to stockpile. You
have to solve the water problem. It will be safe to go out and garden in
a short while, but squirrels have a lot to learn about avoiding disease.
If you can afford it, stock enough for someone else's burrow. A loved one
in denial. Help everyone you can right up to the crash. But after the crash,
you have to be hard. A knock on the door. Silence. A longer knock. "Go
away, I am dying!" A strong door is enough to keep out a starving acquaintance
who remembers your warning.
I'd like to have two years
of stockpile in a city for a pair of squirrels. A network of burrows to
spread the risk. There will be some single squirrels. Stay inside until
the dying have died. The population shrinks rapidly. Survivors cautiously
emerge, and start to garden. Dennis Hopper is dead. Now is the time to
share if you have extra. Ignore the carnage. I won't think about those
problems but you have to face them. Think of the strategy and fill in the
Your plan is to salvage in
the city. This is the way you are going to make your living in the new
millennium. Plan to arrive in Paradise at harvest time. Better the second
harvest. There will be both work and demand for your goods. Help with the
harvest, barter your goods, and return to the burrow to wait out the winter.
You can do it the first year, but I won't be able to buy much. The second
Burrow, emerging as infrequently
as possible in the early days. Not because it won't be safe in a month
or two, but because it will be so unpleasant. Burrow. Burrow in networks.
Think about the paradigm I am laying out. You can survive anywhere, if
you can wait for the viable local economy. The city populations will shrink
with breathtaking speed. You will be able to garden that first year. With
a good stockpile and the basic problems solved, you will survive. There
will be survivors everywhere.
Not faith. Economics. Dennis
Hopper is a movie. He dies in my tale, and he dies really early. Squirrels
survive. My wife made me move to a Paradise even though it broke us. But
I have no illusions. Paradise will be a terrible struggle. I won't bore
you with our problems. Focus on yours. See the strategy, solve the problems.
I am laying out a paradigm. A recovery that works. The Hamasaki Paradigm.
Burrow early because outside
is unsafe. Burrow because it is so unpleasant outside. There is too much
time to think in the city. Spend your time in the burrow hoping against
hope for Paradise and wondering about my problems and the problems I am
trying to solve. I am working very hard while you endure in your burrow.
Make imaginary lists of the things I will need. I will be unable to resist
almost anything practical that you can give me, and you will probably take
me for most of my surplus. A fair deal.
If you visit me, I will give
you a good meal just to have you show me what you brought. I won't have
a surplus until the second year. The road will be safer anyway then. But
dream about that meal I will have for you. What will it be? It will be
here, I promise. We will laugh and cry together. You won't tell me what
you saw, or how you survived and I won't tell you
The city will get more pleasant
over time. You might even get some competition as people move back to the
city because salvage is such good business. An economy. A life. A world
after Armageddon. The Hamasaki Alternative. It works. It really does. I
could spin these survival scenes out, but I'll have to ask you to trust
me. Buy the paradigm and the rest will fall into place for you. The Hamasaki
Alternative. Milne accepts the worst, leaps to Road Warrior and isolation.
We accept the worst, but we know Hollywood Horror when we see it. We plan
Decide on a new occupation. There are not that many of them to choose from.
For everybody it will be lots of little things at first.
Stockpile enough to survive until the new occupation pays.
Spread this paradigm. If
you get the big picture, you can fill in the details. The local economies
first, like tiny shoots of green that begin to sprout after the forest
fire. They will spread and connect naturally, almost as fast as the fire.
We do not plan for anything beyond local. No altruism. No faith in humanity.
The rest will take care of itself. The more local economies we create the
faster we come back. Act in your own best interests, try to make a living
in a local economy, and the shoots of green will become a carpet of grass.
Trees eventually. We do not have to try to build a tree. If we try we will
fail. But it will eventually grow without a gardener if we nurture the
I promise. For sure. The
blind watchmaker. The invisible hand of Adam Smith. If there is any doubt
in my mind it is about the first three installments and there is very little
doubt in my mind about the horrors we face. I have seen the blood trail
and it is enough. If you agree with my take, then agree with it all. Trust
me even though you don't know me from Adam. The Hamasaki Alternative works.
It is a plan for recovery. Pass it on.
"Keep writing," people ask
and I wish I could. I have to stop. If I had a choice, I would type until
my fingers were sore. (Can't you tell?) Y2K survival would pour out of
me because the dam has broken. But there is not the time remaining to do
the book, and even if there were, I don't personally have time. I have
to write about other, irrelevant things, things that will make me money.
The rest of the time, I have to work on my Hamasaki Plan and help my wife.
If your rational side sees the blood trail from Bundy to Rockingham, survive. Dennis Hopper is a movie. Hollywood horror. Survival depends dealing with the real horror.
Please note this story was lifted from the newsgroup: