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Significant Y2K Quotes

Important Note:
The Y2K scene is constantly changing. I have chosen to focus on finding and creating materials to help people use Y2K for personal and social transformation. I have found that trying to keep general Y2K pages like this one updated takes a tremendous amount of time. Since there are dozens of sites that do that job better than I ever could, I've decided to refer you to them and to spend my time on what I do best -- collecting materials on transformation. Good sites to keep up with current genral Y2K information include:
Wild2K, Douglass Carmichael's site (see especially his archived weekly newsletter), the Napa Valley, CA community group's site, Alan Lewis' Y2K Pages: Y2-KO or Y2-OK?, Larry Sanger's Daily links to and intelligent summaries of 6-10 top news stories about Y2K, Westergaard, Peter de Jager's site and the comprehensive news source Y2Ktoday. I wish you good luck in your explorations. -- Tom Atlee

"I came here today because I wanted to stress the urgency of the challenge to people who are not in this room.... Clearly, we must set forth what the government is doing, what business is doing, but
also what all of us have yet to do to meet this challenge together. And there is still a pressing need for action.... In the business sector just as in the government sector, there are still gaping holes. Far too many businesses, especially small- and medium-sized firms, will not be ready unless they begin to act. A recent Walls Fargo bank survey shows that of the small businesses that even know about the problem, roughly half intend to do nothing about it. Now, this is not one of the summer movies where you can close your eyes during the scary parts." -- President Bill Clinton, in a speech about Y2K at the National Academy of Sciences, July 15,1998

"When Chairman Horn and I began investigating this problem at the beginning of last year, our focus was to ensure timely and effective action by our Nation to meet the tremendous challenge of solving the Year 2000 problem, both in the public and the private sectors. Now it appears as if we must recategorize our thinking, embrace the risks of failure and discuss its consequences." -- Rep. Constance Morella, House of Representatives, March 20, 1997

"I am very, very concerned that even as government and business leaders are finally acknowledging the seriousness of this problem, they are not thinking about the contingency plans that need to be put into place to minimize the harm from widespread failures.... I think we're no longer at the point of asking whether or not there will be any power disruptions, but we are now forced to ask how severe the disruptions are going to be.... If the critical industries and government agencies don't start to pick up the pace of dealing with this problem right now, Congress and the Clinton Administration are going to have with a true national emergency." -- Senator Christopher J. Dodd, (D-CT), at the first hearings of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, June 12, 1998

"When people say to me, 'Is the world going to come to an end?' I say, 'I don't know.' I don't know whether this will be a bump in the road -- that's the most optimistic assessment of what we've got, a fairly serious bump in the road -- or whether this will, in fact, trigger a major worldwide recession with absolutely devastating economic consequences in some parts of the world... We must coldly, calculatingly divide up the next 18 months to determine what we can do, what we can't do, do what we can, and then provide for contingency plans for that which we cannot." -- Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), chair of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, in a speech June 2, 1998, to The Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"I have no proof that the sun is about to rise on the apocalyptic millennium of which chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation speaks. Yet, it is becoming apparent to all of us that a once seemingly innocuous computer glitch relating to how computers recognize dates could wreak worldwide havoc." -- Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, in "Bennett to lead 'millennium bug' battle: But it may be to late to keep computers sane." Desert News ­p; "Web Extra" by Washington Correspondent, Lee Davidson, 4/29/98.

"The nation's utilities told a Senate panel today [June 12] that they were working to solve expected computer problems when 1999 ends but that they could not guarantee that the lights would not go out on Jan. 1, 2000." -- New York Times, June 13, 1998

Y2K is "a crisis without precedent in human history." -- Edmund X. DeJesus, "Year 2000 Survival Guide," BYTE (July 1998), pgs. 52-62

"I would like to tell you that...the efforts of hundreds of Y2K-focused consulting firms around the world has pretty much worked, and that long before we hit the Y2K wall less than two years from now, the problems will be pretty much solved. I would like to tell you that-- but it would be a lie.... Many, many firms, including some surprisingly large ones, have continued to drag their feet...and now won't possibly be ready to avoid disastrous problems come that cold January morning. For one thing, virtually everyone competent in the Y2K analysis-and-fixes business is already fully booked through January 1, 2000 and beyond. Companies with Y2K problems often cannot find people to work on those problems. Not just enough people, but any people.... The Y2K business ... is full of misinformation, hype, fear mongering and exaggeration. Certainly some of that is crass, self-promoting hype by such entities as consulting and programming shops, which stand to benefit from spreading fear about Y2K meltdowns. But a tragic if understandable backlash has begun against Y2K warnings that is ultimately even more destructive: the claim that Y2K is a myth, a nonissue that will go away if the loudmouths will just shut up. It will not. It is real. I believe Y2K will be the single biggest business crisis many of us will face in our lifetimes.... I've avoided writing a Y2K Fears column until now because I find it unseemly to be associated with the sky-is-falling types. I've been confident that American business, indeed global business, would address this problem early, aggressively, effectively. I was wrong. They didn't. We didn't." -- Jim Seymour of PC Magazine (quoted in an email 3/16)

Y2K is "the biggest screwup of the computer age" and it may cost $1 trillion to fix. [For comparison, the Vietnam War cost half that much, $500 billion.] -- Gene Bylinsky, "Industry Wakes Up to the Year 2000 Menace," Fortune, April 27, 1998, pgs. 163-180. Available on the web:

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) -- a trade association for electric utility companies -- says the Y2K problem will begin to disrupt businesses, including electric utilities, a year before the new century begins: "Major disruptions in technical and business operations could begin as early as January 1, 1999. Nearly every industry will be affected." [ challenge.html]

Y2K is a "very, very serious problem.... There's no point in sugarcoating the problem... If we don't fix the century-date problem, we will have a situation scarier than the average disaster movie you might see on a Sunday night. Twenty-one months from now, there could be 90 million taxpayers who won't get their refunds, and 95% of the revenue stream of the United States could be jeopardized." -- Charles Rossetti, commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), cited by Tom Herman in "A Special Summary and Forecast of Federal and State Tax Developments," Wall Street Journal, April 22, 1998, pg. A1.

"Serious vulnerabilities remain in addressing the federal government's Year 2000 readiness, and ... much more action is needed to ensure that federal agencies satisfactorily mitigate Year 2000 risks to avoid debilitating consequences. ... As a result of federal agencies' slow progress, the public faces the risk that critical services could be severely disrupted by the Year 2000 computing crisis." "Unless progress improves dramatically, a substantial number of mission-critical systems will not be year-2000 compliant in time." Joel C. Willemssen in the Government Accounting Office report "Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Actions Must be Taken Now to Address the Slow Pace of Federal Progress" [GAO/T-AIMD-98-205] (Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, June 10, 1998). []

"The focus of conversation among those best versed in this issue is about how we are going to clean up after what appears now to be an inevitable train wreck. As a society, we are on the point of conceding failure. Those unwilling or unable to move off the track are numerous. Federal agencies. State governments. Local and municipal governments. School districts. Private sector industries. Small and mid-sized companies. Critical infrastructure players. And most foreign nations. It's crazy. It's frustrating. It cannot be happening. But it is. Now the "smart" questions have shifted to concentrate on contingency planning, crisis management, and liability. Lawyers are circling, and that is not a good sign. Failure is not part of the American fiber. Yet after this transition to the new century, society may have to admit that here was a situation it saw coming. Everyone understood its hard deadline. Everyone appreciated its worldwide scope. Everyone realized its massive potential to cause harm. And everyone let it happen. Given where the federal government stands today, I feel very confident in predicting that some mission critical government systems will fail -- perhaps as early as January 1, 1999. A recent ITAA survey showed that 44% of organizations have already experienced a Y2K failure." -- Harris N. Miller, President of Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), a trade association representing 11,000 information technology companies, testifying to the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Ways and Means Committee, May 7, 1998.

"What is really important is that we have to think of what to do if we lose power or water or cars don't work. We need back-up generators, contingency plans and creativity in our communities. We must tell people what they can and should do to meet this crisis, because there is no silver bullet that will solve it all in time." -- John Peterson, a former member of the National Security Council who now works as a consultant in Virginia, in The Sacramento Bee)

"I plead guilty to journalistic incompetence for ignoring what may be one of the decade's big stories: the Year 2000 problem.... The House subcommittee on government management, information and technology, chaired by Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), estimates that the federal government has almost 8,000 'mission critical' computer systems and that only 35 percent are now prepared for the year 2000. At the present rate, the committee projects that only 63 percent will make it. Most disturbing is the estimate that only about a quarter of the Defense Department's 2,900 systems are now ready. Among private companies, readiness also seems spotty. The head of General Motors' information systems recently told Fortune magazine that the company is working feverishly to rectify 'catastrophic problems' at its plants.... The FAA reports that its radar has a date mechanism to regulate a critical coolant. If the software isn't fixed, 'the cooling system will not turn on at the correct time ... and the [radar] could overheat and shut down.' Potential glitches like this abound. No one knows how many there are. Millions of lines of software have to be scanned and, if wrong, rewritten, computers must then be tested.... Little testing has been done. It's complex and time-consuming. Often, systems can only be tested on weekends when not in use. For the press, I grasp the difficulties of covering this story. It's mostly hypothetical....[so] anyone writing about it now is shoved uneasily toward one of two polar positions: reassuring complacency (fixes will be made); or hysterical alarmism (the world will collapse).... I lean towards alarmism simply because all the specialists I contacted last week -- people actually involved with fixing the computers -- are alarmed. On the record, they say the problem is serious and the hour is late. Their cheeriest view is that 'no one knows' what will happen. Off the record, they incline toward Doomsday.... We can deny the possibilities and pray they don't materialize. Or we can pay attention and hope to minimize them. Either way, the year 2000 won't wait." -- Columnist Robert J. Samuelson, "Computer Doomsday?" Washington Post, May 6, 1998

"If we could turn back the clock, I'd like to go back to 1970 when Cobol guru/grandfather Bob Bemer had gathered together 86 professional organization ­p; including the AMA -- and submitted a proposal to President Nixon asking him to declare a National Year of the Computer. 1970 or 71 would have been a year during which all computer users ­p; nation wide (and by default, world-wide) -- would concentrate on upgrading their date fields from 2 to 4 digits. President Nixon refused to sign the proposal and it fell by the wayside." Rev. Dacia Reid, citing an unpublished paper, "Y2K for Scoffers" by Kal Gronvall of Investments Rarities, Incorporated, in Minneapolis, MN (cf. endnote #1).

"The conveniences and comforts of humanity in general will be linked up by one mechanism, which will produce comforts and conveniences beyond human imagination. But the smallest mistake will bring the whole mechanism to a certain collapse. In this way the end of the world will be brought about." Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's prophecy (Complete Works, 1922 I, p. 158-9) [cited by David Tresemer, Ph.D. <>]