Will communications and transportation fall into near-total disarray with nations economies hitting the floorboard, or will the first day of the year 2000 be only a temporary blip on the activities of mankind—annoying and uncomfortable but manageable?
Edward Yardeni, chief economist for the international investment firm of Deutsche Morgan Grenfel, predicts a 70 percent chance of a serious global recession. Said Mr. Yardeni: "If we have everything fixed in the United States [highly unlikely], but major disruptions in Europe and total calamity in Asia and Latin America, weÕre going to be affected in a very, very adverse fashion" (Washington Times).
One big problem is public education. People simply do not grasp the magnitude of our dependence on computers for nearly every aspect of our lives. We even forget that our offensive and defensive nuclear-weapons systems are controlled by complex computer software. One major concern is that Russians are not anywhere near close to solving the millennium-bug problem resident in their military technology.
The Gartner Group in the United States is one of the leading Y2K research firms in the world. It recently surveyed 15,000 companies in 81 countries and found, according to a recent communiqué:
• Segments of companies and governments throughout the world will not be prepared to deal with the Y2K problem by 2000.
• In the United States, industry segments such as health care, education, agriculture, construction, food processing, governments and companies of fewer than 500 employees are lagging behind in compliance efforts. Many will simply not adequately safeguard their critical systems by 2000.
• Countries already plagued with financial woes, sharp increases in inflation, limited monetary reserves and high unemployment are some of the same countries farthest behind with year-2000 compliance.
• The biggest risk to the United States and American citizens is the impact from companies and governments outside the United States.
America is the wealthiest country and theoretically has the resources and know-how to best deal with 2000. Yet the Gartner Group points out several serious risks to American well-being:
• Too many people may lose confidence in the banking sector.
• Interruptions could occur in the food or medical-supply chain.
• Local, city and town governments may not be able to provide critical services.
The above risks are serious. Clearly, without banking, society may come to a virtual halt, and the interruption of food supplies would have horrific consequences.
What will really happen in 2000—and how seriously will we be affected? No one knows for sure. We should, however, stay aware of the problem and current developments, seek the best professional opinion and act accordingly. But one thing is for certain. Y2K clearly fits into the sobering prophetic framework that The Good News has reported since its inception.
Biblical prophecies—many of them truly frightening—are not a matter of if, but when. But the time factor is variable. God will work out national and global events in a way to best fulfill His plan and purpose.