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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Taxation

Date: 

1997-08-21 19:13:58

Subject: 

Revenge of the Codeheads: IRS, Beware!

Comment: 

This posting appeared on a forum of people who do y2k repairs. It bears considering.

* * * * * * *

Another problem that has not been widely addressed in public yet is the fact that many of the programmers needed for the Y2K fix feel absolutely zero loyalty to the system they are serving. They have long been disrespected by an administrative culture that viewed them as expendable nerds doing pedestrian technical tasks, and expended they were when it came time for corporate restructuring and downsizing. Nor have they ever gotten any breaks from tax-collectors, with more of their income going to the government instead of into their own pockets. With your typical codehead being treated like an unwashed techno-serf over the past twenty years, should it be any surprise when they decide that the Y2K is not so much a problem as it is an opportunity to screw a bunch of technophobic executives, lawyers, bureaucrats, and other parasitic life-forms?

Now mind you, I'm not advocating that anyone sabotage their employer's code; I'm just noting that there is a volatile combination of wounded pride and subversive libertarian sentiments among programmers that make it dangerous for management to cavalierly hire a bunch of strangers to come in to deal with their Y2K crisis for them (assuming, of course, they can find enough technical competence in the first place). With men of intelligence having been objects of contempt and governmental extortion for so long, does anyone really think they will be eager to sustain an uninterrupted flow of funds to the Internal Revenue Service and kiss up to the management?

Of course, we also have to consider that even the most servile order-obeying type will think twice about finishing the project he is working on. Once he realizes that he has a big enough pile of money to take care of his needs, he won't stick around major urban centers waiting for doomsday to strike even if his employers offer him $300 per hour. What good is putting more paper money in a bank account when most of the banks are going to turn illiquid in the near future? Anyone with any sense at all will convert his assets to gold and useful survival items and, if he can afford it, head for the hills. Indeed, a friend of mine who owns a coin-shop in the San Francisco Bay Area reported to me that he already has codeheads coming in to buy gold from him. One of these customers was an employee of a major west-coast electric utility. Do you begin to see the picture yet?


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