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Category: Domino_Effect

(feel free to mail this page)



(Links to documents appear after the summary.)

The domino effect is the problem of falling systems. One system fails, but another is dependent on it. Like a series of gigantic rows of dominoes, each within falling distance of another, so is the y2k problem and its effects. No one can even guess what these effects will be. This is what makes y2k the most complex problem facing the world -- possibly ever.

Consider banking. Banks are threatened by y2k. Depositors will draw out cash. Then the system collapses. If a business cannot pay programmers because its bank is closed, it cannot complete its y2k repairs. When it fails, the firms it supplied are trapped by production shortages. Etc.

The domino effect is one gigantic "etc."

Scientists speak of the butterfly effect: when a butterfly in California flutters its wings, it sets up wind currents that may produce a tornado in Texas. (That's because just about anything can produce a tornado in Texas.) This is an analogy, of course. We can't test the truth of this hypothesis. But it will be easy to test the domino theory if there is a run by Japanese housewives on the unliquid Japanese banks in 1999. These banks will start selling the U.S. government debt that they hold in the hundreds of billions of dollars worth. Interest rates in the U.S. will soar. The dollar will fall. Meanwhile, the run will spread to other nations.

Who knows where it will start? Only one thing seems certain: it WILL start. And when it does, every market institution and every government will suffer enormous setbacks. (See the category, "Banking.")

Banking is the obvious domino. Here's another: shipping. What happens to cities if gasoline is unavailable to truckers? If the computers that control train schedules break down? If rail freight cars cannot be located by defective computers? Think about your supermarket's shelves.

What happens to production when "just in time production" becomes "bottleneck production"?

Here's another: farming. Modern commercial farming is tied to hybrid seeds. The plants produced by hybrid seeds produce seeds that will not produce healthy plants if planted. Every year, almost every large farm on earth must re-order another batch of hybrid seeds. If, for any reason, the seed companies fail, or the banks fail, farmers will not be able to plant anything. This will lead to a famine. Let's not hedge our words: FAMINE. There is no way today to get enough non-hybrid seeds into production in order to avoid this problem. If this is one of the dominoes, the result will be widespread starvation.

This is an unpleasant thought. Are you willing to order a year's supply of non-hybrid seeds today for a few dollars, just in case? If not, you do not understand y2k and the domino effect. You do not take it seriously.

(Other categories: "Compliance," "Noncompliant Chips, "Too Late?")

Updated - Subject

24-Feb-97   Management's Problem: Systems Are Interconnected
24-Feb-97   The Domino Effect: Everything Affects Everything
14-Mar-97   Gartner Group: 50% of All Organizations Are at Risk
05-May-97   Corporate Networks Aren't Compliant
29-Jun-97   Importing Corrupt Data, Relying on Noncompliant Suppliers
16-Jul-97   A Banker Describes the Domino Effect: Total
05-Aug-97   An Example from General Motors
05-Aug-97   Farming: Heavily Dependent on Computers
14-Aug-97   How Your Local Community May Be Hit: A List
15-Aug-97   Little Things Mean a Lot
15-Aug-97   All Fall Down: The Little Things Will Get You
20-Aug-97   Life in New York City in 2000 and Beyond
23-Sep-97   London, 2000: A Grim Scenario
06-Oct-97   88% of Companies Under 2,000 Haven't Begun Y2K Repairs
14-Oct-97   Senior American Programmer Writes Y2K Survival Book
22-Oct-97   Most Systems Will Not Be 100% Repaired: Contingency Planning
23-Oct-97   Same Boat, Many Holes
23-Oct-97   How Noncompliant Suppliers Will Topple Others
24-Oct-97   If Public Faith Collapses. . . .
24-Oct-97   Little Things Can Kill You, Figuratively (You Hope) Speaking
30-Oct-97   Oil Drilling Rigs Threatened
01-Nov-97   A Few Companies Are Getting Tough on Suppliers
03-Nov-97   Factors That Make a Community Vulnerable
03-Nov-97   Health Care: Noncompliant Suppliers Threaten the System
03-Nov-97   Seattle's Vulnerability: The List Is Long
04-Nov-97   A List of Major Dominoes: An Engineer's Perspective
04-Nov-97   What Every Business Needs to Know About Its Suppliers. Fat Chance!
08-Nov-97   Life-Support Systems Are at Risk, Says UN Official
13-Nov-97   Energy Systems at Risk
18-Nov-97   Accounting Problems Will Begin in Britain on April 6, 1999
18-Nov-97   If 5% to 20% of Businesses Go Bankrupt. . . .
25-Nov-97   The Real Problem Is Systemic
26-Nov-97   Ed Yourdon on the Domino Effect
01-Dec-97   Inc., Magazine on Yourdon & Survival
29-Dec-97   Why Engineers Are More Skeptical Than Managers
13-Jan-98   Asia Is Facing a Major Problem
05-Feb-98   80% of British Suppliers Are Not Compliant
16-Feb-98   Nightmare Scenario in Manufacturing, Says INDUSTRY WEEK
17-Feb-98   Replace 12,000+ Suppliers in 1999? No Problem!
06-Apr-98   General Motors Has 85,000 Suppliers. Is One Compliant?
07-Apr-98   Layers of Dependency Described Graphically
13-Apr-98   Global Positioning System: Another Bug
15-Apr-98   Big Dominoes in Asia
15-Apr-98   40% of Asia's Mid-Size Firms Won't Make It -- Gartner
15-Apr-98   20 Million Noncompliant Suppliers in the U.S.
15-Apr-98   Visa Faces Supplier Problem
15-Apr-98   The Specter of Famine
16-Apr-98   Government Noncompliance Will Create Corporate Noncompliance
20-Apr-98   Global Positioning System's 1999 Rollback Threatens Everything
21-Apr-98   Small Businesses Will Bring Down Large Businesses
21-Apr-98   Companies Refuse to Say Whether They Are Y2K Compliant
29-Apr-98   Surveys of Suppliers Are Swamping Suppliers With Paperwork
04-May-98   British Select Committee Describes Domino Effect
07-May-98   Pharmaceutical Industry: Cut Back, Scale Down, Soon
21-May-98   Red China Faces Y2K Problems
21-May-98   Yardeni on Worst-Case Scenarios
25-May-98   List of Hypothetical Foul-Ups: Jan. 3, 2000
12-Jun-98   Germany Threatens Europe With Chaos
12-Jun-98   The West Must Help Asia, Says Asian
12-Jun-98   GM Strike: A Minor Prelude to the Big Crash


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