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    Biggest Y2K Problem Will Be Economic, Says Author

    DALLAS — The biggest Y2K problem may not be in the days or even
    weeks following Jan. 1, 2000, says Bruce Webster, author of ‘The
    Y2K Survival Guide.’ Webster is also a software engineer and
    co-chair of the Washington D.C. Year 2000 Group, which he says is
    the largest Y2K organization in the world.

    ‘What concerns me is the economic impact months into the year
    2000,’ Webster said. ‘It will have a real drag on the economy.’

    The reason, he said, is that the U.S. economy is so dependent on
    inexpensive foreign imports, which may stagger to a halt if
    overseas computers are not Y2K compliant, which many are not.

    ‘It will be far worse overseas than people realize, and that
    will have a ripple effect. This could mean retriggering of
    inflation because companies may not be able to get the inexpensive
    foreign goods,’ he said.

    The failures in the supply chain don’t have to be great to start
    the domino effect, Webster said, pointing to the General Motors
    situation a couple of years ago in which one supplier went on
    strike and caused GM to shut down several plants.

    ‘For GM that was only one of 100,000 of its suppliers and look
    what problems that caused,’ he said.

    Webster is also beginning to see companies stockpiling
    materials, which will have a detrimental effect on the first
    quarter of 2000, when companies will slow down their buying. ‘This
    is the classic setup for a recession,’ he said.

    What people need to do is to expect and prepare for a recession,
    such as reducing or eliminating debt. ‘I’m starting to pay off my
    credit cards,’ he said.

    The good news, Webster said, is that that while an economic
    recession may be imminent because of Y2K, the United States will
    probably not see a social breakdown and chaos that some predict.
    ‘The more prepared and calm we are about Y2K, the less impact it
    will have,’ he said. ‘If people react poorly, even something minor
    can have catastrophic consequences,’ he said.

    Contact: Bruce Webster, author, ‘The Y2K Survival Guide,’
    co-chair, Washington D.C. Year 2000 Group, Dallas, Texas,
    202-256-1279; web site: www.wdcysk.org
    .

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    Published on Oct 9, 2007

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