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Doom-mongers forecast Y2K gloom

17 June 1999

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It was five years ago today... Who can forget those heady pre-millennium days when - faced with computer meltdown followed by global apocalypse and nuclear winter - millions of panic-striken, hysterical people began to stockpile sugar, flour and toilet paper "in preparation for the Y2K menace"?

Airliners would fall from the skies, cash machines would refuse to surrender hard-earned greenbacks and, worst of all, video recorders would completely cease to function. That was how the prophets of doom predicted the end of the world at midnight on the millennium. Naturally, business was quick to adopt a responsible strategy to counter the threat - that of running around like headless chickens:

Doom-mongers forecast Y2K gloom

By Linda Harrison
Published Thursday 17th June 1999 11:29 GMT

Companies are stockpiling products out of fear of shortages due to the Millennium Bug, according to a report by the Cranfield School of Management.

Firms are building up stocks of raw materials and finished goods in preparation for the Y2K menace, the report revealed. Of the 500 organisations questioned, 70 per cent said they were worried about disruption and 60 per cent said they were already stockpiling. But this may cause a boom and bust scenario to hit the economy due to this distortion in company purchases.

"Since organisations are simply increasing levels of raw materials and finished goods to offset perceived uncertainty in the supply of goods and materials, there may be a boom in the second half of 1999 followed by a bust in early 2000," according to the report.


As history records, or at least the history as recorded by the one person who was still sober on the fateful night, absolutely nothing happened. Mankind emerged blinking into the light of the new millennium without beholding a vista of total devastation.

One thing had changed, however: somewhere on a beach in Barbados, the CEO of a Y2K compliance company and his VP in charge of scaremongering were toasting their good work in a solid-gold jacuzzi into which the words "A fool and his money are soon parted" had been lovingly engraved. ®

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