After 18 months of growing millennial angst, it now appears the US$750 billion spent world-wide correcting the Y2K computer glitch was little more than a make-work project for computer techies. I’m sure there was some good work done, but I also have the same suspicions about the Y2K computer techies as I do about car mechanics who tell you your car needs $900 worth of parts and labour when you just took it in for a tune up.
That’s the trouble with becoming dependent on technology most of us don’t understand, we’re at the mercy of “experts.”
But the computer experts have gone one better than the car mechanics. Instead of waiting for us to take our vehicle to them and then have the experts diagnose the problem, the computer people had convinced us there was a problem even before they looked under the hood.
Perhaps all the promoters of New Year’s Eve events who lost their shirts when people stayed home to look after their computers will launch a class action suit against the experts to recover some of that $750 billion.
Ironically, it appears the only computers affected by the Y2K problem were those in Whistler that compute hotel occupancy, ticket sales and skier visits.
But of course the Y2K millennial angst isn’t over. Like any good cult following, when the second coming doesn’t happen or the spaceship doesn’t appear the followers blame it on a misinterpretation of the dates. Thus we have another full year of Y2K worries ahead of us.
But really, how can the new year/century/millennium get any more anti-climatic? All the big news happened on Dec. 31: Boris Yeltsin resigned, the Air India hostages were released and here on the West Coast we already knew Japan and New Zealand were into 2000 with no glitches by the time we’d finished breakfast.
What the new year will bring for British Columbians is another premier, or two. In February Dan Miller will finally step down as interim premier to make way for Joy MacPhail, Ujjal Dosanjh, Gordon Wilson or Corky Evans. But that will only be the first step in a long, drawn out process toward returning B.C. to democracy. Assuming the new premier calls an election in April or May, it will have been 9-10 months since the province has had a premier elected by the general population.
In the period since Glen Clark’s resignation last August the economy has continued to flounder, fundamental problems in health care and education have yet to be addressed and treaty negotiations have come to a standstill. In short, there’s been little long-term planning or decision making while the NDP has taken its time fighting over who gets to replace Clark. Perhaps there’s a role for some of the now-unemployed Y2K computer experts in helping the NDP prepare for change.
Welcome to the first years of the 21st century, the oh-ohs.
Somehow this millennium seems an awful lot like the last one, except some B.C. pub employees have adopted gas masks as part of their work wardrobes.