Do You Canoe?....Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts Version 2.0 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I posted this on another thread earlier...maybe it will give a better understanding of the POTENTIAL problems for the economy. It was spur of the moment...criticism is welcome.

Think of the problem this way. It's a different version of "Death by a thousand paper cuts".

Say a guy (he represents the U.S. economy)is out on a river in a canoe(which represents United States IT infrastructure). It's a sunny day with little wind (no terrorists or natural disasters). He's been forewarned about dangerous rocks and snags (Y2K disasters), so being an excellent canoeist, he has no trouble avoiding the obvious dangers that confront him. No problem so far...he's looking like a champ.

Just for the sake of argument, the canoe has some weak spots; maybe the metal is thin ofr fatigued in spots due to corrosion or maybe a weld is weak. As he goes along he begins to notice water seeping into the bottom of the canoe. Maybe he's scraped along a gravel bed in the river or some submerged branches. Initially he thinks nothing of it and continues on his way. As he continues along, he scrapes across other gravel flats and branches, opening other very tiny, but definite holes in the weakened metal.

He gazes down, and behold, a large puddle is begining to form. He is yet to be bothered. But his momentary glance at the puddle distracts him, and he is too late to avoid a sharp boulder in the channel. A weld pops and a new,tiny trickle of water begins to add to the already growing puddle.

Well before too long, the corroded metal begins to give out in other places and now multiple puddles join at the bottom of the canoe. Now our brave canoeist is getting a little concerned. He continues paddling, but after some time realizes that something must be done to keep the canoe from taking on more water.

It now becomes necessary for our canoeist to slow the canoe in order to address the ever increasing problem...he repairs the major leaks but realizes he's unable to patch everything. The corroded condition of the metal concerns him; any more scraping of rocks, sand or branches will open new holes. So he bails, then paddles, then bails, then he's spending more time addressing the problem than getting any real work accomplished. He grows weary having to paddle the canoe with it's extra water weight. He only hopes that he can get to his destination before the hundreds of tiny leaks lead to a swamped boat.

Isn't this another way of saying "Death by a thousand paper cuts"? These "paper cuts" will not sigle-handledly bring this economy to a halt. It is the multiple tiny problems being reported that may take their toll.

-- TM (, January 08, 2000


Analogy is the best way to put a thousand words into a picture, very good analogy, I couldn't say anymore.

-- Brent Nichols (, January 08, 2000.

Only time will tell, and so far it's been less than a week. Also, remember that the actors in the economy, the companies that make up the canoe, are constantly repairing it..... imagine a host of clever little ants in the bottom of the boat plugging the little holes as they appear.

Another stretch of the analogy is that the canoe started out as a log, then became a raft, then a canoe, and is morphing slowly into a personal Yamaha watercraft with a GPS system, as our canoeist goes downstream, constantly evolving.

-- Forrest Covington (, January 08, 2000.

This is a great analogy. I also like INFOMAGIC'S "Y2K is the trigger and the target is the economy". The trigger's been pulled and there will be a series of small noises before the big BANG, and after the noise the target gets hit. What will be the bang? I'm looking at banking,, the grid, and oil. They all look good for now, the ants are keeping the holes plugged.

-- John Littmann (, January 08, 2000.

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