'We'll end up helping our trading partners as we did then,' said Dennis Grabow, CEO and founder of the Millennium Investment Corp.
The likelihood of foreign Y2K-related computer failures is very serious and troublesome, Grabow said. 'International trade will face serious disruptions due to year 2000 problems in offshore countries,' he said.
According to Grabow, 'What many firms are beginning to realize is that their foreign trade business partners are not going to be able to ship the products and parts they need to keep operating.'
Grabow said a recent Department of Commerce report showed that a sharp rise in the trade deficit has been caused in part by an inventory buildup by U.S. manufacturers in anticipation of Y2K.
Even though the Department of Commerce predicts no major Y2K economic damage, Gragow says that foreign and U.S. companies that have Y2K problems will decline in value, while other companies will gain market share. 'This is the defining economic issue of our time,' he said.
Wealth will be determined by a company's ability to get through Y2K, said Grabow. 'No one wants to talk about this because it will affect their share price. But not all companies will be done on time. These companies will lose customers and market share.'
In the end, said Grabow, the stronger companies will survive the shakeout, purchase and fix noncompliant companies, and move on.
While Y2K problems will cause worldwide disruption, Gragow sees this as a positive. 'Y2K is like a product recall. For the past 40 years it's like we've been making a bad product. In the end, this will be a good process,' he said. 'It will purge from the global inventory bad systems. We will eventually rebuild our technology. But we'll stumble in the process.'
Contact: Dennis Grabow, CEO and founder of The Millennium Investment Corporation, Chicago, Ill., 312-595-6526; web site: www.millenniuminvest.com.
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