Introduction Political Economy Under Pressure

The approach of the year 2000 raised many concerns in public services and among company managers: leaders were convinced that part of the installed base of computers was seriously threatened with failure, simply because the internal clocks of a very large number of machines were not (or badly) protected against a reset of their time accounts during the night of December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000.

Many consultants, counselors and prophets had described and emphasized this risk, qualified for months as what would become: “the bug of the year 2000”! More or less maintained by the public authorities and by professional circles concerned about this potential risk, the passage of the millennium fortunately did not have any serious practical consequences. It has only given a temporary boost to computer consulting and service companies; it has led to software diagnostics identifying and attempting to frame the possible vulnerability of computers and networks existing at this symbolic date; overall, it has provoked an awareness of the fact that the proper functioning of our society depends on many electronic machines that support and manage essential functions to which we are accustomed, and that we use at any time, almost everywhere, very naturally and without even really thinking about it: daily information, financial movements, administrative procedures are only a few examples of such uses. The societal risk of Y2K was overestimated, ...

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