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GREAT DEPRESSION OF 1990 Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Southern Methodist University economics professor Batra bases his prediction of a "great depression" around 1990 on a pattern of 30- and 60-year recession-depression cycles in the U.S. dating back to the 1780s. He cites factors leading to the stock market crash of 1929 that also are present today: intense concentration of wealth, a depressed farm economy, heavy speculation, bank vulnerability, protectionist trade sentiment and fiscal corruption. The author relates all this to a theory of India's social scientist Prabhat Sarkar who divides human experience into ages of "laborers, warriors, intellectuals and acquisitors," the latter with their "merger mania" being dominant today. Batra's defensive formula for weathering the next slump includes such steps as converting one's assets (home and all) into cash, which, if widely followed, could bring on recession all the sooner. He does, however, propose a tax plan, admittedly unlikely to be adopted, which could puncture the Federal deficit and make a true depression virtually impossible.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Doomsayers have always been part of the landscape of economic forecasting. Batra, international trade economist, has ventured a bit afield from his specialty to predict that the economic sky will fall in late 1989 or early 1990. Using P.R. Sarkar's theory of historical determinism, Batra projects a collapse of the Western economies and a world depression that will arrive in 1990 and plague us for seven years. He analyzes the historical cycles of monetary growth, inflation, and regulation to extrapolate a confluence of cycles in 1990 reminiscent of the crash of 1929. Will it happen? The majority of economists think not. For those who are convinced, chapter 8 recommends financial strategies prior to and during the depression. Not recommended.Gene R. Laczniak, Coll. of Business, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (May 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440201683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440201687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,979,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Old Engineer on January 11, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in the 1980's, when it first came out. What made the biggest impression on me was not his forecasted date, but rather the social cycle theory upon which his forecast was based. Even 20 years later I can still recall the cycles and how they evolve from one to the other. The step from "acquisitor" to "laborer" societies is pretty ugly, with a lot of social upheavals and instability, and the majority of wealth in the hands of very few.

I think the main error the author made was trying to predict a single year for a change that is part of a cycle that takes hundreds of years to evolve through. My own prediction is that he will eventually be proved right, only his timing was wrong.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Batra's 1988 classic had lots of good, logical reasons why we were on the verge of another Great Depression. Unfortunately for his premise, the 1990s have proven to be a time of unprecedented prosperity, as inflation has remained low and cost of living, in real terms, has declined. His book was well-written and I enjoyed reading it, but it is another classic example of the pitfalls of trying to predict the future.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on December 31, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ravi Batra Ph,D. is a professor of economics at SMU and the author of books on International Trade. This 1987 book predicted a great worldwide depression in 1990 by analyzing business and economic cycles since 1700 (a recession every decade and a major depression every third or sixth decade). The symptoms are the mushrooming federal budget deficits, trade deficits, and the increasing concentration of wealth among the rich. Did this prediction fail to occur? Yes, but the government and economy are dynamic and can be modified to avoid foreseen problems. What they can't do is to reverse the plundering and exploitation of the population that leads to a depression when the people are impoverished. This is an informative and educational book. It should teach that projecting future results based on past experiences is not always correct.

The `Foreword' says analysts can be divided into those who seek explanations in cyclical regularities, and those who seek explanations in unique events (p.13). Each has strengths and weaknesses. History combines both elements. Batra believes depressions can be controlled by social policies designed to stop undue concentrations of wealth (p.15). Inflation is caused by an increased money supply, or by a rapid change in value for a commodity. Lester C. Thurow says the Federal Reserve stopped attempting to control the money supply in 1982 because of new money market instruments. [Hasn't that changed?] The `Preface' says that there was no severe economic crisis since WW II (p.17). Batra believes that another economic cataclysm is imminent and explains why (economic data, sociopolitical ideas, historical trends). There must be major changes in government policy to avoid another great depression (p.18). Batra believes events repeat and things move in cycles (p.20).
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter N Caress on February 2, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
We should all be for Mr. Ravi Batri. By selling enough copies of this book and its sequel ("Surviving the Great Depression of 1990"), he singlehandedly prevented worldwide economic collapse!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Aardvark on February 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book when it first came out and knew he was right. My only question was the timeframe. So, he was a little off. I bet all you critics are EATING YOUR WORDS right now!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pinetree on November 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ah, what difference 18 years makes. It was pure hubris to call the date the way this author did. The ability to stagger along had more power than expected. But the long wave will not be denied, self destructive action of the financial ruling class will not cease, the inventiveness with which the financial gurus will distort the relationship between symbolic wealth and real goods and services is inevitable, in the end the guiding hand heads to the cliff, near to the edge, and finally over it. And then the climb back up commences until the lessons become unlearned. It's the raw market stupid...how much do you like it now?
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book years ago under a different title - It was originally published as Regular Cycles of Money, Inflation, Regulation and Depression. The Publishers re-titled the book to make it a best seller and screwed the authors ability to publish anything else when the titles prediction didn't come true - it made the book a best seller. Under its original title, it was well received by economists. After the title change, it was universally panned as "voodoo economics." Now the predictions in the book have essentially come true, but many years after the predicted date. The book is worth a read, although it's now partially more a book of history, it is still relevant.

The author didn't take into account several things in this book - he didn't count on the effects of the press on the mindset of the poor and middle class. At the time of the writing, the press was still required to report the truth as much as they could, there were no right wing or left wing echo chambers. The book was written shortly after Reagan drastically dropped the tax rate on the rich and shifted the tax burden to the middle class without closing the loopholes for the wealthy as promised. The author assumed that the people would rise up in rebellion much faster than they have. They still have not done so and inequality is now at a pre-great depression level once again. "Let them eat cake" eventually ends the same way throughout history.

Other than the predicted date of the title, the book still stands as a fairly clear explanation of repeating patterns of shifting of power in human society. It is well worth a read.
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