Anyone who collects a wage will appreciate the premise behind Crash of the Millennium
: Wages are too low, relative to the growth of productivity, and thus we're in for a global economic disaster. Who would've thought that being underpaid would have such awful repercussions? Batra, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, has a long history of mostly accurate predictions. He predicted a major depression in 1990, which turned out to be just a recession, but also had quite a few hits: the rising stock market in the '80s, falling inflation and real-estate crashes in the '90s, and assorted wars and other upheavals.
As the 20th century comes to a close, he avers, a handful of long-term trends are coming to a disastrous climax: too much government spending, too much consumer credit, too many monopolistic industries, too much wealth staying at the top in the form of high corporate profits and unprecedented stock prices, and too little trickling down in the form of wages. He also tells you what to do to minimize your losses in this disaster: Sell stocks and bonds. Forget about real estate as an inflation shelter. Park your money in bank certificates of deposit. If you have to speculate, buy gold, silver, or platinum. It's radical advice, but Batra backs it all up with numerous charts showing historical patterns of inflation and speculative bubbles. And he candidly admits he has no idea where all this will end up; his advice merely applies to late 1999 and the first two years of the new millennium. Is he right? We'll know soon enough. --Lou Schuler
From Publishers Weekly
Remember the Great Depression of 1990? If not, it's because it didn't happen. That year ushered in a decade of prosperity for the United States. Ravi Batra, the author of not one but two bestsellers predicting that depression, is back with The Crash of the Millennium. Why do so many readers listen to Professor Batra when the economy ignores him? One reason is that he is a serious professional economist with well-reasoned arguments for his positions. His combination of demand-side neoclassical market theory with neutral interventionist government is old-fashioned but respectable. He is also a gifted writer, which makes the dense mathematical parts of his discussion painless and the apocalyptic crescendos breathtaking. Finally, he has the breadth of vision to incorporate history and spirituality into his analysis, and the market savvy to add a happy ending to his most calamitous forecasts. His analyses are perfect, except that they're so often wrong. Taken in that spirit, this is a valuable book. Readers will learn a lot of economics. They will find ammunition to deflate the popular "the stock market only goes up" theories of their friends. And they can have the thrill of a summer disaster thriller while learning something about economics. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.