Surviving the Great Depression of 1990 Summary

Ravi Batra

Surviving the Great Depression of 1990

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

People have been predicting another global depression almost since the last one ended. What made Dr. Batra’s THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF 1990 unique was its strange amalgamation of modern economic jargon with Far Eastern traditional wisdom. He relied heavily on the theories of an Indian scholar named Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, who seems to be following the traditional caste system as well as the BHAGAVAD-GITA in dividing humanity into four classes: warriors, intellectuals, merchants (or “acquisitors”), and laborers. Each of these classes enjoys periods of ascendancy and then is supplanted by another class in a predictable pattern that recurs over the centuries.

When the so-called acquisitors are dominant, society gradually becomes corrupted by greed and materialism. Crime is rampant. “Eventually, things become so wretched that angry warriors and intellectuals rise in rebellion and with the help of laborers bring an end to the age of acquisitors.” Batra used modern economic analytical techniques to demonstrate that we are currently in one of the ages of acquisitors. All of this would sound a little like Marxism were it not for the fact that Batra and his mentor speak of the workers with the disdain of Brahmins discussing Untouchables.

In both of his books Batra hedges his bets by offering advice on how to prevent the Great Depression he says is inevitable. This may be good strategy for protecting his reputation as a prognosticator; however, it is confusing for the reader who has neither the spiritual wisdom of a Sarkar nor the scientific expertise of a Batra. If everyone were to bail out of the stock market and sell his real estate, as Batra advises, would not this precipitate the very collapse feared? How inevitable is inevitable?

Batra’s ultraconservative financial advice is only of value if his diagnosis of the economic situation is correct (in which case most of it would be pretty obvious); otherwise, the little investor could find himself sitting on a mattress stuffed with gold coins and greenbacks while the stock, bond, commodities, and real-estate markets soared out of sight. Many prominent economists disagree vehemently with Dr. Batra; they say another depression like that of the 1930’s is impossible because the federal government cannot and will not allow it. The only thing we can be sure of is that we will not have to wait very long to find out if Batra was right.