More deadly earnest twaddle from the SMU economist celebrated (or notorious, depending on one's viewpoint) for The Great Depression of 1990. As in his 1987 best-seller and last year's follow-up (Surviving the Great Depression of 1990), here Batra offers an ax-grinding amalgam that combines Eastern mysticism with an idiosyncratic version of business-cycle theory. To illustrate, he reiterates his faith in Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar's law of social cycle. In brief, this hitherto unheralded prophet holds that socioeconomic power shifts from class to class in predictable patterns; his disciple asserts that the West is presently passing through an era of acquisitors (coarser sorts than intellectuals, albeit Brahmin-like in comparison with anarchic laborers) from whence it will revert to another warrior age. The author also relies on fast-shuffle analyses of decennial trends in inflation, money-supply growth, and the pervasiveness of government regulation. He again forecasts that a global economic crisis will occur around 1990, right on the 30- to 60-year schedules that have supposedly marked the post-Civil War period. Concentrations of wealth and inequities in the distribution of income, Batra argues, are among the principal causes of depressions. Barring fundamental reforms, he submits that the calamitous slump envisioned in his worst-case scenario could last through 1996 and beyond. The author hedges to the extent that he allows that catastrophe could be averted if First World political leaders were to embrace another of Sarkar's contributions--PROUT, for Progressive Utilization Theory. This utopian canon features such contradictory elements as nationalization of essential industries and employee ownership of major corporations; equally puzzling is the question of how limiting private initiatives and investment to small enterprises or proprietorships would serve any greater good. About all that Batra's bleak and collectivist commentary proves for sure is that there's invariably a bull market in apocalyptic poppycock.