Is Ravi Batra Ever Right?

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Whenever Thom has Batra on I pay more attention. He seems to have a grasp of our dysfunctional economic system. So whether it would all collapse into another great depression... who knew.

But yesterday I was poking through some boxes of archived papers and came across the audio version of Batra's book The Great Depression Of 1990. I know THAT didn't happen.

So is Batra's reputation deserved? Is he ever right?

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Pierpont
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Feb. 29, 2012 2:19 pm

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Ravi Batra is a progressive, which means he is a special kind of stupid that it is reserved for people that believe a rich politicians can run their lives better than thay can themselves. while complaining about all of the injustic they receive at the hands of rich people.

firearm owner
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Jan. 18, 2013 9:52 am

Since firearm owner seems to spend all his time with his guns and has not listened to anything Batra has said or written, his ignorant and stupid post above simply repeats his own mantra of bullshit.

In addition to being able to provide a diagnostic perspective against the cult of Neoliberal economics, Batra has a cyclical historical understanding that comes from Asian and Indian thinking about human life. In particular, Batra traces how various aspects of our human diversity rise and fall from prominence as we either exhaust the wrong paths or forget what really works.

I see the Age of Greed playing itself out and turning people off. The idea that going for the Gold and letting individual ambition drive us culturally was supposed to lift all boats and increase the size of the pie so well that everyone would be a winner. The same alchemy had failed before, but its alchemy and the promise of lead becoming gold is too good not to try. Now we are sobering up and thinking of what is really valuable in human life as well as finding empire an expensive and harmful folly. Or, some of us are sobering up and others are drinking more to try to find that old high.

Batra sees an age of Service following the Greed. The traditional categories are soldiers and educators, people who do give their lives for others, setting the moral and cultural framework. The military reference is not about conquest, and would be what a non-slave patrol militia or Ninja honor represents. People find money less than meaningful and seek vocation instead of that high paying career they did instead of what they dreamed of. Serving others turns out to be an immediate reward of great depth to those losing touch with their own humanity.

Big pictures and long term epochs don't fit the frame of our tv news and economics pundits. Batra was very right about Greedspan, btw. I think he is right about our fling with Greed and our need to recover our humanity. The economics will follow.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

The question is in the definition of "right". There are two. The first is prediction - this definition assumes a chronological as well as a procedural outcome. (the collapse of capitalism - x% unemployment and yGDP by a specific date) By that definition no economist has ever been right. The second is analytical - if you do x the result will be essentially and eventually y. By that definition Dr. Batra is as good or better than most.

And by the way, The "depression of 1990" was starting to happen in 1992. We temporarily escaped it by the Clinton era "tech boom" - massive Kensyan style investment (though by private rather than public money) that turned out to be a bubble, undermined by the 1998 "welfare reform" that led to the 2000 recession that GWB turned into the "great recession" of 2007 - which we are still in.

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doh1304
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Dec. 6, 2010 10:49 am
Quote doh1304:

The question is in the definition of "right". There are two. The first is prediction - this definition assumes a chronological as well as a procedural outcome. (the collapse of capitalism - x% unemployment and yGDP by a specific date) By that definition no economist has ever been right. The second is analytical - if you do x the result will be essentially and eventually y. By that definition Dr. Batra is as good or better than most.

And by the way, The "depression of 1990" was starting to happen in 1992. We temporarily escaped it by the Clinton era "tech boom" - massive Kensyan style investment (though by private rather than public money) that turned out to be a bubble, undermined by the 1998 "welfare reform" that led to the 2000 recession that GWB turned into the "great recession" of 2007 - which we are still in.

Wow, there's certainly a lot of retroactive rationalizations there. If the Bush Depression was caused by neoliberal laws not yet passed when Batra wrote his book in the late 80's... it's pretty difficult to attribute to him great predictive powers... especially when the Bush Depression happened 18 years after Batra said it would.

As for the economic slowdown around 1990, the high price of oil following Saddam's invasion of Kuwait could explain that... and Batra didn't predict that invasion.... or did he?

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Pierpont
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