Ravi Batra is an Indian-American economist, author, and professor at Southern Methodist University. Batra is the author of six bestselling books, two of which appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list, with one reaching #1 in late 1987. His books center on his idea that financial capitalism breeds excessive inequality and political corruption which inevitably succumbs to financial crisis and economic depression.In his works, Batra proposes an equitable distribution system known as Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) as a means to not only ensure material welfare but also to secure the ability of all to develop a full personality.
In 1963, Batra met his mentor, P.R. Sarkar (1921–1990), and after establishing himself in his chosen field, he decided to branch out by contributing to his mentor's work. In 1978, he published a novel book The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism: A New Study of History, where he turned his gaze from theoretical economics to history. In the book Batra promoted the Social cycle theory of his spiritual mentor, Sarkar, based on an analysis of four distinct classes with different psychological preferences or endowments. At the same time, Batra has theorised that economic inequality affects economic performance and social change. He popularised the concept of the "share of wealth held by richest 1%", as an indicator of inequality and an important determinant of depressions.
The main thesis of the book was that the age of acquisitors, better known as capitalism, was soon to come to an end in the West. This dramatic change was to be followed by the downfall of the age of commanders in the Soviet Union, more commonly known as communism. While his predictions for capitalism to collapse within a few decades due to rampant inequality and speculation have not come true, his prediction for the collapse of communism, due to inner stasis and oppression, arrived in 1990, sooner than expected. The key reason that capitalism, as a self-perpetuating social formation, was seen to be on an unsustainable path, was the relentless drive of acquisitors to acquire ever more capital. Over time, this activity was seen to gain momentum and result in financial booms and busts. A depression would then follow and as it came on top of extreme inequality it would quickly bring social chaos and revolt. As anarchy was not a normal state of affairs, the class of military leaders would step in the breach and reestablish order and thereby usher in a new age of "commanders". In this context, Batra reviews a prior such social change, which occurred two millennia ago, when the Roman Republic was transformed into the Roman Empire. At that time slave uprisings were common but were violently suppressed. This period became known as the Servile Wars. At the same time, the military was in ascendancy as the Roman Army continued to expand the empire. The pivotal figure in the development was the military leader, Julius Caesar, who wrested control from the Senate by diluting its membership, but was in turn murdered by the disgruntled Senators. The military class, led by his adopted son Octavian, cemented the new social order. Batra thinks such a scenario in the future will refocus the social motivity, away from acquisition of money to a mastery of technology and physical bravery including the conquest of space, heralding a new age of commanders in the West. These ideas contrast starkly with those of thinkers like Francis Fukuyama who argues in The End of History and the Last Man that capitalism, as it is based on democracy and freedom, represents the pinnacle of human social development. For Fukuyama, the collapse of Soviet Communism could have been inevitable, but not that of Capitalism.