Thomas Piketty's massive treatise on wealth inequality is making waves all over the place.
Everyone, it seems, is discussing it. Our own serious mag, The New Zealand Listener, has produced a cover feature that discusses it in exhaustive detail. The Huffington Post has discussed it equally earnestly and impartially. As one would expect, rightwing commentators have not been quite as even-handed.
Rush Limbaugh has had a rush of outrage, which he has shared with the usual millions who can stand his kind of rant.
And, on Amazon, there is a movement to sabotage the book's very high (#118) rating, by posting one-star reviews.
Currently, there are 161 of them. The most helpful of these warn the reader that the following one-star reviews are not exactly reliable.
"Please read 1-star ratings carefully. Most are frauds and are on here to reduce rating of this book. hmmmmmm....makes me wonder what special-interest group is having its members throw the reviews," says the first. Interestingly, 528 people have found this helpful.
"Careful: It seems that a great number of "one star" reviewers haven't actually read this book," says Kevin McGivern. This is a comment that 707 people found helpful -- and it seems he is absolutely right. The comments are just repetitions of what the rightwing commentators have said.
Trawling through the one-star comments, they haven't bought the book, either. There are very, very few that have "Verified Purchase" at the head of the review. A quick scan found only three of them.
This is a blatant attempt to manipulate Amazon's ratings. Is it time the policy was changed so that only reviews by people who have actually bought the book are eligible for publication?