Annals of Bad Amazon Reviews

>> Friday, December 25, 2009

While working on my Statecraft and the State syllabus, I happened upon this Amazon review of Margaret Levi's Of Rule and Revenue:

"As specialization and division of labor increase, there is greater demand on the state to provide collective goods where once there were solely private goods or no goods at all."

From the second sentence of this book, it charts its course in oblivious contradiction of reality. In reality, of course, economic activity individuates and privatizes as society develops. The few exceptions, e.g., the Soviet Union, are typically short-lived and embarrassing to their promoters.

Ms. Levi is obviously a clever person, but sadly, as with many clever people in academia, her intelligence in this book is deployed mainly to play games of self-referential abstraction.

This book's obscurity and practical uselessness mean that it is unlikely to be of any consequence. There probably is a good book to be written on a general theory of comparative taxation, but this ain't it.

That's just... super. Anyone have other examples of Amazon review that exceed stupid by utterly missing the point?


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