The Economist (1843- ) is a White British news magazine well to the right that comes out of London on Friday. In 2013 it had 1.55 million readers. Only 14% live in Britain. Over half live in North America.
It was founded in 1843 by a Scottish hat maker to oppose the Corn Laws. It championed free trade then and it still does now.
I like its:
- Writing style, even if it requires a university reading level.
- Strong opinion that is counter to mine, making it easier to separate fact from opinion.
- Coverage of world news. It does not just cover the parts that directly affect US foreign policy.
- Seriousness in trying to understand the world.
Website: In 2006, its free part was useless, but the paid part was one of the best news websites out there. Especially good was the way it tied news stories into backgrounders.
The Economist calls itself liberal – not in the American sense of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton, but the British sense of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, what Americans would call neo-liberal or libertarian. It has been called Thatcherite, which is not way off.
It sees all men as born equal, each acting according to reason and self-interest. There is such a thing as human nature, of people acting out of love or honour, but nine times out of ten it comes down to self-interest, to money. While this makes it less racist than most English-language news outlets, it is still wilfully blind to racism and pushes stereotypes, like Broken Africa and black pathologies.
Since people are reasonable and can make their own decisions, government should allow people (and businesses) as much freedom as possible. It will be better for everyone in the end. Greed is good. Equality is inefficient. Government should only limit freedom for the sake of public order and safety.
The Economist has
- Supported: free trade, free markets, capitalism, internationalism, decolonization, the US war in Vietnam, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, gun control, gay marriage.
- Opposed: Corn Laws, capital punishment, communism, Islamism, Hugo Chavez.
It is bigger on green issues than the US press. It is weak on international law, especially as applied to the US and Israel.
Eurocentrism: Although it seems to cover the world, it is largely by and for the 18% that live in North America and Europe. That is where 88% of its readers live and what 50% of its pages of political news are about. It has 29 staff reporters all over the world – yet 97% of them are White (in 2015).
The average reader is a 47-year-old White man who makes $175,000 a year – the top 10% in the US.
To read The Economist in a somewhat demographically balanced way, read the following number of articles from each section (as of 2014):
- 1 US
- 1 Americas
- 5 Asia (3 from South Asia)
- 3 China
- 3 Middle East and Africa (2 from Africa)
- 2 Europe / UK
Blind spots: It depends too much on governments, companies and think tanks for news.
Censorship: It has been banned or censored at times by India, Singapore, Iran and the Missouri Department of Corrections.
– Abagond, 2006, 2016.
- The Economist: the good, the bad and the ugly
- The Economist: audience demographics
- The Economist: Media directory – find out who writes for The Economist.
- posts on The Economist:
- The press
- Margaret Thatcher
- Hugo Chavez
- Tropes and stereotypes:
- Terms it uses:
- The propaganda model
- reading level
- Could Shakespeare read our English? – not The Economist’s