The Economist

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
In case you haven't guessed, this is their logo.
You gotta spin it to win it
Icon media.svg
Stop the presses!
We want pictures
of Spider-Man!
Extra! Extra!
As a longtime reader of The Economist, let me just say that in the past six years I have come to the conclusion that in five important issue areas--U.S. politics, U.S. economics, finance (U.S. and global), Middle Eastern politics, and African politics — anything The Economist states that I did not already know is likely to be wrong... And it's the reason I pay much more attention these days to the Financial Times.
Brad DeLong[1]

The Economist is a British magazine, founded in 1843, that covers business, world politics, science, and technology. Their editorial stance is (traditional sense of) centrist-liberal, advocating free markets, a social safety net, and personal freedom. They favor globalization, free trade, and increased spending on healthcare and education, as well as drug legalization and gay marriage. Historically, they have endorsed both Republicans and Democrats in US elections, as well as both Tories and Labourites in UK elections.

The magazine is one of the most respected in the world of its kind, claiming the readership of many influential policy-makers and executives. A warning, though: the comments section of the website has been packed with the average Internet wingnut, supporting what they wrote on one article and oppose what they wrote on the other. Naturally, many of the commenters hate The Economist for being too moderate.


In the 1860s, The Economist stood nearly alone among liberal opinion in Britain in supporting the Confederacy against the Union, all in the name of access to cheap Southern “Blood Cotton” and fear of higher tariffs if the North triumphed. “The Economist was unusual,” writes an historian of English public opinion at the time; “Other journals still regarded slavery as a greater evil than restrictive trade practices.”
The Nation, "The Economist has a slavery problem"[2]


The Economist is intended for a highbrow, well-educated, upper-class audience, and it shows. Most of its writers (who don't attach their names to articles, but rather hide behind pseudonyms or don't give a name at all) are graduates of Oxbridge (including young and fresh ones). Because of its serious tone, readers may be deceived into thinking they must be experienced and distinguished journalists. Therefore, the magazine steers clear of vulgar libertarianism, but tends towards espousing free markets and privatization as a solution to almost every problem. Having said that, The Economist staff are by no means free-market fundamentalists; they just have a strong bias towards market solutions, though they also support state intervention for some things (like healthcare). On foreign policy, they have a mixed record and notoriously were chickenhawks when it came to the Iraq War, a position they later regretted.

Despite all this, their highly liberal positions on social policies and rational opinions when it comes to science mean a left-leaning reader can peruse the magazine without their head exploding. Indeed, the magazine, oddly enough, has a small cult following among radical leftists, much like Al Jazeera America does.

The Economist hates political correctness so much that they despise gender-neutral language and characterized the word "humankind" as part of the "ugly expressions of PC culture".[3]

Although previously it published articles that were sympathetic to transgender people,[4][5][6] the magazine has at times been transphobic.[7] The rough turning point in their overall tendency on the issue appears to have been former editor Helen Joyce's (see: Helen Joyce § anti-trans punditry) 2018 "series of invited essays", during which The Economist published opinions from both sides albeit slightly unequally (five more pro-trans, eight more anti-trans).[8][9] This "Lexington" left The Economist around 2022–2023, but you can still occasionally find headlines like "Trans ideology is distorting the training of America's doctors" in the magazine.[10]

"We'll all go together when we go."[edit]

We will all go together when we go

All suffuse with an incandescent glow
No one will have the endurance to collect on his insurance

Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go
Tom Lehrer's "We Will All Go Together When We Go"[11]

The Economist in 2023, suddenly panicking about the possibility of World War III with the onset a major war between Israel and Gaza (Palestine) during the time of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, came up with the obliviously-titled article "What a third world war would mean for investors". The article offered historical advice on investing opportunities prior to World Wars I and II, but concluded, "Today there is a greater and more terrible source of uncertainty, since many of the potential belligerent powers wield nuclear weapons. Yet in a sense, this has little financial relevance, since in a nuclear conflagration your portfolio’s performance would be unlikely to rank highly among your priorities."[12]

See also[edit]

  • Nordic model - Famously tried to blow it off and were humiliated.

External links[edit]