Newest Review: ... name, the economist offers far more than an economic perspective of the world. The Economist offers a different perspective on world news, ... more
You want News? Then News you shall have...
Member Name: oodlenoodle9
Advantages: Very in-depth, interesting and wide ranging articles
Disadvantages: Can be difficult to read thanks to the dry tone
This is not a publication for the faint hearted. The Economist's stated aim is "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress," and this is what they do. News from all over the world is the main substance of the articles, often but by no means exclusively written from an economist's perspective, as well as a few book reviews, an obituary (assuming someone worth writing about has died...), a fortnightly "Special Report" on business sectors or geographical locations, and a quarterly report on science and technology, on top of the usual science and technology news. In the back are published the latest economic indicators that are gathered by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The Economist sells in 200 countries worldwide, circulating 1.2 million copies last year. As the largest markets are in the US, Britain and Europe, news is generally more focused on them, but there is plenty of discussion of the more important international issues. On top of this The Economist writes books on economics, hosts debates on contentious topics, publishes yearly books of figures and also Intelligent Life - a lifestyle magazine, but (although I've never read a copy) presumably discussing more heavyweight issues than many.
As all journalists are anonymous unless they are writing by special invitation, the tone remains strictly the same throughout, feeling almost as if the same person has written every article. The tone is slightly dry but often humorous, very focused on the topic and in use of language. Generally it is assumed that the reader has a fairly good grasp of basic economic concepts but not necessarily of the various famous organisations and people it discusses. Departing slightly from the norm are the Bagehot, Charlemagne and Lexington columns, which respectively write on an issue of interest from Britain, Europe and the US, often with a slightly greater amount of wit than other topics.
The Economist has been described as an extreme centre paper, extolling the virtues of free trade and free markets, but supporting any political direction that strikes it as the most intelligent at whatever point in history. It supported both the Iraq and Vietnam wars, opposes capital punishment, favours gun control and believes in gay marriages. Across a very wide range of issues it takes a much more objective and rational stance than most broadsheets, providing very in-depth and thoughtful (but not always correct) analysis.
Articles are very sure of themselves in their conclusions, making sweeping judgements on politics, economics and anything else that can be analysed, which can get a little annoying. However, to their credit they publish the letters of anyone who correctly sees flaws in their reasoning, as well as those who miss the point - the approach of an economist to many controversial issues is not necessarily what many see as 'right', but actually the reasoning tends to be sound. Then again, as a student of economics, I would say that.
At £93 for a year's subscription (a saving of 53% on the cover price) I would argue that it really isn't at all bad - less than £2 a week for all the news you could possibly want. With your subscription you also get access to Economist.com - which has all the articles from the newspaper online, plus over 28,000 archived articles and access to the most up to date figures.
If you are a student, then the price for a year's subscription is even less - £81. If you are studying economics (or really any of the social sciences) I would thoroughly recommend getting a subscription - it'll look good if you're applying to university too!
If you're not a student, well, I would still say it is very much worth a look, but only if you like News with a capital N.
Summary: Definitely worth a read.