has apparently been getting a lot of criticism from the left in recent years. The following is a letter to the editor from this week's issue
on an article from last week:
SIR – According to critical theory, The Economist engages in a narrative designed to persuade its audience of the virtues of capitalism (“Capitalist, sexist pigs” December 18th). A consistent finding of social-psychological research is that people tend to read, watch and listen to things that reinforce their political predispositions. The Economist does just that for its affluent readers as they head out to work, confirming that free markets are more efficient, and, as an added bonus, telling them their profession helps the plight of the world's poor. That way, they believe their profession not only makes themselves better off but is saving the world's downtrodden from famine, disease and even war. That's a feel-good publication.
Why do people on the right, or of the classical liberal persuasion, read The Economist
rather than Mother Jones
? The same reason that people on the left prefer to read Mother Jones
rather than The Economist
: it conforms to their world view.
I’m a little amused that Mr. Townsend thinks that people that work for a living aren’t improving the world. I would argue that they are; they’re improving their own little part of it and, in doing so, are adding to the well being of the world.
The article that the letter is about is here, and an excerpt follows:
In a newly fashionable effort to quantify claims about how power is transmitted through words and images, Yana van der Meulen Rodgers and JingYing Zhang, of the College of William & Mary in Virginia, have analysed The Economist’s photographs. Their paper, “A Content Analysis of Sex Bias in International News Magazines”, asks, first, how often are women portrayed compared with men? Second, how often are men and women depicted in a sexual way? For answers, they looked at all the issues of five news magazines, including The Economist, in 2000, and the photographs in The Economist in even-numbered years from 1982 to 2000.
All the magazines studied contained an over-representation of women depicted in sexual ways. But The Economist, apparently, had more frontal nudity in its photographs than all the other magazines combined. When it came to “partial breast exposure”, it was at the top of the league. Particularly curious to the authors was our use of sexual content to illustrate stories on topics such as finance and technology. A photograph of three bikini-clad beauty contestants, used to illustrate a story on financial regulation, with the caption “Pick your regulator”, was both emblematic and problematic.
As for myself, I love The Economist
. Since Reason’s
demise, under the editorship of Nick Gillespie, The Economist
is the most prominent classically liberal magazine in print and a personal favorite of mine. I hope it stays that way.
Update: For a different view of The Economist, look here. I generally agree with Cass, but not this time. The Economist is a British magazine and they can toot their own horn a bit if they want. We do the same. They can similarly be critical of America and I won't be bothered by it up to a point. It's worth noting, on the article she quotes, that they have said many favorable things about the U.S. higher education system in the past and have used it to criticize the British system for relying on too much government funding.