First published in September 1843 to take part in "a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."—The Economist's "mission statement", printed on the first page of each issue.
It has been published continuously since it was founded in September 1843, to campaign for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Ever since, the magazine has never hidden its preference for Classical Liberalism, but it approaches politics from a utilitarian and pragmatic perspective. Thus, it tends to feel more "centrist with a moderate classical liberal lean."
The writing style is clever and dry, and the writers are extremely fond of puns, incredibly lame and otherwise. These are often multilingual, frequently requiring a working knowledge of Latin, and they Don't Explain the Joke. The magazine's policy of always providing background information about famous people or entities can lead to heaping doses of Captain Obvious, such as their description of "Jackie Chan, a kung-fu actor from Hong Kong".
Somewhat amusingly, for all of the hauteur of its style, writers for The Economist are—according to one report—mostly recent graduates of Magdalen College, Oxford, generally having read Economics, Political Science, or PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). This is masked by the fact that all articles in The Economist are anonymous—even the editor is barely mentioned, and the opinion columnists write under certain standardised pseudonyms, all of which have some sort of historical significance: "Lexington" for the United States (after the Battles of Lexington and Concord), "Banyan" for Asia (a recent one, named after a kind of tree), "Charlemagne" for Europe (after, well, Charlemagne), Bagehot for Britain (after Walter Bagehot, the third editor of The Economist), "Schumpeter" for economics (after the famous economist), and "Buttonwood" for finance and business (after the buttonwood tree on Wall Street under which the New York Stock Exchange originally did business).
It's also highly successful, being one of the few print magazines to have gained circulation in the past 10 years, to a total of 1.2 million. Only 14% of that circulation is in the UK, probably making The Economist the only mass print medium to have more copies circulating outside its country of origin than within.
Currently banned in Thailand due to the royal family's issues with one of the writers (said issues have absolutely nothing to do with the magazine, BTW; the royal family just overreacted to a completely separate work he did).
- In April, 2010, The Economist featured an article about The CSI Effect.
- It has also featured a how-to guide on becoming a Villain with Good Publicity.
- This Economist article mentions a trope (which happens to also be a meme) by name. Courtesy of Libya's revolution:
- This Economist article on the economic reforms in Cuba has in reference to the nation's taxes the following under the image: Half your monies are belong to us.
- Everything Is Online is explored here.