Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Never Read The Economist

The Economist is so bad! I just threw a stack of them away, unread.

I paused to look at their recent cover story, "After the storm: How to make the best of the recovery." The article is wishy-washy and non-committal, and I can't really dispute any firm predictions it makes since it doesn't make ANY.
But what is scary is their prescription for more Keynesian claptrap. In fact, they have an article claiming "a trio of new books celebrate [Keynes] and declare victory for his ideas." I have discussed Keynesian gems before on this blog.

The Economist has an "interesting" ownership structure: 50% owned by the FT group and 50% by private investors including the Rothschilds.

Here's a fantastic description of it: "Washington's current Sacred Cow: The Economist magazine, which each week unwholesomely purveys smarty-pants English attitudes on our shores." Also, "The omniscient tone and pedantry of The Economist must impress the insecure American cousins in its readership."

My favorite Economist article, which I trot out whenever I am criticizing it, is their March 4, 1999 piece forecasting oil at $5/barrel.

Nor is there much chance of prices rebounding. If they started to, Venezuela, which breaks even at $7 a barrel, would expand production; at $10, the Gulf of Mexico would join in; at $11, the North Sea, and so on. This will limit any price increase
This article was within months of the absolute bottom for oil. A critical article in the Guardian puts it well,
But there's a funny thing about the Economist. The closer you look, the weaker it gets. Beneath the blizzard of one-liners, Oxford Union ripostes and snazzy graphs, it contains less original reporting than many other news magazines and, when it comes to its vaunted analysis, has shown a remarkable capacity over the past couple of years to be demonstrably wrong.
Next time someone tells you they religiously read The Economist, ask them what was their favorite recent article.


Anonymous said...

I hate the Economist too, but if one of the books they liked was Skidelsky's, you really need to consider. Keynesianism is NOT Keynes! John Hicks and Paul Samuelson really bastardized Keynes, and remarkably few people bother finding out what he really said.

CP said...

Didn't Keynes himself talk about paying people to dig holes and fill them? That wasn't a bastardization was it?