The Economist

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Just a question…do you think it is worth $100 a year to subscribe to The Economist? I was a subscriber several years back and let it lapse mostly because I found that I wasn’t checking in every week.



  1. If I get really busy, I won’t end up reading issues. But when I do find the time (which I try to), it is quite rewarding. If you want to know what is happening in the world it’s more than worth it, if you have a couple hours to spend every week finding out. If not, then it’s not such a good idea.

  2. Yes and in addition i might recommend stratfor for 199/yr too. check it out

  3. The Economist was an essential counterweight to crappy US media years ago. With the explosion of web content, it’s really not necessary any more, particularly not at that price. I confess that I do subscribe, but as a professional investor, I *need* to know what is on that periodical’s radar screen.

  4. I think it’s well worth it if you actually sit down and read it, sure. Like BuckyDent said, you could probably cobble the same information together for free from various sources on the web, but it’s nice to have it all in one package.

  5. Brad DeLong says the Financial Times is the place to go. In recent years the Economist has apparently been somewhat Americanized, in the bad sense. The FT seems to cost about $100 / year with the introductory offer, though their website isn’t very forthcoming.

  6. I think it lacks hard data,to much North American content and tends to have a habit of putting down South Asia compared to say China .Tends to pursue a political right wing agenda rather than an economic one eg more likely to be negative to Iran’s nuclear program for political reasons rather than addressing the economics of the program.Save your money,subscribe to more regional magazines eg China today ,India today and use the internet for stats.

  7. Not unless you have money to waste. Just pay a local college kid 20 bucks for his library id # and use it to access The Economist, WSJ, etc.

  8. As BuckyDent says, the Economist was the only good magazine in pre-net times (it was superb in the late 80′s and early 90′s).  
    However, I’ve noticed it has become somewhat more politically correct, both right and left, in the American style (Iraq war, Iran’s nuclear program, global warming). I believe this trend began around the time that Bill Emmott became the chief editor. As a result, I no longer read it. Bill Emmott clearly needs to go.

  9. It’s veered to the right politically for US coverage. If I knew of a more reasonable alternative with good correspondents globally, I’d switch– but I don’t know of another weekly that maintains such a network. Maybe the Christain Science Monitor? I agree that Emmott is terrible; wasn’t he “Lexington” when that column stank?

  10. I agree with BuckyDent too — I used to subscribe, largely for the more-cosmopolitan p-o-v, and despite the we-know-better smartypants quality. But at least they’ve got a point of view and aren’t afraid of an opinion. Most American news publications are afraid of letting you know where they stand. 
    These days though I haul in all kinds of news and info from all over the world courtesy of Firefox (including some Economist articles). Hence, no more need to shell out. I tried the Financial Times for a bit — seemed literate, informative, smart, etc. Lost interest pretty quickly, though I’m not entirely sure why. Had something to do with its general Brits-always-know-better attitude, I suspect. But mainly I just didn’t find it amusing or provocative enough. A funny combination of bright and dull …

  11. Three generations of my family feel that The Economist is the best news magazine in America.

  12. A year or so ago and for several years before that there was a $50 full access but online only subscription. That’s what I’ve gone with for awhile. 
    It’s vastly better than any other news weekly I think, with virtually no space for entertainment “news” (yeah). But how essential? Not essential. I read it but not all that extensively. Cherry pick. After a while the angle it’s going to take on most things does indeed become quite predictable. 
    Personally I think Atlantic Monthly is considerably more interesting, with more thought provoking articles on social and broader (not food fights de jour) political issue, and that comes in at around $20 or $25/year (if you look for deals) for print and full online access.

  13. I think Atlantic Monthly and Utne Reader are more original. 
    Plus I just love – it’s like having your own private CIA working for you!

  14. I’m with most of the commenters here. I keep my subscription going out of inertia, but read it less and less. I started subscribing a long time ago because of the writing quality and alternative take on American issues. Pre-web it was the best source I could find. 
    Now I have multiple web sources for alternative viewpoints and great writing. My sense is that the quality of the Economist has declined. I don’t know if that’s a change in me, a comparison to other sources, or a real decline. Probably some of all three. I definitely no longer look forward to each issue as I used to. Mainly I read it while waiting on kids on the road. More of the viewpoint makes me cringe than it used to.