Am I the only economist who does not read The Economist? Well maybe the first one to confess to it.
No, it is not because I am too busy and don’t have the time. It is a deliberate decision. Call it a one-man boycott of ideology that masquerades too often as journalism.
Dani does note in the magazine’s defence that he was recently told to look at an Economist piece which quotes him, and which was in his opinion quite good on the complicated relationship between institutions and economic growth.
Dsquared had some sharp words a while back (I can’t remember where) for people who made the grievous error of confusing an acquaintance with the contents of the Economist with real understanding of what is happening in other countries. There is, even so, an underlying truth in the Friedman piece. The Economist succeeds in part by delivering a particular party line that accords well with the prejudices of many of its readers (Friedman quotes an acquaintance as saying that he loves the ‘unpredictability’ of the Economist which is quite odd; by the time I gave up on it, I could tell nine times out of ten what the magazine was going to say on a topic by looking at what the topic was). But it also serves as a kind of aspirational good.
YouNotSneaky’s guide to reading the Economist:
Before one decides on whether to read anything one must know the proper way to read it. So I’m here to help out. Here’s how I read The Economist:
1. Skip the entire US section.
2. Look in Europe section. Anything about Eastern Europe (which also includes the Balkans and Turkey)?
If so read it, if not skip it.