The Economist

Edited in London since 1843, The Economist is a weekly paper of news, ideas, opinion and analysis. Printed in six countries and published on the Internet, more than 80% of its circulation is outside the United Kingdom. Because of its independent and international editorial perspective, it is read by more of the world's political and business leaders than any other magazine.

The paper remains true to the principles of its founder, James Wilson, who championed free trade, internationalism and minimum interference by government. In his prospectus for The Economist, Wilson wrote: "we seriously believe that free trade, free intercourse, will do more than any other visible agent to extend civilisation and morality throughout the world." Wilson's outlook was moral but not moralistic. He believed "that reason is given to us to sit in judgement over the dictates of our feelings." In particular, reason convinced him that Adam Smith was right: through its invisible hand, the market benefited profit-seeking individuals (of whom he was one) and society alike. He was himself a manufacturer and wanted especially to influence "men of business". Accordingly, he insisted that all the arguments and propositions put forward in his paper should be subjected to the test of facts. That was why it was called The Economist.

It was Walter Bagehot, the paper's third editor (1861-77) and probably its greatest intellect, who broadened the range of the paper into politics. It now covers science, technology and the arts as well as current affairs, business, finance and economics. Whatever their subject, The Economist's articles have a distinctive tone: independent, plain-speaking, concise and with a reverence for facts.

Editorial independence is at the heart of The Economist. The constitution of the company does not permit any organisation or individual to gain a majority share-holding. The editor is appointed by trustees who are independent of commercial, political and proprietorial influences. The principle of anonymity is also central to the paper's philosophy. The Economist has no bylines, because it believes that what is written is more important than who writes it.

The Economist
25 St James's Street
London, SW1A 1HG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7830 7000
Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 2968


>> back