One of the things I love about John Lanchester’s Whoops, is despite a strict determination to keep it to 200 pages, he’s still finds space for wonderful little asides.
“You get a glimpse into the world view [of myopic economics] when you look at the Economist. It is an excellent newspaper (a term they prefer to ‘magazine’) in particular full of good first-hand fact-finding. The first 80 per cent of almost every article is full of fresh things. But every single piece, on every single subject, reaches the same conclusion. Whatever you’re reading about, it turns out that the solution is the same: more liberalization, more competition, more free markets. However nuanced and original the detail in the bulk of the piece the answer is always the same; it makes The Economist seem full of algebraic formulas in which the answer is always x.”
Unfortunately (or fortunately) their consistency seems to be working. James Harkin in Niche, uses the magazine as an example of a media organization that has successfully shunned the mainstream. While Time‘s worldwide circulation has fallen from 4.07 million to 3.3million, and Newsweek’s circulation fell from 3.14million to 1.97 million in the last decade, the Economist‘s circulation almost doubled, from 720,000 to 1.4 million. Time and Newsweek now operate with less than half the staff they had in the 1980s.”