John Micklethwait is leaving the Economist for Bloomberg. Generally perceived to have succeeded in meeting the digital challenge under his editorship, the highly profitable publication throws off cash by playing on the insecurities of the business class in the same way that Cosmopolitan plays on the insecurities of women. The magazine prides itself on being for homme sérieux. In a dumbed down globalised world it remains the premier business magazine.
Business affairs editor Zanny Minton Beddoes, US editor Robert Guest and foreign editor Ed Carr are said to be frontrunners for the top job, MediaGuido has no idea as to their respective merits. In the 80s the newspaper – it styles itself thus despite being a magazine – was on the cutting edge of the Thatcher-Reagan revolution. Which was as it should be for a publication founded to support free markets and repeal the corn laws.
Nowadays it is editorially in thrall to the fashionable guilty billionaire class that throngs to Davos, adding to global warming with all the hot air they release. This international elite wants to conserve the stable managed form of globalisation that has served them more profitably than a dynamic free trading world order would. Hardly surprising given that Micklethwait has been intimately involved with the organisation of the Bilderberg conferences for years. One example of how the magazine has politically lost its way, it endorsed Obama in ’08 and again in ’12 despite Mitt Romney being of their ilk and right on Russia being the primary geo-political foe. Obama ran on an explicitly anti-free trade ticket.
The next editor should perhaps come from outside, someone enthusiastic for more free trade rather than blocs of managed trade arrangements. The Economist is, like sister-paper the FT, weak on the deficiencies of the EU. An editor with a more realistic view of the EU could help change the mindset of the business class towards a more realistic appraisal of the EU. That would be true to the free trade roots of the Economist’s founding…