Lately I’ve been reading The Economist, one of the world’s premier magazines.  I don’t particularly like it, but it seems to be the magazine of choice for policy wonks, so I knew I needed to become acquainted with it.  I appreciate their obscure articles on far-flung places around the globe.  However, I think they shamelessly editorialize and hide behind cute monikers such as "Lexington" (American affairs), "Charlemagne" (European affairs), and "Bagehot" (British affairs).  Apparently the writers and editors want the full weight of The Economist’s reputation behind its editorializing rather than letting one writer put their own name on the line when they skewer someone like new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  The Economist has strong opinions, and it lets its readers know it.
One standard belief of the magazine is that the democratic process trumps democratic institutions.  That is, if a dictator is legitimately elected and then proceeds to rig up the political system to suit his own purposes, that is more palatable than prohibiting said autocrat from running for office and subduing democratic institutions.  Preserving democracy in and of itself is more important than upholding democratic institutions.  Do you agree with this contention?  Is it preferable that democratically-elected Venezuelan President be allowed to asset control over Venezuelan public institutions, including the legislative and judicial branches, and the bureaucracy, strategic industries, and the press?  Or is it preferable that the Thai military leadership stepped in to forcibly remove the previous, duly-elected prime minister under the pretense, true or otherwise, of preserving democracy?  While neither is desirable, which would you prefer?  The Economist would choose the former.  I’m not sure I buy it.

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at or contact him by e-mail at or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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1 Comment

  1. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    December 21, 2007    

    It has been sometime since I studied the Economist.  I’ll take a look, but I’m not sure I buy your characterization of their editorial policies. I know this if I want information that is quite reliable about some obscure locale The Economist is the place I’d look.

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