Why Is The Economist Called Economist?

The founding principles of the magazine that calls itself a newspaper

“To take part in a severe contest between intelligence.”

To those who believe The Economist is meant to be about the economy, that is logical but inaccurate.

The New York Times doesn’t write about time, nor does Time magazine. The Atlantic isn’t a magazine about oceanography. The Wall Street Journal isn’t only about a street. The Economist was founded in 1843 by the British businessman and banker James Wilson to advance the repeal of the Corn Laws, a system of import tariffs. His principle belief behind the idea was to create a newspaper to “take part in a severe contest between intelligence.”

Why is it called a newspaper? Because that was the only means of regular printing when it was first published as a daily paper on 2 September 1843 before transitioning into a weekly in 1971.

A prospectus for the newspaper from 5 August 1843 enumerated thirteen areas of coverage that its editors wanted the publication to focus on. Here are the original principles set out at the founding.

Note, item #2 explains the balance of articles written today.

Professor of Leadership. Extraordinary Lives Project. Author “Be Somebody” (2021); 2019 Telly Award IconicVoices.tv; ex-publisher Forbes