28 June 2011

Why I read only The Economist

I have often been asked about how and where do I collect information, what magazines and books I read, and what Web sites do I frequent.

Over the next few weeks, I will publish the names of my favourites books and Web sites. As for magazines, I read only The Economist. Why only the ET? I do not have to go far to give you the reasons. The current issue of the magazine, featuring a cover story on China, will lend the important reasons: comprehensiveness, incisive analysis, uncommon perspective, and loads of easy-to-interpret infographics.

Let me cite an excerpt from ET's cover story on China as a Rising Power, Anxious State:

"China’s rapid recovery from the global financial crisis, and the West’s continuing malaise, have had a profound psychological impact on many Chinese. Emotions ranging from pride to Schadenfreude permeate official rhetoric. Diplomats treat their Western counterparts with a tinge of condescension. What is great about socialism, crowed the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, in March last year, is that it enables China “to make decisions efficiently, organise effectively and concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings”. In the eyes of some Chinese, and even some foreigners, authoritarianism has gained a new legitimacy.
"China is likely to disappoint those who believed that the country’s embrace of globalisation would usher in greater political freedoms over the next few years. James Mann, an American journalist, gave warning of this in a 2007 book, “The China Fantasy: Why Capitalism Will Not Bring Democracy to China”, suggesting that a quarter of a century from now China’s “current system of modernised, business-supported repression could well be vastly more established and entrenched”. A lot can happen in 25 years, but the line-up for next year’s change of leadership does not give cause for optimism." 
In just two paragraphs, the story captures ideas on which tens of books have been written. I relate to the publication's emphasis on free trade and globalisation, which can be great change agents, to promote better quality of life and economic development.

Here's an infographic on the same story:

I like the way tonnes of information has been presented via a single infographic. Sheer beauty.

The Economist has often been accused of being snobbish, First World-ish, presenting caricatured portraits of rising powers like India, and too simplistic. 

All this is ok with me; what matters to me is the treasure trove of information that I can glean from each issue of The Economist.

If you wish to read The Economist's cover story on China, click here and here. Do not forget to read the comments.


Dheep Joy said...

Dear Sir,

I am eagerly waiting for the list of your favourite books and web sites.

Thanking you,

Anonymous said...

have you added labels so that it`s much more easier for search engines to narrow down the website ? or is it some fb or twitter feature?