The Economist’s liberalism is often framed as the politics of human rights and individual freedom, but its origins lie just as much in a fear of the masses and democracy.
Alexander Zevin is a historian and an editor at the New Left Review. He is author of Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist.
Liberalism is often presented as a loose set of principles like reason, freedom, and the rule of law. But over almost two centuries, the Economist has provided a window into the dominant strand of liberalism in action — with imperial conquest and undemocratic regimes defended in the name of upholding “free trade.”