Controversial Economist 2015 Cover Illustration Explained!

Fact checked

There’s been much controversy over the meaning of The Economist’s new year cover. YourNewsWire speaks to Editor Daniel Franklin about what those images actually mean.

By Salli LaBelle Platt and Jacqui Deevoy

On January 8th, a feature appeared on the Vigilant Citizen website – – and sparked a small storm. People who wouldn’t usually read The Economist were drawn to it, determined to discover the hidden message in the bizarre artwork (allegedly put together, not by a single illustrator, but “in-house” in conjunction with an external design agency). Conspiracy theorists nodded in agreement with what the anonymous writer had to reveal. Comments flooded in – debates began in earnest. What is The Economist up to? How would we ever find out? Here’s how… You call the magazine and ask (nicely) speak to the Editor. Which is exactly what we – at – did.

Below, we compare the views of Vigilant Citizen with the explanations of Economist Editor Daniel Franklin.



Vigilant Citizen says: “Take a closer look at the faces of the personalities featured on the cover. Some of them are in full color while others are in black and white. Why is that? Among those in black in white are Putin, Merkel, Obama, Hilary Clinton and David Cameron. Among those in color are David Blaine, a young person holding a “Singapore” banner (Singapore is the host of the 2015 SEA games) and a random guy wearing virtual reality equipment. A quick compilation of this data reveals that those in black and white appear to be part of the elite (including the ISIS guy who probably works for them) and those in color are “outsiders”. Is this how the elite perceives the world?”

Daniel Franklin, Editor of The Economist says: “The black & white versus the colour faces was a decision based purely on the strength of the design. There is no differentiation with the people featured in colour or not – it’s merely a way of representing a bunch of relevant folk in order that this be a stronger front cover.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “One side of the globe gazes stoically towards the West while the other side appears irate. Does this represent a confrontation between the East and the West? The cover features a few other symbols referring to the ‘rise of the East’.”

Daniel Franklin says: “Represents the rise of Nationalism and how it may be a world of conflict with regard to agreements. Many nations involved, some places angry, unsettled, others less so. The two faces of the moon disagreeing with itself as depicted on different sides. The article it refers to is called ‘Nationalism is Back’ and can be found in the International Section.”



There’s no reference in the Vigilant Citizen article to the image of the drone.

Daniel Franklin says: “The drone is relevant to the US Section, where there is an article on the Fed Aviation Society who are set to announce the rules this Autumn on the regulations on Drone use in America. (To be found in the US Section).”



Vigilant Citizen says: “High tech surveillance and nuclear warfare. The Economist is not very optimistic.

Daniel Franklin says: “’New Horizons’ space probe which will be flying by Pluto in 2015 (the article on this is on page 137 of the UK edition of the magazine). However, at the last minute, after the cover had gone to press, they decided to use an illustration for that story showing the distance New Horizons had travelled to Pluto, which is why you won’t find the picture inside the magazine.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “…immediately under that angry globe, is pictured a mushroom cloud (the kind that happens after a nuclear bomb goes off).”

Daniel Franklin says: “The mushroom cloud relates to the story on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty yearly review conference, set to take place in New York – article to be found in the ‘International’ Section.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “Other notable symbols on this cover include a piggy bank flying from Cameron’s pockets …”

Daniel Franklin says: “The piggy bank flying from David Cameron’s chest
relates to the article on how small banks should do well this year.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “At first glance, we see political figures like Obama and Putin, references to the Rugby cup and the new Spider-Man movie. But a closer look reveals a plethora of disturbing elements.“

Daniel Franklin says: “This iIllustration relates to the article on Hollywood 2015. ‘Lights, Camera, Fraction’, focusing on the downward spiral of wages and superhero movies being very popular whilst implying it’s less important as to who is behind the mask – i.e. a cheaper actor/actress would be used as opposed to the Celebrity A class. (Page 124, UK version).”



There’s no comment on the Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Vigilant Citizen article.

Daniel Franklin says: “The New Abu Dhabi LOUVRE Museum set to open this year. Apparently, the painting in the cover illustration may be one of the debut masterpieces loaned for the opening exhibition of this venue. (See feature in the Books & Arts section.)



Vigilant Citizen says: “Standing in front of the dirt is Alice in Wonderland looking upwards towards the Cheshire Cat. This iconic cat is known for disappearing entirely, leaving only visible its creepy grin. We therefore see another allusion to a world of fantasy, illusion and deceit as perceived by Alice – a representative of the masses. Along with the somewhat unnecessary inclusion of David Blaine – a magician – the cover mixes real world events with illusions.”

Daniel Franklin says: “It’s the 150th Anniversary of Alice in Wonderland. No particular reason for this part of the story to be depicted other than it is recognisable as such. The pile of dirt is actually a pile of sand and relates to the article on Abu Dhabi museum.” (See above.)



Vigilant Citizen says: “There’s a pile of dirt on the ground and two arrows on which are inscribed 11.5 and 11.3. Are those dates to remember? Why are they next to a pile of dirt? If you look up these figures as coordinates, they point to somewhere in Nigeria. Displaying numbers that can only be truly understood by “those in the know” is one of the occult elite’s favorite hobbies.”

Daniel Franklin says: “The arrows are taken from the graphic illustrating the story of China’s economy “The numbers to watch” and are Chinese ‘targets’. As it happens, the numbers on the graphic were adjusted in the fact-checking process after the cover went to press.”



Vigilant Citizen did not mention the cricket ball in their article.

Daniel Franklin says: “We featured a white cricket ball because cricket world cup played with a white ball. There is the rugby world cup and the women’s football world cup all this year.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “Emerging from behind Obama’s leg is a ghost reading a magazine entitled “Holiday”. Why is this ghost, which represents a dead person, planning a vacation? Does it represent the fact that the masses will be so impoverished that the only time they’ll be on a holiday is when they’re dead? Does it relate to the countless people who died while traveling in the past months? Creepy.”

Daniel Franklin says: “This is all about predictive programming on your mobile/handheld devices. The phone could tell you when you are on holiday and support your lifestyle ~ helpful but at the same time arguably a little creepy, hence the ghoul image use.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “Standing in front of everything else, gazing right into our souls, is a turtle with emphasis lines around its shell. What does it represent? Will turtles make a huge comeback in 2015? Probably not.

An angry tortoise is the symbol of the Fabian Society, an extremely powerful organization that has been working for over a century towards to formation of a single world government.

The philosophy behind Fabian socialism is basically the blueprint of what we call today the New World Order.

The Fabian Society is a very old group, originating in England in 1884, with the purpose of forming a single, global socialist state. They get their name from the Roman general Fabius, who used carefully planned strategies to slowly wear down his enemies over a long period of time to obtain victory. “Fabian Socialism” uses incremental change over a long period of time to slowly transform a state as opposed to using violent revolution for change. It is essentially socialism by stealth. Their original emblem was a shield with a wolf in sheep’s clothing holding a flag with the letters F.S. Today the international symbol of the Fabian Society is a turtle.

The Fabian Society used to openly advocate a scientifically planned society and supported eugenics by way of sterilization. Its original logo was a wolf in sheep’s clothing … But I guess that was not the best way to conceal the wolf from the masses. The original logo of the Fabian Society was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Bringing forth a global system through small incremental changes is exactly what the world elite is currently doing. This is probably why there’s an angry tortoise on the cover of this Bilderberg-connected publication – standing in front of the chaos behind it.”

Daniel Franklin says: “Lonesome George” the famous turtle who died in 2012 is to be returned to the Galápagos Islands this year. The story on this appear in the ‘Events’ section.



Vigilant Citizen says: “A sumo wrestler holding a big battery on which the polarities (+ and -) are clearly indicated… Are they (The Economist) alluding to a switch in polarity in world power from the West to the East?”

Daniel Franklin says: “Japan’s biggest battery for storage has been produced – for excessive solar and wind power. (There’s an article on this in the ‘Asia’ section).”



Vigilant Citizen says: “A panda bear wearing a pair of China-flag Speedos while flexing its muscles is a rather clear way of portraying the fact that China is gaining power.”

Daniel Franklin says: “Represents Chinese Politics – ever more muscle.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “The presence of the Pied Piper on this 2015-themed cover is downright unsettling. The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a German legend about a man who used his magical flute to lure away the children of the city of Hamelin, never to be seen again.

The Pied Piper leads the children out of Hamelin. Illustration by Kate Greenaway for Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”
The Pied Piper leads the children out of Hamelin. Illustration from Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

This folkloric figure dating from the Middle-Ages is said to represent either massive death by plague or catastrophe, or a movement of massive immigration. It also perfectly represents today’s youth being ‘lured’ and mystified by the ‘music’ of mass media. Conveniently enough, there’s a small boy right under the Piper’s flute.”

Daniel Franklin says: “The illustration of the Pied Piper depicts the story where the rats are being eradicated from the Island of St Georgia. 20th Century Whalers set up bases on the Island and escaped rats caused chaos to it’s ecosystem. (‘Science’ section).”



Vigilant Citizen says: “Right under the Pied Piper, we see a young boy with dumbfounded look on his face. He is watching a game called ‘Panic’. The words “Federal Reserve” and “Chi” (which probably stands for China) are on top while the words “Green light!” and “sis!” (which probably stands for “Isis!” or “Crisis!”) are at the bottom. The little boy watches as this twisted game of Plinko unfolds the same way the clueless masses watch powerlessly while various events unfold on mass media.”

Daniel Franklin says: “This part of the illustration relates to the drone illustration with regards to the FSA. Both the little boy with the plane and the helicopter are from the illustration that accompanies the piece on drones (on page 60 of the magazine).”



Vigilant Citizen says: “As the name of the game states, the ultimate goal is to cause Panic around the world as crises are almost randomly generated by those who control the game. And that’s on a magazine cover owned by the Rothschilds.”

Daniel Franklin says: “Where might you find the financial crisis? EURO – FED RESERVE & CHINA. (Finance Section).”



Vigilant Citizen says: “In front of Putin is a small aircraft on which is written Crop-O-Dust. This refers to the concept of crop dusting, which is “the process of spraying crops with powdered insecticides or fungicides from an aircraft. Right under the helicopter is a kid… eating something. Unsettling. This kid is eating a heavily processed package of noodles. Is he ingesting the poison that was spread by the aircraft (above him in the illustration)?”

Daniel Franklin says: “There’s an article in the Chinese Section that reports on the growing fussiness of Chinese consumers. This image illustrates that article.”



Vigilant Citizen says: “…an Asian officer wearing a facemask to protect him from a deadly disease.”

Daniel Franklin says: “This illustrates an article on pollution that relates to the Paris, December meeting. http://”



Vigilant Citizen do not mention the LandRover – despite the fact that it appears to be driven by The Queen!!

Daniel Franklin says: “This illustrates an article that reports on the ceasing of production with the LandRover Defender.”

Jacqui Deevoy

Jacqui Deevoy

My love of fashion and music led me - several decades ago - into working for some of Britain’s top-selling magazines, specialising in news, reviews, fiction, features, astrology and quizzes.

These days, as a journalist, writer and editor I write a wide variety of features, frivolous and serious. I work mainly for women's magazines and national newspapers and also enjoy writing for independent news outlets and websites - the sort that publish stories the mainstream media fail to report.

Jacqui Deevoy


  1. You forgot to mention the woman to Obama’s right flashing the Illuminati symbol (triangle). Also, yes, the turtle is the symbol of Illumiati that’s why you see the “emphasis lines”, as you stated. They are really symbolic of “illumination”, “lit up” and yes, the crop dusting helicopter shows their plan not to let Asia overpower the world – they will decimate them through “poisoning” of their food – insecticides, etc. The drone that’s featured will be used to keep an eye on the contained population in the future and to drop supplies to them.

  2. The menacing two-faced globe is an allusion to the Roman two-faced god Janus which is also the name of an Elite mind control operation called the Janus Group. You could also say that the face stoically facing west where the sun sets, symbolically represents a time of “death; the face contemptuously facing east, where the sun rises, symbolizes life.

  3. The turtle, which is a reptile, is also a symbol of the true forces behind the Illuminati – the Reptilian ETs from the Draco star system. In addition, the key players positioned to set forth their agenda are in black and white; black and white being major symbolic colors for the Illuminati – the concept of duality, good vs evil.

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