Politics and Economics Personal Statement
No subjects have gripped me in the way that economics and politics have done in the last twelve months.
For the first time in my academic life I feel I've had the opportunity to engage with the real world. My fascination with economics has come from having had the opportunity to learn about a subject that I first became aware of through the global economic crash in 2008.
I was struck by the effect on the families of my many Irish relatives as Ireland's Celtic Tiger economy suffered more than most. I saw first-hand how the crash affected lives when my own relatives were pushed into economic uncertainty and two of my cousins had to emigrate.
The part of economics I find most engaging is development economics and the link between economics and people.
I recently came across an article in 'Global Envision' which highlighted the problems that resulted from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank imposing neo-liberal economic policies on developing countries.
From it I became aware that trade liberalisation in African countries can undermine local industries and reductions in government spending can harm the welfare of the people.
After volunteering in Swaziland for a month in 2014 I saw a developing country with a unique political system - an absolute monarch - and a clear reliance on the primary sector, both of which present significant barriers to further development. I am involved in the group 'Rethink Economics' which attempts to demystify economics as a technical science and present it as a social science based around individual behaviour.
Politics is a huge interest of mine. I enjoy the New Statesman and The Economist as they offer alternative views on political and economic matters. I have been impressed by Laurie Penny's work in the New Statesman, especially her advocacy for feminism which I believe to be not only a social issue but a political one too.
One book that particularly ignited my enthusiasm was 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein. It was the first time I saw the link between the politics of past and present. I found myself questioning whether political norms were as they seemed and I wondered whether Westminster's reaction to the financial crash was a form of 'disaster capitalism.'
Could it have been that politicians used the fall in the economy to push a fiscally conservative agenda?
I came across John Stuart Mill when I read of his story in 'The Worldly Philosophers' by Robert Heilbroner. Interested in his work, I read 'Considerations of Representing Government,' and, fascinated by the concept of liberalism, I became involved in the Liberal Youth and consequently the Liberal Democrat Party. Getting involved at a local level I was able to expand my communication and logical thinking skills by attending regular meetings and conferences.
I stretched myself academically when I took on Further Maths as an AS level. It proved a challenge but one that gave me even greater confidence in mathematics. Last year I was awarded a gold certificate in the UKMT Maths Challenge and I look forward to using my mathematical skills in those parts of economics that demand an understanding of numbers.
I undertook the Extended Project Qualification earlier this year and explored the relationship between economics and religion, analysing whether faith can help or hinder economic performance. It proved to be interesting and demanded a high level of organisation and independence: qualities that will be important through my university education.
Over the last seven years, studies have been the primary focus of my life. Friends and various hobbies have helped bring balance and ballet has been a particular passion. In March I will complete my Grade 8 exam and that will be satisfying.Finally, at a time when economics and politics become ever more relevant to all of our lives I look forward to studying the combined course of both disciplines at university.