Fatihah Almira is currently studying Economics and Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick. Fatihah completed her A-Levels at KYUEM and is graduating in 2022. This personal statement was part of her successful application to the University of Warwick, UCL (Economics), LSE (Economics) and St. Andrews (Economics).
I want to live in a world that is inclusive, sustainable, and equitable; one disallowing numerical indication of growth to supersede the demands of societal and environmental welfare. To achieve these goals, an understanding of economics is not merely crucial, but indispensable.
My drive for Economics – specifically, how it is shaped, conducted, and its impacts on society and the environment – developed quite gradually. Growing up, I was inclined to believe that individuals bear the main responsibility for the environment. However, a ‘Scientific American’ interview with Paul Ehrlich led me to realize that, while crucial, individual action was limited and that most practices detrimental to Earth are committed by large industrial corporations. It changed the way I view contemporary global issues, like inequality and environmental degradation, not as problems occurring in isolation, but rather systemic issues demanding the re-examination of the economic systems that allowed these problems to grow to the scale they have in the first place. Ehrlich went on to say that “we can’t change the physics of climate and the laws of nature, but we can change our social and economic systems,” and I agree.
I was also intrigued by Muhammad Yunus’ argument in his book ‘A World of Three Zeros’, in which he called for a revision of the conventional characterisation of human beings as Homo Economicus; inherently selfish and seeking only maximum individual utility. Instead, mankind should be viewed as possessing both selfish and selfless motivation that contributes towards their decision making. I was drawn towards how impactful this shift in perception can be to the way we shape our economy, despite its simplicity. For example, firms would no longer be limited to a narrow purpose of profit-maximising, but rather play a more active role in addressing global crises. This idea also made me wonder if there are other aspects of our economy we have taken to be factual, when in reality they are assumptions that demand reconsideration. I began to see economics not as a rigid study of market interaction, but rather as a field that is constantly evolving to meet the circumstances of the time.
In preparation for reading this course, I chose Further Mathematics as one of my subjects, and I managed to adapt to a steep learning curve that was required of me in order to complete all Mathematics modules in a single year. I believe that this mathematical aptitude will be of use, particularly in the statistical and analytical aspects of this course. Learning History enabled me to appreciate the intersection between economics and historical events; it is more than just factual knowledge of the past but rather contextual analysis. For example, modules like ‘The Rise of Hitler’ exemplify the larger impacts of economic crises – the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression that followed contributed greatly to the growth of Nazi support.
Believing that learning transcends pages and classrooms, I served in leadership positions including Co-Director for ‘KYUEM Kaigi’, a student-led academic conference in my college. I created a detailed list of tasks for each committee and synced it with a timeline leading up to the event. This was important to ensure that the planning and execution of the conference ran smoothly. I also took part in parliamentary-style debate competitions, and this has pushed me to think critically in order to present effective arguments that are logical and nuanced.
I believe that the future will demand us to look at economics in a more flexible and intersectional viewpoint – especially in how we allocate resources, shape human livelihood and build sustainable living spaces. With the knowledge and expertise gained from this degree, I hope to contribute towards building this positive future, in the best, most impactful way I can.
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