Personal Statement:Philosophy and Economics 1

Philosophy & Economics Personal Statement

Economics teaches the value of informed decisions in order to reach the best possible outcome. But what is the best possible outcome? I feel the study of philosophy can add depth, and complement the more exact conclusions reached in economics.

A subscription to the Economist, whilst browsing blogs such as Paul Krugman’s has kept me up to date with the latest current affairs. The recent growth experience by the BRIC nations has been well documented by the media; consequently, I have become particularly interested in the dynamic nature of modern economics, and the development of global economies. I used to believe in minimal government intervention but The Globalization Paradox by Rodrik made me realise that government and markets are not substitutes, they complement each other. This made me think about the current problem in Greece and how the Greek government has failed to support the economy effectively, contrast to this, the Brazilian economy seems strong at the moment largely down to good interventional policy from the state. I feel further bailouts of Greek debt are pointless unless underlying issues such as tax evasion, and the low retirement age are dealt with. It is through my degree that I hope to understand the conception, implementation and consequence of modern economic theory.

The use of mathematics in order to quantify and improve our understanding of economic issues has been a big factor in leading me towards this degree. I feel that mathematics can improve, and add elegance to a theory. For this reason I am eager to see how and where what I have learnt during A level mathematics can be applied in the further study of economics. Models such as the Lorenz curve or the Gini coefficient are testament to the importance of mathematical modelling when studying social issues, but having said all of this, I also feel quantitative conclusions alone are not sufficient in nature to solve or understand every phenomenon within the economy.

Last year a friend introduced me to philosophy, we would frequently discuss the philosophical ideas he was studying and these heated debates lead me to Plato’s Symposium. I enjoyed the way in which Socrates explores the concept of love, using unorthodox methods of abstraction and personification. Uncovering the true nature of things which are seldom though about in depth, is something I hope to engage in whilst on my degree course. For this reason, I found the problems of philosophy by Russell an interesting read, in particular, Russell’s scrutiny of perception, and the implications on our true knowledge of matter. Jonathan Wolff’s an Introduction to Political Philosophy introduced me to some more of Plato’s ideas in The Republic. I found it interesting how political thought has developed since the ancient Greeks, however, Plato’s criticism that democracy never yields the policy that collectively benefits society the most seems relevant today. This versatility and relevance to all manner of thought, attracts me to philosophy.

In my spare time, writing has helped develop my written analysis and ability to argue logically, skills I feel are essential for this degree. Most recently I placed runner up in the 2011 RCSU science essay challenge and for the Cambridge Economist competition, I wrote an essay exploring whether the price of water should reflect its market value. This caught my eye because of the ethical complications encountered when considering the price of something so essential to human wellbeing, thus giving me the opportunity to think philosophically about a prevalent world issue. An online course in economic reasoning through the Mises institute extended this application of philosophy.

Beyond my first degree, I would like to commit to further study or economic research. Career wise, journalism, the City, or working within the Government economics department all appeal to me. I feel that philosophy and economics will merge my academic and personal interests; and it is for this reason that I will be well suited to university study.

Universities Applied to:

  • UCL Philosophy & Economics - Offer AAA
  • LSE Philosophy & Economics - Offer AAA Firm
  • Sheffield Philosophy & Economics - Offer AAB Insurance
  • Bristol Philosophy & Economics - Rejection
  • Nottingham Philosophy & Economics - Offer AAA

Grades Achieved:

  • Art (AS) - B
  • Economics (A2) - A
  • Chemistry (A2) - A
  • Mathematics (A2) - A


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