Ben is an economics student at King's College London. He is passionate about sustainability, and using economics to make the world a better place.
Why did you choose to study economics?
I didn’t know anything about economics before I started studying it at A level, picking the subject at the last minute because the course I originally wanted to do was full. However, our class was taught by a truly inspirational teacher, and after just one week of lessons I was hooked and haven’t looked back since! I can’t think of another subject that encapsulates such a broad range of disciplines, from psychology to maths, science and business studies – and that is what makes studying economics so exciting!
How would you describe economics?
If you open an economics textbook it will say something like: ‘economics is the study of how we allocate scare resources in a world of infinite wants.’ Whilst on the surface that may sound bland and abstract, I think it captures perfectly that economics is a subject that has a role to play in tackling the world’s biggest challenges (from climate change to free trade), involves creative problem solving, and is hugely influential in everyone’s day to day life.
If you had a time machine and could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give them?
I started studying economics when I was 18, so I would tell 16-year-old me to start studying economics now – you are missing out!
What is your favourite part of economics?
I enjoy the practical applications of economic theory – particularly to unusual or atypical situations (my favourite economics book is Freakonomics for that reason). I think economists have an important role to play in addressing so many issues, from environmental sustainability to improving education and it is exciting to be involved in a field with such breadth of application and opportunity to be creative.
Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
Too many things to list here! I would like to have taken more risks and challenge traditional economic theory more often. As a student, I find a lot of traditional theory confusing, abstract and unuseful in a modern context, and am eager to find out more about alternative perspectives and challenge the “orthodoxy” if it can improve how economic decisions are made and lead to a better, fairer society.