Author: Robin Molinas
Applied in: Winter 2013
University Offers: Warwick, Durham, Bristol
My desire to study Economics stems from my wish to understand the balance between scarce financial resources and human needs. My work placement at the French television channel KTO last year caused me to realise that life, from an economic perspective, is about making the best decisions with limited resources. As Economics is the science of how people deal with scarcity, economic considerations are universal and are key to understanding how our society works and why humans behave in the way they do.
In terms of school studies, my main course is Mathematics combined with Further Maths. These courses have revealed to me how Mathematics can be used as a powerful tool in Economics. For example, learning about statistical methods has prepared me to support social theories with analysed sets of data, an important element of Quantitative Methods. I find mathematical rigor very appealing and am fascinated by the way in which mathematical functions can be used to rationalize behaviour such as consumer or firm expenditures. Economics also relates to other disciplines I study. In Geography, I have come to understand how globalisation has changed the global economy by redefining it with new rules. I have studied how the General Coffee Agreement collapse provoked by the WTO led countries such as Ethiopia to suffer from the coffee price fall but also how some countries such as Vietnam benefited from the more open market to become the second largest coffee producer within 25 years. Similarly, in History, my study of the US superpower was thought provoking. From the gold standard to the Bretton Woods system, I learned a lot about Macroeconomics, like the utility of money or how the inflation mechanism works. Applying theory to practice in the context of supervised coursework, I spent six months last year studying how the artificial retina could one day replace the natural retina when defective. Although this assignment related more to biology and physics, I dealt with the economic problems the start-up faced in developing its product and researched into Corporate Finance, giving me an insight into the main challenges faced by companies.
I seek to improve my understanding through independent reading, staying abreast of current economic issues through Le Monde and The Economist. Thierry de Montbrial’s Introduction to Economics has been a valuable source of information, particularly on the topic of recessions and depression. The book made me reflect that in spite of all the economic laws and knowledge we have, we are powerless to prevent crisis. Economics can never achieve the precision of a natural science, as its focus is unpredictable human behaviour. After attending a lecture from the former World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin, I realised how the causes of the 2008 crisis were open to debate. Lin argued that this crisis was caused by global imbalance rather than common theories such as the yuan undervaluation. Similarly, the different theories on how to exit a crisis, from interventionism to austerity, show how economics is a controversial science encouraging debate.
My coursework on the artificial retina has been very rewarding. By meeting deadlines, editing a film starring professors and engineers I interviewed and working by myself under tutor supervision, I learned how to work independently on a long-term project. In addition, as a soloist of the Paris Boys Choir, I’ve sung in front of 1000 people in venues such as The Olympia. This has taught me professionalism and discipline. Organizing the social life of the younger singers in national and international tours in France, the USA and South Korea has afforded me a great sense of responsibility.
I feel that my passion for debating social issues and my rigorous academic background have prepared me for the study of economics with mathematics at degree level and I am eager to embrace the intellectual challenges of this next stage of my education.