Archive for the 'Poverty' Category

When Economics Meets Poetry…

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 by Anh

From assessing entries to the Economics Network Student Challenge 2011, we have found out that economists are very talented people. They create music, write poems and draw cartoons. More importantly, they can use the power of words to address the most worrying problems in the world, such as hunger and poverty. This is what our runner-up Anu Omotunde-Young (Lancaster University) did this year. Below is her poem about her home country Nigeria with explanation of why studying Economics can help solve all problems there.


Her wrinkled, tired face turned to me:

No Roads; No Light

Where is the light at the end of the road?

No Income; No Food

Who am I to want food when my family starves from having no income?

No Hospitals; No Safety

When will it be safe enough to survive in our hospitals?

No Water; No Strength

Do I not need strength to lug water home from the town well?

No Education; No Future

What will the future of my offspring be when I leave them with no basic education?

No Leadership; No Inspiration

How can my children be inspired with no one to genuinely lead?

No Home; No Consideration

Why should I consider the consequences of my actions when I was left with no home?


How can you care? What can you do?

You are only one out of a 150 million others.

I can start by caring enough to want change,

I can start by admitting we have a major problem,

I can start by learning the accumulation and maintenance of wealth.


For you, I learn about sustainable development.

For you, I learn the difference between money and wealth.

For you, I learn how I can generate income and growth using our very own resources.

For you, I learn the components needed for a free market,

For you, I learn about Public Goods and can tell you that you deserve access to healthcare, education, water and shelter.

For you, I stay up all night reading and applying the mechanisms that help boost Investment and Savings.

With this, I propose economic growth that will take you a step further towards that essential job you want.

For us, I do a degree that gives me the skill and passion to make our motherland prosperous.

For us, I work towards being the change we need

In a country filled with abundant natural, human, physical and mental resources such as Nigeria, extreme poverty still outweighs the abundance of wealth. Poverty as mentioned does not occur mainly from the lack of resources but from the unequal share of wealth amongst citizens of a proud nation like Nigeria. The wrinkled, tired woman mentioned in the poem represents the average mother in Nigeria who has no choice but to be strong and extremely hardworking to put food on the table and keep a roof over her family’s heads. Nigeria is the 5th largest oil-producing country in the world and yet over 50% of its inhabitants lack basic water supply, affordable and efficient health services, roads, education and many other basic goods. Nigeria’s economic failure to develop is primarily attributed to its domestic market imperfections, economic inefficiencies, and social rigidities. Political corruption, a parasite social and bureaucratic structure, and the failure to make appropriate Investment in education, agriculture and other prerequisites for economic development restrain the nation.

As a Nigerian student lucky to be born in an averagely comfortable home, I was only made aware of the seriousness of Nigeria’s economic imperfections when as a teen my Father took me to a less developed area in the business capital city of Lagos [areas normally termed the Ghetto] called Ajegunle, and was shocked at the living conditions imposed on the less privileged. This made me aware that life was not all rosy and thus from that moment on, I made a pledge to myself and my fellow countrymen- to do my bit as a citizen of the country to help fully develop the country to a favourable standard. At this time, I was just about to enrol into the upper Secondary School level where I had made plans to take subjects that were intended for a career in creative writing or journalism, however after that experience, I started to read on politics and economics and thus found I had a higher interest in these topics; this made me take these subjects at school and ever since it has been my focus of study till now, and will definitely be for the next few years. The first half of the poem in literary terms depicts the thoughts and fears experienced by the average Nigerian parent on the future of their offspring; the second part is a form of revelation that shows that change can come from the littlest of things, meaning change happens not by thoughts alone but by actions; the third part of the poem substantiates this and shows how in my own way, I am working towards making that change.

CEP 21st Birthday Lecture: Restoring Growth

Thursday, November 25th, 2010 by Anh

Recently, the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) celebrated its 21st Birthday by holding a series of lectures at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, gave the first lecture on the state of the world economy. Last Tuesday, the second lecture of the series was given by Professor John Van Reenen on the topic of restoring economic growth.

The Economics Network received an invitation to attend both lectures, and as a new guy on the job, I was appointed to go. However, being a second year student with a very busy schedule means I could only attend one of the lectures. Since I was doing economic growth as part of my macro course, I decided to go to the latter lecture.

I arrived in London quite late, but managed to quickly find my way to the lecture theatre in the LSE’s Old Building where the talk was held. The CEP has reserved a front row seat for me, so not only did I have the best view; I also managed to take many photos. There was a brief introduction of John Van Reenen by Stuart Corbridge before the lecture started.

John divided the lecture into three sections: (more…)

You are best served by serving your self- The life and times of Adam Smith.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 by ryan
Image by K R Ranjith (flickr)

Image copyright of K R Ranjith (flickr)

One of Economics’ strongest exports was the economist Adam Smith.

In his book “The Wealth of Nations” Smith made the seemingly paradoxical claim that if people follow their own self interest, this will have the remarkable effect of increasing the overall benefit to society. This seemingly simple principle unfortunately took Adam Smith 1,260 pages to say. (Unfortunately very few economists have ever learnt the art of being concise.)

Adam Smith has become synonymous with free market economics. However, people often forget this Scottish intellectual
was primarily a professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University.

At any rate this contradictory yet accurate argument about the free market remains the centre of all major debates in economics.

Is unbridled free-market Capitalism really the best economic system?

Even the most ardent free market economist cannot ignore the fact capitalism creates inequality and if you just look around this inequality is painfully evident. Thus many economists came along to challenge the free market ideologies of Adam Smith.

This takes us to our next great economist- Karl Marx

The Power of Little Loans

Friday, September 19th, 2008 by miriam

While loans to poorer people are at the root of a financial crisis here in the West, Tina Goodman, a Masters student in International Economics and Finance at the University of Queensland, Australia, is seeing how loans to the poor in West Bengal are helping people out of poverty.

West Bengal is an eastern state in India with a population of around 82 million, the fourth most populated state in the eastern region of India. Tina is finding out about microfinance and the effects it has on individuals and communities. She is also looking at development issues within India and successful policies that have been advocated by economists.

While in India, Tina has been filming her discoveries and experiences. You will be able to view this film on this site when she returns in December; meanwhile, you can follow her journey through her blog.

Mohammad Yunus is a great believer of microfinance and its strengths. In 2006 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Grameen Bank due to his pioneering ideas. He was the founder of the Bank which has ‘reversed the conventional banking system by removing the need for collateral and creating a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity.’ (Grameen Bank)

For further reading see the Nobel Peace Prize 2006

The effects and causes of rising food prices

Monday, April 28th, 2008 by econ-network

With food prices very much in the news, and price rises causing unrest in vulnerable countries, provides a couple of interactive guides: “The Global Food Crisis” gives an overview in the form of clickable maps, and “Why are food prices rising?” explains some of the contributing factors with video clips.

The World’s silver lining

Friday, January 25th, 2008 by econ-network

The Economist is running a feature article on how the world is, gradually and unevenly, becoming more prosperous and peaceful. Yes, wars and genocides are happening right now. Yes, huge numbers live in extreme poverty and millions of children die each year from preventable disease. However, the figures brought together in this article show that, while those things are horrible, far fewer people are experiencing them than in previous decades. Public health, birth control, immigration and Middle East conflict are among the issues touched on.