Time flies fast when you’re having fun! This week was probably my busiest week at the IEA. I have just finished my big project a couple of days ago and I am currently working on shorter articles for the IEA student think blog. I must admit the experience was hard work but very rewarding.
I ended up changing my topic of research on the weekend of week two and decided to move away from typical Brexit macroeconomic topics to something that receives less public attention but is becoming a very prominent problem in developed countries. I chose to explore the relationship between mental disorders and unemployment. One in five people from the age of 15-64 suffers from a clinical mental disorder.
Individuals with a mental illness are likely to be unemployed with the current unemployment rate at 30%. Forty percent of total disability benefits claims are on the ground of mental ill-health and surpassed musculoskeletal disorders. Mental disorders incur an annual cost of £105 billion to the UK economy and loss of total productivity accounts for £15.1 billion each year.
Although researchers and policymakers recognised this problematic trend, efficient programs and policies have not yet been developed in many OECD countries to address this issue adequately.
On Monday, the IEA held the final round of debates between most reputable universities in the UK. It was interesting to see the high level of expectations, knowledge, and skills development opportunities these university students are exposed to compared to my university at home.
The students were extremely well-prepared, well-spoken, strategic, and confident with their arguments. There were two very controversial debatable topics. The first debate was on whether the world economy is facing secular stagnation and the second was on the economic costs and benefits of Brexit.
Even though I am familiarised with these topics, I recognised there is more room for personal improvements after observing how well these students performed.
On Tuesday, we held a very exciting book launch- the Index of Economic Freedom 2017. During my undergraduate years, I have used data from the index various of times and now, I finally had the chance to meet the brilliant economists behind the project. Australia is placed fifth in the most “free” nations list.
Economic freedom is directly linked to prosperity, innovations, lower absolute poverty, and vibrant economic growth. Perhaps, the most surprising finding of all is that freer economies have better environment protection. Clean-energy use and energy efficiency over the past decades have occurred not as a result of government regulation, but rather as a result of advances in technology.
My final event of the week was a lecture with Dr. Andrew Berstein at the Adam Smith Institute. The topic was on Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs Under Capitalism, which originally was an essay. Dr. Andrew Berstein is an Ayn Rand specialist and philosophy professor.
He suggested the only way to end racism in the future is through the adoption of capitalism and individualism into our society. The lecture brought in heated moral and economic debates as this area of humanity is extremely complex.
On the weekend, I went back to Covent Garden market to look at handmade goods. These markets in my opinions are the best tourist attractions because they are like art galleries but much more lively and interactive.
And that is all for this week. I would like to send a big thank you to the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation for this incredible, life-changing, and educational experience. I cannot wait to share my experiences when I am home.
Writing from London with love,