Meet ECOPsoc's new President

By Nena Serafimovska

13 March, 2018

Kimberley Yoo talks about the biggest social and political challenges facing young people in Australia today, and leaving her mark on the long and rich history of Political Economy at The University of Sydney.

What can you tell us about the Political Economy Society?

The Political Economy Society (ECOPsoc) is a student-led society for the department of Political Economy. Running both autonomously and with the department, we promote an assortment of events from casual weekly drinks to the annual Wheelwright lecture. ECOPsoc values meaningful discussion around all things political-economic, with a big focus on pluralism in thought. To that end, and to answer a common question of new students, we have no formal political affiliation. ECOPsoc is a space to break down and question barriers, rather than build them up.


Why did you want the role of President?

Being President of ECOPsoc means putting a mark on the long and rich history of Political Economy at USYD. It was an easy decision, given my appreciation for the discipline and the other executives who nominated – being part of such a wonderful team was an opportunity I had to apply for. The role of President is just a formal stamp on stuff I already did, like promote ECOP events, but it now puts me in the position to organize new initiatives!


What are the society’s plans for 2018 and what are you most excited about achieving?

Although it cannot be manifest in a single ‘event’, one goal of ECOPsoc is to break down the potentially rigid distinction between ‘years’, and between undergraduate and postgraduate students. It’s a norm carried over from secondary education, but this credentialism can hinder open discussion and cause some anxiety around meeting new people. Our events reflect a commitment to pluralism, and it should be stressed that our events are open to everyone!

Much like last year, we’re continuing weekly drinks and post-‘Progress in Political Economy (PPE) Seminar’ drinks. We also have several themed events (e.g. International Development, Eco-Marxist), which are currently in the works. I’m personally very excited to kick off new student-submissions on the PPE blog, ‘Unconventional Wisdom’. There, students can submit essays, manuscripts or other writing to be published online.


What are the biggest social and political challenges faced by young people in Australia today?

Through a very brief brainstorm I’ve come up with: housing affordability, stagnating wages, precarity and casualization of paid labor, ‘education inflation’, climate change, LGBTQI+ rights, politicization of immigration, widening social inequality, and the patrimonial accumulation of capital.

That being said, I think one space of interest is the role of the internet in socio-political organization. It is easy to find an echo-chamber online, where ideas are validated rather than examined. Does this hinder or help activism and discourse? The answer will only get more complicated as time goes on.


Who are your favorite political economists?

Josef Schumpeter, John M. Keynes, Hyman Minsky, and Basil Moore. If we extended the definition of political economists, I’d also have to include a sizable portion of French Marxist philosophy.


If you had to describe Australia’s political/social climate to a foreigner using TV shows and/or movies as examples what would you include and why?

Game of Thrones but set up like Groundhog Day, where every main character is a version of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, just in business attire. I am sure that is self-explanatory.

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