Our Students

alexi polden


Why are you passionate about political economy?

I am passionate about political economy because it is a constant reminder that economics should work for people, not the other way around. Study in political economy taught me a great deal about the real effect that economics has on people.

What did you enjoy most about this major?

I enjoyed how diverse and critical political economy is as a discipline. I was not only pushed to question my own assumptions, but also to question the assumptions made by academics, and by those who espouse economic theories. There also wasn’t a pressure for students in political economy to justify our study as a mercenary step in a march towards employment—it is a discipline that values education for its own sake.

What advice would you give someone considering studying political economy?

Be yourself and don’t think that because your major (whether political economy or anything else) doesn’t have a clear career path it isn’t valuable. Education is important for its own sake, and often the ideas I learnt in my degree come to assist me in my daily life in ways I could never have imagined.

Lara Sonnenschein


Why are you passionate about Political Economy?

I’m passionate about political economy because it has introduced to me a wide range of economic theories and ideas, beyond that of which we hear in the mainstream. I find it particularly interesting comparing different theories of economics, as well as applying them to real life issues. In ECOP1001 (Economics as A Social Science) I wrote an essay comparing Neoclassical and Marxian political economy via the lens of the Australian housing market. I found this extremely interesting from both an academic perspective and a practical perspective too, as it got me thinking about ways we can (to some extent) alleviate the housing crisis.

What did you enjoy most about this major?

My favourite part about this major would have to be the questions that come out of it. So much of this discipline is about asking why and how questions. Rather than accepting things as they are, political economy challenges you to examine the present state of things and critique them from numerous nuanced perspectives.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by a strong Jewish social justice (tikkun olam) tradition, allowing me to engage in activist issues spanning LGBTI rights, refugee rights and the Palestinian solidarity movement along with others. This gives me a sense of purpose, and the knowledge I have gained from being involved in these movements has paired well with my academic studies, given the political nature of my two disciplines.

What advice would you give someone considering studying your discipline?

My advice would be to always have an open mind, and listen to what classmates are saying. Discussion is important in every discipline, but particularly in Political Economy given the nature of the content that is taught is all about questioning things and turning things on their head. Don’t accept things at face value! Another thing would be to talk to your tutors – email them or talk to them after tutorials if you have any issues or just general things you want to discuss. Everyone I’ve encountered so far within the department is always willing to talk and treat you like their equal, rather than a lecturer/listener, tutor/student power relationship. We all learn from each other.



Why did you choose to study political economy?

I’ve always been interested in history, politics and economics – the political economy major seemed to combine all three into one discipline. I wanted to better understand some of the world’s big issues – wealth inequality, globalisation, sustainable development and so on – from a perspective that considered both their social and economic aspects.

What did you enjoy most about this major?

I really enjoyed studying the history of economic thought in semester one. It was fascinating to learn about the great economic thinkers and their competing explanations of the capitalist economy. It was a wonderful introduction to the discipline and an excellent way to begin my degree.

What are you doing now and what is next for you? 

I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Arts with a political economy major, and am hoping to transfer into Combined Law at the end of 2017. I’m interested in human rights, environmental justice and international law, and hope to pursue a career in this area.

What advice would you give someone considering studying your discipline?

If you want to better understand economics, politics or society, then political economy is an excellent place to start. So many different issues and disciplines are incorporated into the major. I’ve learnt so much so quickly, and the units I’ve taken so far have all been immensely rewarding.



Why did you study political economy?

To develop an understanding of the theories and ideologies that have dictated the way we have understood markets, commerce and economies for centuries.

What internships or placement programs have you participated in?

I work part-time at Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers.

What advice would you give someone considering studying political economy?

At times I felt like I was studying outdated principles that have no practical relevance today. However all of a sudden everything clicked and I realised just how deep my understanding of economics had become and the advantages of that. Besides, I understand at least half of any given article in the Australian Financial Review now.