I am an economics student currently finishing a masters degree in applied development economics at Witwatersrand. I care deeply about a number of social justice causes, and view economics as a central tool to help further many of these. This is because many ideas from dominant schools of thought in economics form the backbone of hegemonic ideologies promoting devastating neoliberal policies. This link between academic economics and neoliberal policy is nuanced and complex, and there are many mainstream economic ideas which promote either less radical variants of neoliberalism, or even a shift to other variants of capitalism more constrained by both state and social forces. Nevertheless I view both understanding and countering these links as an important component of larger social justice movements.
I have volunteered as an executive member for a number of student organization, at Witwatersrand, including Inala (a food sovereignty and climate justice student forum), and Rethinking Economics for Africa. I have also done some volunteer work for the Institute for Economic Justice.
The central issues that concern me are the need for large scale poverty reduction and the need to limit ecological damage as much as possible. This requires a massive reduction in inequality; though these issues are also intricately connected to many other forms of social oppression.