Meet Kimberley Botwright
Meet Kimberley Botwright. Here at ECON+, we are very lucky to have the brightest and most capable young people as members but Kimberley is a real mensch. No doubt she will be enormously successful and inherently compassionate at what she does. Plus, she will laugh with you and make you laugh with her keen sense of humour. She is another example of an international mind with an international background. She is quite British, loves France, but actually was brought up in Switzerland. She likes to change locations every few years and recently she has been meandering around the world, visiting loved ones, figuring out what to do with her life. In fact, she would like to apparate (disappear from one place and wilfully appear in another). It would certainly cut travel costs. A phenomenal master of communicating thoughts and debating, she has an M.A. in European Affairs from Sciences Po Paris. Previously she studied English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford in the UK. Apparently, those two subjects are not as incompatible as one might first think. I will let thy be the judge of that.
There are two main things that make Kimberley passionate about ECON+. First, she loves what it stands for – providing a platform for young people to discuss economic questions that fundamentally matter to our day-to-day lives, (employment, education, taxes, etc). If you have nowhere to discuss something, you might still have a voice, but no one will hear it. Second, she likes the people that run this thing – an organisation is only as good as the people in it. Kimberley is particularly concerned by some of the root problems behind persistent youth unemployment in many developed (and some emerging) economies. For example, mis-matches between university curricula and skills demand, outdated labour laws, protectionist measures on qualifications etc. The same goes for rising inequality. In her thinking, “orthodox economists will tell you that some inequality makes for savings and efficient allocation of capital, but exactly how much inequality can society tolerate? Isn’t it quite perverse to even ask this question?Furthermore what happens when excessive inequality smashes the rungs off the meritocratic ladder – as Joseph Stiglitz puts it, ‘growing inequality is the flip side of…shrinking opportunity.’”
Kimberley on sustainability: “I’m bothered by this whole planetary boundaries thing. Ok, so you can argue that science doesn’t know everything yet. True. But think of it like this: the evidence we have now can tell us what direction we are moving in, and unfortunately, we don’t seem to be going the right way. Here’s the deal with carbon – it likes to stick around. When one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted this year, 60% of it will still be in the atmosphere in 20 years and 45% in 100 years, leading to a sticky, sweaty planet. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project estimates an average of over 55% of pension funds’ portfolios are being invested in high carbon assets of linked sectors. Furthermore, our growth models, food chains, lifestyles and more, are all intimately linked to greenhouse gas emitting processes. The planet can and will continue to support some of this – but not all. So we have to change, but the change we want must be coordinated internationally as well as nationally. And that part could be tricky.”
So one can see, Kimberley is and will be a game changer no doubt. And in her belief, in the short run, ECON+ should provide a platform for young people to connect and discuss pressing economic challenges, also with a view to making those voices heard at the policy level. Young voices are an important part of today’s and tomorrow’s landscapes; they deserve to be encouraged and heard. In the long run for Kimberley, ECON+ should think about how its members can reach out to their peers who might not have the tools to take an interest in economic challenges, either due to poor education resources or lack of interest. ECON+ can make economics accessible and sexy (ok, maybe not sexy, but a bit more interesting than a boring old textbook). ECON+ should also think about two further things. First, as young people it is our prerogative to push boundaries and question received wisdom. Second, we have grown up in an increasingly interconnected world. Therefore, as much as it is our prerogative to question everything, we should also try and create a platform that builds bridges between communities and seeks understanding between various mind sets. Here Here Kim.
Kimberley would love to be a morning person, because she says she has more productive days when she wakes up early. I think that makes her a night person, because she has been quite productive. Unfortunately, she is not productive when it comes to cinema. So she prefers to read books. Her favourites are Shantaram (David Gregory Roberts), Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseni), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkein), any poetry by W.B. Yeats, Girl Reading (Katie Ward), Little Women, (Louisa May Alcott). Let’s see who beats this list. She does have one or two movies that delight her: Les Intouchables and the Lion King. Hakuna Matata. Probably why she loves National Geographic and leopards. Outside of this planet, there might be some sort of insect type of life, according to her. She does not believe in ghosts but she does believe in evil and in the afterlife, so be nice. I’m sure she would be nice even if she didn’t believe in afterlife. Kimberley remains constantly amazed and inspired by people and the world around her (and depending upon how much tea she has drunk at any given point). Well, we are sure she will inspire a lot of people when you realize your dream job as Editor of The Economist or Editor of the National Geographic, or whatever you wish to do.