As an individual, I am shaped by my life experiences; everything I have been through shapes me into what I am today. In that way, I have been forged from struggle and discomfort; growing up in Sierra Leone (a small country in West Africa), my childhood was filled with conflict and corruption - ever since the Civil War which broke out in the 1990s, one borne of socioeconomic issues that left almost all of us beggars, and government corruption which ensured that no one was listening to our problems, the people of my country were (and continue to be) destitute, desperate and in need of help. Because of this extreme poverty brought on by an uncaring government and lack of resources, many of my people have been split into militias and small military groups; one of these, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), started the civil war of the 1990s with an army of child soldiers and brutal methods of torture and coercion to get what they wanted.
When I speak of social and economic issues, I refer to a very specific and widespread set of conditions that come about from many factors, leading to poverty, inequality, and unhappiness for great swaths of a country's population. Three major factors can lead to these issues, including economic instability, political corruptions, and social inequality. With economic instability, a nation does not have the means to sustain itself, or balance its budgets - this leads to hoarding of wealth, overspending, owing debts, and overuse of resources. Nations with economic instability do not work as hard as they can to inspire economic growth, which then leads to poor economic development; the people of a nation cannot make their own way, or feed their families. This leads to incredible poverty and desperation. Secondly, political corruption can exacerbate these problems to ensure that many groups do not get what they need. Government officials and those with vested interests and close relationships with them can be subject to patronage and graft; this was most certainly the case in my country. People can pay each other to get what they want, leaders are picked based on factors other than what the people want, and these individuals benefit from privileged information and opportunities that leave them with all of the wealth and power. This leaves none for the common person, and contributes further to economic instability. Finally, social inequality comes when people of different classes, races, etc. are not given the same financial, social, or education opportunities as others. All of these factors interact in order to create a system of inequality that leaves people disenfranchised, without hope or means of bettering themselves. This brings about incredible pressure in people's lives, leading them to turn to crime or military revolution - it has happened in many countries throughout history, with the United States being no exception.
Given the assumption that social injustices should be fought, no matter what, the question then turns to the manner in which the social injustice is combated. When injustice is institutionalized and completely pervasive within a culture, what is the best and most practical way to fight it? It is believed by many that violence is the most dramatic and practical solution to a problem - often, when words fail, and ideology refuses to change, the only resource considered is to demonstrate a physical threat to those who stand in the way of social justice. Is this a morally or ethically sound way to get what is desired from society? When a social injustice is found, action must be taken against it; this can either be done through simple lack of acknowledgement or participation in the wrongful government, or active civil disobedience in order to force a change. While action must be taken, that action must never be violent; violence is often the tool by which the aforementioned social injustices are exercised, and to meet violence with violence would make the social activist no better than the oppressor. When something is wrong, it must be righted; not only that, but activists must take the high road in fighting these injustices.
Social injustices are foremost on my mind; I cannot shake the violence and strife of my childhood, and though I have been lucky enough to find better opportunities for myself, there are many who are not so lucky. They should not be punished for the hand they have been dealt; therefore, my own professional goals include becoming an advocate for these less fortunate victims of social and economic inequalities. These victims include all those who have suffered because of selfish, greedy and opportunistic actions taken by those in power; solutions must be found for these rampant gaps in income, social equality, and economic stability. It is for these reasons that I wish to involve myself heavily in the social sciences, with a particular emphasis on economics. I believe that, once a country achieves economic stability and maintains it, it is possible for all the rest of these changes to come - without resources, there is nothing to pass around and alleviate the problems of the people. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to gain a higher education, so that I can benefit from the knowledge and skills I can acquire to help others. With the help of this education, I hope to contribute to new economic systems and theories which can help to create a more equitable world - which can allow all economies to grow. It is my firm belief that poverty is something that no one should experience; with the vast resources and opportunities of today, there is no reason why these injustices should continue to happen. There is more than enough on this earth for everyone; my hope is to find a way to bring more to those who have less.