Rise of the Machines


The application of capital has seen fewer workers required to produce more physical goods than ever before.  This has released labour to work in the service and knowledge sectors of the economy.  Increasingly, machines are taking over large numbers of knowledge worker roles.

I think I may have dodged a bullet – at least in the short term.  The BBC has noted that around 35% could be subject to automation.  Actuary, economic and statistical  roles have just 15% chance of becoming automated.  Find out the extent your role might be taken over in the future by a robot at the following link:

Answering a phone is a job at greatest risk of automation, being a publican is the least at risk!

Economics Lytton Advisory Policy

A Civil Society


While working recently in Kuwait, I was privileged to be invited to a diwaniya ( along with colleagues from my project team.  This type of forum is fairly unique to Kuwait and it a key element of their civil society.

For around an hour we discussed industry policy with a number of leading lights from Kuwait’s business community.  I learned a lot from them.  The discussion took our project team beyond the numbers and statistics we were considering to just how the reforms might actually be implemented.  The exchanges were robust but expressed in good humour and with great politeness.

I think these kinds of gatherings are extremely important in shaping consensus.  Kuwait has hundreds of diwaniyas and candidates for public office often seek to turn up at as many as possible around election time.  In my view, it removes a lot of the adversarial nature that characterises public discourse in Western countries.  Where hard decisions are needed to effect significant change, a consensus based approach may deliver better outcomes than a crash or crash though approach.

Australia used to do evidence-based, consensus-driven public policy quite well.  It was grounded in clearly explaining the need for change.  I fear now that the people putting themselves forward for public office are increasingly driven more by populism and a startling touch of irrationality.