VISITING: Andrew Charlton is an academic at the London School of Economics. He has worked for the UN, the OECD and the Reserve Bank of Australia.
VISITING: Andrew Charlton is an academic at the London School of Economics. He has worked for the UN, the OECD and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Adil Barzanji

Former Rudd adviser discusses robots taking your job

ROBOTICS, AI and automation are transforming the way we live, with many fearing a 'workless' future in which humans are the bit players and machines the employed. This will be the topic at the Ngara Institute's Politics in the Pub on Wednesday, August 22, with guest speaker economist Andrew Charlton.

Mr Charlton is a former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, economist at the London School of Economics and United Nations, and senior economic adviser to former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Mr Charlton will ponder what the future of human work will look like and what skills humans will need to succeed in a future increasingly dominated by machines.

The economist has experience in business, government and international institutions.

After commencing his career with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), he received a Doctorate and Masters in Economics from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes scholar.

From 2008-2010, through the period of the global financial crisis, he served as senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister of Australia and as Australia's senior government official to the G20 economic summits.

He was the Prime Minister's representative to conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF).

From 2010-2014 he worked for Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers, including two years in corporate strategy (M&A and major group projects) and two years in operational roles (divisional chief financial officer and general manager).

His academic research covering international economics, trade and development has been published in leading international journals including the American Economic Review, World Trade Review and World Economy.

He is the author of two books, Ozonomics (2007) and Fair Trade for All (2005), co-written with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

In 2011 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Mr Charlton was one of the few economists in Australia who foresaw the slowing in China's economy and the impact on commodity prices. In 2011 he questioned the mainstream consensus view that China could sustain double-digit economic growth rates and that Australia would benefit from a prolonged 'commodity supercycle'.

He publicly warned of the weaknesses in China's economic model and advised businesses to protect themselves from falling commodity prices.

In 2014 his Quarterly Essay (Dragon's Tail: The Lucky Country After the China Boom) forecast the subsequent fall in commodity prices, writing that the China "exhibits many of the characteristics of an emerging economy heading into a debt problem: a period of excessive investment; capital allocation sometimes influenced by political rather than commercial criteria; and heavy debt."

  • At the Court House Hotel, Mullumbimby, on Wednesday, August 22, from 6.30pm. $10. For bookings visit