Carlos Slim

We’ve got it all wrong, says Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms tycoon and world’s second-richest man: we should be working only three days a week.

Attending a business conference in Paraguay, Mr. Slim said it was time for a “radical overhaul” of people’s working lives. Instead of being able to retire at 50 or 60, he says, we should work until we are older – but take more time off as we do so.

“People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75, and just work three days a week – perhaps 11 hours a day,” he told the conference, according to Paraguay.com news agency.

“With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life. Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”

The 74-year-old self-made magnate believes that such a move would generate a healthier and more productive labour force, while tackling financial challenges linked to longevity.

He is putting his money where his mouth is. In his Telmex fixed-line phone company in Mexico, where workers on a collective labour contract who joined the company in their late teens are eligible to retire before they are 50, he has instituted a voluntary scheme allowing such workers to keep working, on full pay, but for only four days a week.

There is both less and more here than the FT headline suggests; less because what Slim suggest is really a wash: the dealer and player agree to a push; more because Slim is slyly dipping his toes into the Free Money pond.

Utah has ventured into like waters, and of course President Obama has outraged the hard-core capitalists with his subtle sidling toward the same.

In a more sane world Slim’s suggestion might already be de rigueur. Unfortunately we live in a world where nations wage war over whose imaginary supernatural entity is ‘best’; there’s hardly time for evolution and growth.

Perhaps in the Asta’s’ lifetimes, n’est-ce pas?

Rêves doux

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