Carlos Slim : We should be working only 3 days a week


Lebanese -Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim
Lebanese -Mexican tycoon 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 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.

Mr Slim stunned the Mexican business world this month with plans to break up his América Móvil empire, selling about a fifth of its assets, in order to avoid regulatory sanctions. His companies dominate 80 per cent of the fixed-line and 70 per cent of the mobile markets in Mexico – above a new 50 per cent threshold.

The magnate is a keen strategist and philanthropist, who has often said what he likes to do best is to think. He has cultivated interests outside the corporate world: his passion for Rodin sculpture and art collecting is evident in the Soumaya museum in Mexico City dedicated to his late wife.

Another of his deep-held beliefs is that education should be rethought. He told the conference in Paraguay that it should “not be boring, but should be fun” and should teach people “not to memorise but to reason; not to domesticate but to train”. He also called for more vocational training.

Mr Slim, meanwhile, appears to have no plans to retire.

“Look at who he respects: the [Mexican] banker Manuel Espinosa Yglesias was something of a mentor, and he was still working in his late 80s,” said Andrew Paxman, a British historian who is writing a book about Mr Slim.

Financial Times



6 responses to “Carlos Slim : We should be working only 3 days a week”

  1. MekensehParty Avatar

    He’s right, a 3.5 days of work a week is a great formula not only for better living but also for job growth.
    It also makes perfect sense with the fast pace of modern work.
    Go Slim!!

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Yah .. but my foot wouldn’t do 11 hours. The next 3 days would be flat on my back with the foot up just to get to the next work-day. :-)) Slim is lucky if he doesn’t have a few creaks and groans going on at this age – even with the great lifestyle.
      The Unions know this sort of thinking, of course. These concepts have been around for a while. That’s why people are being programmed to hate them – and why the thoughts of Carlos are ‘amazing news’ – and I am sure looked at very nervously by ‘Big Business’ thinkers.
      I’ve said before, when there was first an idea that machines and robots could replace some of the death-dealing jobs we have, there would be time for all the things in life to better ourselves in the ‘life-experience’. It is not ‘work’ that we fear, and we actually need to do some to help keep health – mental and physical; but what we work AT that often puts us down.
      (I do not include the work of pulling triggers here … simply human endeavours for life)
      The ‘time of unionism’ was roughly from 1950 to 1980 – good times to be a worker in skilled trades by and large, because the babies boomed after wars and some machines took knowledge to operate or work with, and the Business Guys had to agree, largely, that they were making money with us knowing what to do. I assume Slim did too. Paying liveable wages plus a bit to enable good leisure or study-times actually created that ‘more wealth’ of the 1% and the 10% who aspire to having money they can’t possibly use in a lifetime.
      (My week was down to 35 hrs. – and I hated overtime. Seems the cement floors where not good for the foot-tendons however. Ah well. We have had good years anyway.)
      (The grand-children may never know ….)
      The Advertising against Unions ‘for the people’ has been very heavy since then.
      ‘Big Business’ got greedy. Carlos is not one of ‘them’ – he flies in their faces.
      Walmart family – the biggest pushers of cheap labour. And many liked that ‘Model’.
      And if you’re going to push for ‘more babies’ everywhere all the time, there needs to be ‘adjustments’. But putting 1000 Pakistanis into a jail to produce clothes at 20 cents an hour isn’t the way to promote humanity – or any kind of ‘Christian View’ into it – especially if that factory has NONE of the ‘Safe Working Conditions’ pushed for by Unions applied to it.
      Proof is in the pudding, as they say.
      See also … ‘Health Care’ … ‘Pension Plans’ … ‘Minimum Living Wage’ … that sort of thing. By 2014 we experience much of the Union Work removed by the sucking up of POLITICIANS to the ‘money-men’ who fatten their pockets with the adverts that tell people who to vote for – when they can catch a few minutes of ‘news-show-time’ before passing out from exhaustion after working 2 jobs in a day. Those doing 3 jobs simply have minds too numb to even watch – as their kids play ‘Fantasy-killer against the Monsters from Outer Space’.
      Slim is going to be a Target if he keeps saying these things.

      1. MekensehParty Avatar

        I know they make you like unions up north 🙂
        but 5th the real greedy ones nowadays are these union leaders and their impossible demands that are suffocating business. You think that unions protect workers, I ask why the most anti-union state (Texas) has created 25% of the newly created jobs in the past 5 years all over the US? Simply because even workers no longer want these unions knowing that labor laws in place are very fair and protect them, without having a union leader dictating on both owners and workers…
        But let’s not digress into that, the proposal is for shortening the working week and get more time off.
        A regular employee even though paid to work 40 hours a week is hardly giving 20 hours a week, and it’s not because he’s lazy in most cases but because there’s too much time and the things he’s supposed to do take 20 hours. Therefore you have good employees vegetating 20 hours a week in their office. They’re not happy, because the worse thing for an employee is to be stuck in the office with nothing to do, and those are not employees of a failing company, not at all, their companies are doing actually great but work processing have become so fast that all the tasks can be done in a fraction of the time it used to take 10-20 years ago.
        So here’s the problem, you have unhappy employees who are getting bored in the office and unhappy bosses who are paying 40 hours in salaries, office expenses (rent, AC/Heating, electricity, water…) for the comfort of the employees…
        Add to that that a good 50% of business worldwide nowadays can be done remotely and/or from home (so no need to even have offices)
        And here comes the theory of one of the greatest Capitalists in modern times (I know many don’t agree on having the word great and capitalist in the same sentence but hey screw you commies!!!)
        So Slim is saying let’s cut all this crap
        1- Work 25 to 30 hours a week, that’s plenty for you to do what I need you to do. Rest more, enjoy your life more and by doing so the entertainment sector gets a boom (more restaurants, parks, movie theaters…)
        2- As a business owner Slim saves on all the expenses he’s paying for you to do nothing (again not out of laziness) or doubles down on the investment that is the workplace by employing more people to work in the same workspace for the rest of the week ie: shifts of 3.5 days of work a week.
        The results
        Unemployment goes down = wealth grows
        Waste goes down = company wealth grows
        Leisure and quality of life goes up = happiness grows
        This is of course very simplistic, Slim has much more numbers and arguments to support his theory. I tend to believe that minds like Slim, Buffet, Gates… true models of how capitalism should be, are right most of the time, and if Slim says we should work 3-4 days a week I’m going to start applying that on myself and spend more time on YaLibnan hahahahah

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          🙂 Nice, Mekenseh … I won’t chase you from the ‘retired boys’ list … :-)))
          I prefer to think that ‘Unionism’ was ‘for the people’ .. and was needed. Especially in the ‘machine age’ when little thought was given to how fast body-parts could be lost in the damn things … or how long a human tendon could do a repetitive task vs an oiled bearing. 😉
          And yet, like Religions, or Gun-clubs, or dare I say Employers, there were some Union ‘Bosses’ who cared less for ‘the people’ than the ‘pocket change’ they got for being #1 and they enjoyed the ‘power’. We know of those.
          I would NOT have joined, for instance, The Teamsters. (High dues – little benefit.) (anyone find Hoffa yet? 😉
          Or one that backed a Communist party either.
          But what did you have there? You cannot compare the mentalities of ‘the people’ of, say for example, those capable of learning fine woodworking to those only able to load a boat. And thus the choices of ‘who’ could be the Union Boss were also vastly different – as were some of the demands.
          ‘The People’ are not equal … the idea was an equality of respect FOR the workers of the lands. The ones who’s labour goes into it.
          The machines have changed or been ‘outmoded’…. jobs are replaced by a chip. And yet, someone still has to push a button. Those with spatulate fingers may have easier tasks … and different body-malfunctions from sitting locked in chairs in bad positions for too long a time. If no-one has the guts as an individual to stand up, then a Representative SHOULD be.
          And if they are starving with low pay, or falling over from illness, someone must speak up IF they are valued as good to have around By ‘The Boss’ who can’t do it all him/her self.
          I was never against ‘Capitalism’ … Democracy either. 😉 The TWO were SUPPOSED to go hand-in-hand.
          These days, Government has made many ‘rules’ of labour-relations and workplaces to emulate what Unions began working to try to achieve. Representation OF ‘the people’. The huge question sometimes is ‘DID IT?’ There is a lot of ‘obviscation’ sometimes. (see ‘veteran benefits’ …)
          The next question is; ‘Who’s The Boss’?

          1. 5thDrawer Avatar

            By the way … when ‘they’ discover how to stir up a plastic to replace iron and steel – or other things we get from melting rocks – then the computers can replace all the jobs … but until then we still need miners and smelters … people who CAN work with their hands. There ARE viable ‘trades’ still.
            And when the world oil runs out in 53 years, where will computer-plastic be??
            (my first typewriter had metal keys … 😉

          2. MekensehParty Avatar

            I totally agree with you on the important role of unions and how they influenced labor laws. How they changed the mentality also of business owners from little less than slavers to respectful bosses. But just like your typewriter the idea today is obsolete and like anything obsolete that refuses to vanish it is creating problems. Yes, manual workers are needed but they don’t need a union anymore, they can protect themselves through strong laws (at least in the US).
            As for who’s the next boss? I tend to believe that the world economy is moving more and more to a shareholding system especially with more and more programs where the employee can buy share of the company he/she works for, becoming in a way his own boss or at least working for “himself”.
            Call me an optimist (besides when it comes to the Shia lololol) I think people are happier in the work place and with good capitalists like Slim there’s more happiness ahead.

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