There is something to be said for the quiet dignity of busting your back to work 50 or 60 hours in a week to put a roof over your family’s head. There is also something to be said for living life the Billy Ray Valentine way on a beach, with some champagne, a special lady, and a dope sweater.
Billionaire telecom mogul Carlos Slim is the world’s richest man, but he doesn’t have a get rich scheme that will help us live the good life, he just thinks that we should power down to enjoy some of the finer things in life.
Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecom tycoon worth over $80 billion, believes life would be better with a three-day work week.
“You should have more time for you during all of your life — not when you’re 65 and retired,” Slim told CNNMoney’s Christine Romans on Tuesday.
But if Slim had his way, people would also work longer days and much later in life. He suggested 11-hour shifts and pushing the retirement age to 75.
We’re living in a grand era of entitlement so it’s not like a lot of people are going to disagree with the idea that they deserve more time for themselves (and the internet, I assume) but how do we make up for those lost man-hours?
While “machines should work 24 hours and services should work as much as possible,” Slim said people deserve more time for entertainment, family and to train for better jobs.
As with all things, the devil is in the details. I’m sure Slim’s idea seems more feasible when it isn’t presented in a brief interview. That’s why I want to give him the benefit of the doubt when he talks about services working as much as possible. Does he mean service industry workers like waiters and housekeepers? If that’s the case then it seems like there are holes in this plan. Slim’s entire point seems to be that working less will allow people more time to innovate, think, and train for new types of work. But if you set it up so that service workers are kept in the ditch breaking their back while other workers are free to hone their skills and pursue greater opportunities, aren’t you essentially gluing service workers’ feet to the floor?
There are also questions about the economic impact of such a plan. Saying that the “machines should work 24 hours” is a vague way of addressing any worries about a fall-off in productivity and also profits. Which machines in which sectors?
Don’t get me wrong, for all the nay that I’m saying, I’d absolutely love to find a way for us to all have more time to read, socialize, and experience life, but I just don’t know how feasible it is and that’s the trouble with a lot of economic theories. They work in the abstract, but when you think about applying them to real life and you look at how they effect each individual person as their own delicate eco-system, the whole thing can unravel.