Bloomberg News recently conducted a wide-ranging interview with Carlos Slim, chairman emeritus of América Móvil, who is Mexico’s richest individual.
Can you tell us about your plan for shorter workweeks?
Shorter workweeks are a solution to civilization shifts. Historically, the more technology advances and the more progress there is, people work less. What’s happening now is that people live longer, in better health, and without the need for physical effort. This civilization demands more knowledge, more experience, less physical exertion. Productivity has increased exponentially—despite the denial of some economists. And we see that’s why unemployment is a big problem in a lot of countries, but more specifically Europe. It’s important that people don’t retire at 50, 60, or 65 years old. I think people should retire later, because they’ll have more knowledge and experience. And I think they should work three days a week, so that it creates space for others.
This way, there will be less need for transportation. Nations wouldn’t have to face early retirements that are financially destabilizing. The quality of life and having four days a week free would encourage a lot of economic activities—more tourism, entertainment, sports, culture, and education. People can take advantage of those extra days to keep learning.
Would people earn less this way?
No, I think the companies that can take this on are those in which productivity has led to excess personnel. It’s a great change to exchange fewer days of work for more years until retirement. In fact, we started this in Telmex [América Móvil’s fixed-line unit] a couple of years ago. We’re offering people that have a lot of knowledge to stay longer and work fewer days.
To read the complete interview, click here.
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