Mexico’s Carlos Slim is yet another billionaire to say working less would help people relax and enjoy life more.

Carlos Slim Helu

Carlos Slim says people should only work three days per week

Carlos Slim, a self-made billionaire who built his wealth primarily in Mexican telecom industry, says people should only work three days per week, but put in 11 hours per day and work longer. (According to various studies, the US work week is nine to ten hours long, depending on the study one reads.)

Rather than retiring at 50 or 60, the world’s second-wealthiest man says workers might be required to work into their 70s, however.

Speaking at a business conference in Paraguay and quoted in press reports, Carlos Slim stated the obvious. “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” he elucidated on the topic. ”Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”

Carlos Slim is known to be following his own advice. At 74, Slim still takes an active role in his company’s management but, like many billionaires, is said to have a “healthy” work – life balance.  Slim says working only three days per week, but working longer, would generate a healthier and more productive labor force but would also address a little discussed issue of people living longer and having the ability to afford such life extensions.

“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 said in a conference presentation.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin on the capitalist system

ValueWalk previously reported about Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) founders and billionaires Larry Page and Sergey Brin musing that people don’t need to work as hard to provide a good living for themselves, despite the fact that real earnings for working and middle class families have been dropping and the very nature of a capitalist system is to produce goods and services at the lowest cost.  The pair mused about a day people will be able to work part-time in a robot filled future while maintaining a Utopian lifestyle.

“If you really think about the things you need to make yourself happy — housing, security, opportunity for your kids … it’s not that hard for us to provide those things,” Page said. “The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is not true.”

While this may be true for the one percent who own successful companies or hold the majority of assets, people in the working world are struggling even harder as technology has expanded the workforce to enable competition from around the world. Nonetheless Page said the world should be living in a “time of abundance” in which robots and machines could help meet everyone’s basic needs much more easily.

Unlike Page, however, Slim at least makes decisions that would back his worker friendly talk. In Carlos Slim’s Telmex L Spons. ADR/20 (FRA:TMX) (OTCMKTS:TMLSF) fixed-line phone company in Mexico, workers who started with 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.

That’s close to matching his worker utopia rhetoric in deed, but not exactly reality. Note how company management giving anything of value away to employees and providing them time to relax at the expense of corporate profits isn’t likely to occur.