As I was saying to Carlos…

…Slim (Hula – to give him his full title, no relation to Fat Boy).  The aforementioned gentleman was and has just returned to being the richest man in the world. He first held the title in 2010 and only relinquished his crown to a certain Mr Bill Gates when the value of his stock in his primary companies, Telmex and America Movil, dropped as a result of the Mexican government announcing new anti-trust telecom regulations.  Having made a surprise decision, (a ‘surprise’ to those who have not from modest beginnings made themselves numero uno in the rich list) to divest himself of many of his assets in order to comply with the regulations, Mr Slim saw the stock value of this company rise by 1.09% on Monday evening; a move that saw his own value rise to $78.5 billion, a mere $0.4 billion behind Bill.  That was Monday, the asset value has kept on rising throughout the week and if various publications are to be believed, he is now back on pole position.  The reason why he has come to prominence to a wider audience, (admit it, did you know who he was?) is that at a conference this week in Paraguay, he advocated a “radical overhaul” of peoples’ working lives. As the Financial Times reported, “With three days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life.”  Well said Carlos, I’m glad that you listened to what I advocated…. There is however a catch; in exchange for working fewer days a week, we should work longer hours (possibly 11) and instead of retiring at 50 or 60, workers should still be clocking in until the age of 70 or 75.  This has, as expected generated a furore of people squealing about it being easy for him to come up with something like that because as a billionaire he has any number of minions scrabbling in the dirt to carry out his bidding, (cue the theme tune to Citizen Smith).  People do though forget, that in order to qualify as a billionaire, you have to have acquired the billions in the first place.  In Carlos’s case this was through some enlightened and quite frankly, ballsy decisions over the preceding decades.  Jealousy is a terrible thing.  As regular readers of this blog will acknowledge, I am an enlightened soul…I have been clocking 11 hour days for some time, (continuing the musical theme, is that a tiny violin that I see you playing?); unfortunately I haven’t yet mastered the three day week and am not prepared to find out the effect on the company if I only put the welcome mat out less than 50% of the time.  Next time I’m speaking with him, I’ll suggest that he may have to do a rethink on the theory that whilst easily employed in a manufacturing behemoth, would send small, independent companies within the service industries to their grave.