What planet does Larry Page live on?

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Google CEO Larry Page

Credit: Reuters

When I read the quotes attributed to Google CEO Larry Page, I thought perhaps they were taken out of context. But you can listen for yourself starting at minute 16 of the video, or skip to the excerpts below.

“I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance. … If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy—housing, security, opportunities for your kids … it's not that hard for us to provide those things," he said.

It’s not that hard? Of course Page doesn’t mean for himself, a billionaire, or any other individual, but rather that we as a society should find it not that hard to provide for the needs of everyone if only we … well, I don’t know what because he doesn’t explain; sprinkle each other with pixie dust, I would suppose. In the real world it has proven to be extraordinarily hard.

"The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I'm guessing less than 1% at the moment.”

His guess is better than mine in that I honestly don’t know what the 1% there is referring to – 1% of what? The current work output of humankind? … I do know that the assertion is made casually – as in how could anyone quibble? – and that it comes from a man in the top 1% of the top 1%.

“So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true.”

Maybe not everyone, but most everyone I know.

"You just reduce work time," Page said. "Most people, if I ask them, 'Would you like an extra week of vacation?' They raise their hands, 100% of the people. 'Two weeks vacation, or a four-day work week?' Everyone will raise their hand.”

My hand is up. I would also like for my children’s orthodontist to accept in payment my eternal gratitude.

 “Most people like working, but they'd also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the work week. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs."

Just reduce the work week. Simple. Now where is my robotic housekeeper?

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