Corporations Are People, Too

S1: Made your own maple syrup.

S3: My own syrup. Yeah. So there you go.

S1: My favorite factoid about maple syrup is the grade B is better than grade A. It’s like it’s upside down from like what you would expect. But maple syrup dates back to when refined sugar was extremely expensive and you would use maple syrup instead. And they would grade syrup according to how like tasteless and refined it was. And so great is like the very clear sugar substitute, while grade B is like the beautiful, dark, tasty kind of syrup that we love. But then those grades just stayed. And so if you go into a supermarket and you see, like, great people often just grab the gravy because they think that’s the best. In fact, the lower the grade, the more MAPLEY it is.

S3: But this guy also said that maple syrup sales were crazy in 2020. And his theory was that more men are trying to help out at home during covid and they only know how to make a limited number of items on the menu, which includes waffles, therefore increasing demand for maple syrup, which I don’t know if that’s true. I think more people are just home making breakfast and that increased demand. But I liked his theory a lot.

S2: It’s very Canadian. No.

S1: Did you know that Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve? Yes, of course it does. I don’t know what that means exactly. But what that means is that if just as we have we have a year of unusually low maple syrup production, then Canada can tap its maple syrup reserve to help make up for that.

S3: That might come in handy now, according to my reporting.

S1: So there you go. Great. We have we might not have solved the housing bubble, but we have solved the maple syrup shortage. Canada, come to the rescue. We need you. Justin Trudeau.

S1: Thank you very much, Yinka for coming on Slate Money this week. Thank you all for listening. Thank you to Jasmine Molly for producing. 


PLUS:

We have a Slate Plus coming up about childcare and whether it counts as infrastructure. We seem to be in a weird world right now where people are going back and forth on what even is infrastructure. So Emily, are you going to give me I want you to give me will you give me the case for child care being infrastructure?

S3: Yeah, sure. So I don’t think it’s very hard or complicated to understand. And a lot of feminist economists have understood it for decades. But without childcare, you can’t have an economy like as a parent, I think you intuitively understand that you need somewhere to put your kid so that you can do the productive work. So in that respect, it’s infrastructure like you need a bridge, like you need a train, you need childcare to get to work. And then besides that, I think I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have been saying quality childcare, good child care infrastructure raises the productivity of the country, of the economy because quality child care produces more productive citizens, children, better education, especially zero to five, which is under invested. And now in the U.S., if you put the money into it, if you invest in it, you get returns to lots of different areas, like better kids with better jobs who are more productive parents are able to be more productive if they can offset some of their child care labor, you know, if they can outsource it. And then, you know, there’s more innovation, blah, blah, blah. There’s all this productivity.

S1: So I buy that child care is good for the economy. I buy that it helps the economy in multiple ways. Where I have questions is whether it’s infrastructure as opposed to just, you know, investment. The things that I get caught up on is that it’s a very recurring expense. It’s not an electric grid or a road or a highway or a broadband piece of infrastructure that you build and then it’s built and then everyone can use. It is something that doesn’t scale and it’s something that you have to keep on reinventing more or less from scratch every single day. You can’t just say, oh, I’ve managed to create this child care for my child. And so it seems like an ongoing expense rather than a one off investment.

S3: I don’t understand that, though, because if you build a bridge or a highway or an electric grid, you have to pay to maintain it. You can’t you don’t just build it.

S1: But the cost the cost of maintaining is much lower than the cost of construction. And the idea behind infrastructure investment is you’re paying an upfront cost of construction and then the ongoing cost of maintenance is much lower.

S3: I don’t know. I’ve read a lot of definitions of infrastructure in the past few weeks and I feel like, so what? So the cost is more spread out and ongoing. I don’t think that makes it not infrastructure because it is I think the public good piece of it and the productivity increase of it and the fact that it can’t. But if it’s kept private, the economy kind of crumbles, I think is the more important piece of the definition.

S1: And ultimately, the definition is not that important. Right? Well, what’s important is the effect it has. But we’re going to we’re going to go to for this for the casting vote on this one is child care infrastructure

S2: for this way. The number one thing on my mind coming out of this is child care. It’s the most important thing for well, for parents, obviously. What’s in terms of the way that we think about how to get back to not any sort of normal life definitions of I don’t know. I mean, you could a win. I think anything puts it this way. In fact, I’m almost contradicting myself to say otherwise, because I said earlier I talked earlier about systemic infrastructure. Right. I like anything that where the system doesn’t work unless you put something in place is infrastructure. This is the same thing about about broadband or all these other things that we’re now debating. It’s about systems. And if the systems aren’t working, nothing works.

S1: I will take that as a casting vote for Emily. Emily wins, but let it be resolved in this leaflet that childcare is infrastructure, even though I might have qualms about that.

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