Tuesday 6 August 2013

You have two cows...

Do you know the old “You have two cows” economics joke? The one that is on the net in various forms, such as:

A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT:  You have two cows.  You keep one and give one to your neighbour.
A SOCIALIST:  You have two cows.  The government takes one and gives it to your neighbour.
A COMMUNIST:  You have two cows.  The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
A FASCIST:  You have two cows.  The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.
DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:  You have two cows.  The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.
CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE:  You have two cows.  You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.
BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:  You have two cows.  The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain.
AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.  You are surprised when the cow drops dead.
A FRENCH CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You go on strike because you want three cows.
A JAPANESE CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.
A GERMAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.
A BRITISH CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  They are mad.  They die. Pass the shepherd's pie, please.
AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You break for lunch.
A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.  You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.
A SWISS CORPORATION:  You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.
A BRAZILIAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You enter into a partnership with an American corporation.  Soon you have 1000 cows and the American corporation declares bankruptcy.
AN INDIAN CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You worship both of them.
A CHINESE CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported on them.
AN ISRAELI CORPORATION:  There are these two Jewish cows, right?  They open a milk factory, an ice cream store, and then sell the movie rights. They send their calves to Harvard to become doctors. So, who needs people?
AN ARKANSAS CORPORATION:  You have two cows.  That one on the left is kinda cute.

Anyway, I thought it was time it was updated and expanded a little. So here are Purkayastha’s Rules of Two-Cownomics:

Zionism: You have two cows. You send them to graze in your neighbour’s field. You then claim that God gave you the field and that the proof is that your cows are grazing there. When your neighbour protests, you shoot him dead and drive away his wife and children, building a wall to ensure they can never return. Washington then pays you a billion dollars and guarantees your security.

British Imperialism: You have two cows. The British come and kill both. They then force you to grow fodder on your fields instead of food for yourself, and to turn over all this fodder to them. They take the fodder home, feed it to their cows, and sell you the milk at gunpoint. If you refuse to buy it, they hang you.

Hindunazism: You have two cows. You check to see if your neighbour is Muslim. If he is, you start a riot against Muslims, saying that by eating beef they are destroying the nation’s cattle wealth. When he’s safely dead, you send your cows into the streets to forage in garbage dumps.

Jihadism: You have captured two cows. You decide they are pro-Assad cows, and behead both.

The Taliban: You have two cows. You make both wear full-coverage burqas and stay indoors all the time. If they butt you, you take them to the football stadium and shoot them.

Indian Economics: You have two cows. The government allows a foreign company to open a 10000-cow factory farm on your land, which it expropriates from you at little to no compensation. You have to sell your cows in order to find money to eat. The Prime Minister makes a statement saying that foreign investment is essential for economic growth. The Muddle Class goes and buys another carton of branded, TV-advertised factory-farm milk. Later, the factory farm’s cows – high producing, delicate foreign breeds – begin to sicken and die, so the farm pulls up stakes and leaves.  Because the firm removes its investment in dollars, the rupee crashes. The Prime Minister declares that in order to revive the economy, another foreign company must be allowed to set up a 20000-cow factory farm. You starve to death.

Indian Bureaucracy: You have two cows. The local bureaucrats demand that you procure a licence allowing you to keep them. They then give you a list of 1001 documents and certificates you must provide in order to obtain the licence. After standing in lines for months waiting for the first of these documents, you decide bribery is the only way you’ll ever get the licence. You then find that you’ve paid twice as much in bribes as the value of the cows.

Casteism: You have two cows. Your neighbour, who belongs to the more powerful caste, claims that their horns make them an intolerable threat to his family. He gets together a mob, invades your house, beats you up and takes away the cows, which he then keeps for himself, whereupon their horns suddenly cease to be an issue.

Philosophy: You have two cows. You spend weeks debating whether one can decide if they are black or white on the basis of reasoning alone, and whether the terms "black" and "white" have any meaning. Meanwhile, the cows starve to death. 

The Empire (Republican Administration): You have two cows. The Empire calls you an existential threat who is making chemical bombs from cow intestinal methane gas. It sends soldiers to invade and occupy your farm, kill you, and take the cows.

The Empire (Democratic Administration): You have two cows. The Empire says you're mistreating them, and it needs to intervene on humanitarian grounds. It sends terrorists to invade and occupy your farm, kill you, and take the cows.

The Empire (Obama): You have two cows. Obama sends a drone to incinerate them both with a Hellfire missile. When you go running to see what happened, it blows you away too. Obama’s spokesman then informs the world that three suspected insurgents have been killed by a surgical strike. CNN runs a programme citing this as proof of how effective drone strikes are.

The Vatican: Adult cows? Female cows? Not interested.


  1. This is why I am not a farmer.

    These systems are a mess. Why doesn't somebody DO something about them? Why don't I?

  2. I have already read something like this but not so good...
    Love the expansion... it gave me a good laugh... Thanks, Bill!

  3. lol :D
    keep the drones off my cows Presidente Obeyme, thank you very much

  4. On the Italians, they would break to make love under an olive tree.

    Your additions are brilliant.

  5. Bill, Your update on the Empire's (in both of its manifestations') approach to two-cowism is much more realistic than the more benign treatment they get in the earlier version.


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