You Have Two Cows

The old example goes: You live in a country where money is not used. You have two cows. You want to eat chicken. So you take one cow along with you and look for someone who has chickens and wants to trade them for a cow.

This example is used to demonstrate the limitations of the barter system. But of course, jokers everywhere have found ways to tweak the example to fit other economic systems and philosophies.

Here are my pick of the better ones from this site and this other site. (You may find the concept similar to my previous post,  *hit Happens: Religion & Philosophy)


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.

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 the numbers.

French Corporation: You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

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.

ARTIST — VISUAL: You have two cows. You stuff them and put them in glass display boxes. In London.

BRITISH: You have two cows. They are crazy. You try to sell them in Europe.

COMMUNISM — CHINESE – MAO STYLE: You have two pigs. The government launches a campaign to convince you to donate them “voluntarily” to provide meat for workers in the city. The government then declares that people don’t need pigs to make pork. Quoting the correct phrases from your little red book, you and your neighbors try to create pork from sheer willpower. Your local party leader reports that you have exceeded all expectations. Your neighbors starve.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes one away and presses it into military service.

IRAQISM: The British Government sends in a herd of 20 cows in a trial run to help a village outside Basra. The villagers are extremely grateful for the extra milk and the health of the children improves daily. A terrorist group then kidnaps the cows and accuses them of being traitors to “the cause.” The terrorists then produce signed confessions from the cows and systematically assassinates each one in front of Al Jazeera television cameras.

OMANISM: You have three cows. They are all healthy and produce good quality milk for sale at the market. Unfortunately, your son discovers that the money he received at the market can be used to buy beer. Your grand expansion plans for a new high-tech farm are put on hold indefinitely.

SAUDIISM: You have two cows. Since milking the cow involves nipples, the government decides to ban all cows in public. The only method to milk a cow is to have a cow on one side of a curtain and a guy milking the cow on the other side.

SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.

TALIBANISM: You have two cows. At first, the government makes them wear burkas, but later shoots them because “they are Hindu religious symbols.”

UNITED NATIONISM: You have two cows. France vetoes you from milking them. The United States and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.

UPDATE: More at Caveman Circus, via AoSHQ.

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