Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Capitalism with Cows

The old “two cows” story is doing the rounds again, this time in a slightly different version….

Traditional Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

American Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows and a subsidy for ten. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

Australian Capitalism
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.

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

Japanese Capitalism
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.

German Capitalism
You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat only once a month, and milk themselves.

British Capitalism
You have two cows. Both are mad.

Canadian Capitalism
You have two cows. Come to think of it, they look more like a pair of moose – in fact, yes, they are. One speaks French, one speaks English. One fights to create a new country, the other won’t let it. They both play ice hockey rather well.

Italian Capitalism
You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You break for lunch.

Russian Capitalism
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.

Swiss Capitalism
You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge an outrageous fee to others for storing them.

Chinese Capitalism
You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest and detain without trial the journalist who reported the number of cows.

New Zealand Capitalism
You have two cows. That one on the left is kinda cute…

Not to sully the joke, if it could be more sullied, but the sad thing is capitalism is still the exception rather then the rule around the world. What the world endures instead, to a greater or lesser degree, is a mixed economy – which is to say a mixture of trade and plunder.



  1. And then there is Thailand Capitalism.
    An Isaan farmer has 9 buffalo and also three sons. His neighbour is impoverished and has three daughters.
    Soon enough one of the buffalo farmer's daughters marries the older of the girls of impoverished next door village farmer's daughters . Buffalo man pays his 'father in law' "Sin Sod' . He pays the father 3 Buffalo.
    Unusually in this case the girl's father does not return the gift as is custom.
    Soon enough the other two of Buffalo farmer's sons marry the daughters of the next door village.
    Now the poor man with daughters has 9 buffalo and the previously wealthy 9 Buffalo farther with sons dies in poverty.

  2. ok ok, I know , line 3, it is the rich farmer's son [ not daughter ] who married the poor girl. And so on.

  3. New Zealand Capitalism
    You have two cows. You send one away because it wasn't born here and so can't be trusted to make milk properly.


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