The now familiar “You have two cows” jokes were originally a parody of the typical educational examples used in introductory-level economics course material.
A typical example is: “You have two cows; you want chickens; you set out to find another farmer who has chickens and wants a cow”.
The above example was used to show the limitations of the barter system, leading to the eventual introduction of currency and money. Some later examples of the jocular parody include…
- SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows. – You give one to your neighbour
- COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. – The State takes both and gives you some milk
- NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.
- BUREAUCRACY: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.
- 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.
- RBS (VENTURE 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. 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 then buys your bull.
- SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
- AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
- GREEK CORPORATION: You have two cows. You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds, dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds. You still only have two cows.
- FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, 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. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.
- ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.
- SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.
- CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
- INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.
- IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the sh1t out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.
- BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad and, despite reading the label carefully, you find one of your cows is actually a horse.
- WELSH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive but more difficult to reach than your two sheep.
- SCOTS CORPORATION: You have two cows. It’s open to debate as to whether or not you own your cows, or they’re just a constituent part of the greater British herd.
- NORTHERN IRISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. After hundreds of years you still can’t decide if they are Nationalist or Republican cows… Oh Feck!
- AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for lunch and a few beers to celebrate!
I wonder how the ‘two cows’ illustration should be applied to the British Public Sector and in particular, the management of our Policing and other emergency services? Any ideas?