Capitalism and Cows

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.

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.

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(tm) and market them world-wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.

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 HINDU CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship 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 the numbers.

AN ARKANSAS CORPORATION: You have two cows. That one on the left is kinda cute.

ENRON CORPORATION: 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. 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.

ARTHUR ANDERSON, LLC: You have 2 cows. You shared all documents that Enron has any cows, take 2 cows from Enron for payment for consulting the cows, and attest that Enron has 9 cows.

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FEUDALISM: You have two cows. The lord of the manor takes some of the milk. And all the cream.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of your cows and gives it to your neighbor. You’re both forced to join a cooperative where you have to teach your neighbor how to take care of his cow.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as its regulations say you should need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for you share of the milk, but it’s so long that the milk is sour by the time you get it.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

MILITARISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate.” The cows are set free.

DEMOCRACY, DEMOCRAT-STYLE: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being so successful. You vote politicians into office who tax your cows, which forces you to sell one to pay the tax. The politicians use the tax money to buy a cow for your neighbor. You feel good. Barbra Streisand sings for you.

DEMOCRACY, REPUBLICAN-STYLE: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You move to a better neighborhood.

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheep brains and they go mad. The government gives you compensation for your diseased cows, compensation for your lost income, and a grant not to use your fields for anything else. And tells the public not to worry.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You lay one off, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when she drops dead.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

FOREIGN POLICY, AMERICAN-STYLE: You have two cows. The government taxes them and uses the money to buy a cow for a poor farmer a country ruled by a dictator. The farmer has no hay to feed the cow and his religion forbids him from eating it. The cow dies. The man dies. The dictator confiscates the dead man’s farm and sells it, using the money to purchase US military equipment. The President declares the program a success and announces closer ties with our new ally.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN-STYLE: You have two cows but you have to kill one of them because the government will only give you a license for one of them. The license requires you to sell all your milk to the government, which uses it to make cheese. The government pays lots of money to store the cheese in refrigerated warehouses. When the cheese spoils, the government distributes it to the poor. The poor get sick from the cheese, go to the emergency room, and are turned away because they have no health insurance. The President declares the program a success and reminds us that we have the finest health care system in the world.

AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one to a subsidiary company and lease it back to yourself so you can declare it as a tax loss. Your bosses give you a huge bonus. You inject the cows with drugs and they produce four times the normal amount of milk. Your bosses give you a huge bonus. When the drugs cause one of the cows to drop dead you announce to the press that you have down-sized, reducing expenses by 50 percent. The company stock goes up and your bosses give you a huge bonus. You lay off all your workers and move your production facilities to Mexico. You get a huge bonus. You contribute some of your profit to the President’s re-election campaign. The President announces tax cuts for corporations in order to stimulate the economy.

GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year and are very expensive to repair.

ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows but you can’t find them. While searching for them you meet a beautiful woman, take her out to lunch and then make love to her. Life is good.

FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike because you want another cow, more vacation and shorter work weeks. The French government announces that it will never agree to your demands. You go to lunch and eat fabulous food and drink wonderful wine. While you are at lunch, the airline pilots and flight controllers join your strike, shutting down all air traffic. The truckers block all the roads and the dock workers block all the ports. By dinner time the French government announces it agrees with all your demands. Life is good.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is an outdated symbol of your decadent, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender. They get married and adopt a calf.

COUNTER CULTURALISM: Wow, dude, there’s like . . . these two cows, man. You have got to have some of this milk.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

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