Monday, November 17, 2008

If you study Economics and Politics (or you want to laugh out loud), this post is for you!

Okay, maybe you’ve heard of these analogies before. What they do is take something small that was used for bartering back in the day and use them to oversimplify economic, political, and social institutions. Sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s not. They each tend to use two cows and then describe the conditions affected with them. Here you go:

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one cow and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the profit.

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

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

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

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

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

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. Then 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.

Democrat: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office that put a tax on your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money, buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous. Barbara Streisand sings for you.

Republican: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So?

Enron 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 an offshore company secretly owned by the majority stockholder 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 from Texas, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet is provided with the release of the annual report. The public buys your bull and you use a small portion of your profits to buy Congress’s support for regulating all transactions involving cows.

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

German Corporation: You have two cows. You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

Hindu Corporation: You have two cows. You worship them.

Italian Corporation: You have two cows but you don't know where they are. While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman. You break for lunch. Life is good.

New York Corporation: You have fifteen million cows. You have to choose which one will be the leader of the herd, so you pick some cow from Arkansas.

Pacifism: You have two cows. You let them stampede you.

Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government makes you take harmonica lessons.

Russian Corporation: You have two cows. You have some vodka. You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

Californian Corporation: You have a cow and a bull. The bull is depressed. It has spent its life living a lie. It goes away for two weeks. It comes back after a taxpayer-paid sex-change operation. You now have two cows. One makes milk; the other doesn't. You try to sell the transgender cow. Its lawyer sues you for discrimination. You lose in court. You sell the milk-generating cow to pay the damages. You now have one rich, transgender, non-milk-producing cow. You change your business to beef. PETA pickets your farm. Jesse Jackson makes a speech in your driveway. Cruz Bustamante calls for higher farm taxes to help "working cows." Hillary Clinton calls for the nationalization of 1/7 of your farm "for the children." Gray Davis signs a law giving your farm to Mexico. The L.A. Times quotes five anonymous cows claiming you groped their teats. You declare bankruptcy and shut down all operations. The cow starves to death. The L.A. Times' analysis shows your business failure is Bush's fault.

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