The "Two Cows" Explanations of Political Science

This material came originally from Lee Bradley. His most recent material can be viewed at the following link.


Enron Explained

In case you were wondering how Enron got into so much trouble, here is an explanation reputedly given by an 'Aggie' (Texas A&M to you non-Texans) professor to explain it in terms his students could understand:

CAPITALISM:

You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell the herd and retire on the income.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM:

You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly traded 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.

Repeat as necessary until you have $62 billion in assets.

Declare bankruptcy.


Political Science Version 1

CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT:

You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

A SOCIALIST:

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

A REPUBLICAN:

You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

A DEMOCRAT:

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

A COMMUNIST:

You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk.

A FASCIST:

You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:

You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE:

You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:

You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain.

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.

A 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 an eleventh the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.

A GERMAN CORPORATION:

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

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 MEXICAN CORPORATION:

You think you have two cows, but you're not sure where they are. You'll look for them tomorrow.

A SWISS CORPORATION:

You have 5000 cows, none of which belongs to you. You charge for storing them for others.

A BRAZILIAN CORPORATION:

You have two cows. You enter into a partnership with an American corporation. Soon you have 1000 cows, and the American corporation declares bankruptcy.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION:

You have two cows. You worship them.

A TALIBAN ORGANIZATION:

You have two cows. You load them up with explosives and herd them onto your neighbor's property, where you blow them up. Your neighbor dies. You starve to death.


Political Science Version 2

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.

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 the 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.

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:

The government promises to give you two cows if you 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.

INDIAN DEMOCRACY:

You have two cows. You worship them.

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, 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, force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when it drops dead.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY:

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

HONG KONG 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 associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Isands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the Feng Shui is bad.

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.

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 CULTURE:

Wow, dude, there's like ... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

SURREALISM:

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