The Cow Theory of EconomicsCow theory is a well-established tool for understanding basic economic concepts. There are many variations of this theory on the Internet. Here are some new ones.
Here is the hypothetical situation: Your neighbor has 3 cows, you have one cow. How do different economic systems deal with this situation?
Communism: The government takes two cows away from your neighbor and sends them into orbit to prove the communist system is better. Your neighbor is sent to Siberia for being a landowner. You are sent to Siberia for being a troublemaker. The capitalists, shocked about the orbiting cows, are spurred into action and land cows on the moon a few years later. Your economy cannot compete and dissolves into chaos.
Fascism: Your neighbor is shot for not having the proper papers for his cows. All four cows are taken away and forced to work in a slave labor camp making missiles. You are then shot for not having any cows.
Socialism: The government takes one cow from your neighbor and gives it to you. Then it takes one cow from each of you in taxes. The two cows are given to poor people, who require continuous government handouts to keep their cows from starving. The government continually raises taxes. Eventually both you and your neighbor are forced to sell your remaining cows to pay the taxes.
American capitalism: The person with 3 cows becomes rich by renting one of his cows to you. Then he takes his cow back and uses the profit to buy your cow from you, leaving him with 4 cows and you with none.
European capitalism: The government discovers that cows cause global warming and you are forced sell your cow to pay for expensive emission control devices. There is no market for cows. It is considered gauche to eat beef, and killing a cow is considered a form of genocide. Your neighbor is tried in the International Criminal Court for running a cow slavery ring. The government sets limits on the number of cows it can have, then exceeds them.
Chinese capitalism: The Chinese manufacture millions of cows for export and sell them for seven cents apiece, driving you and your neighbor out of business. But the cows are of poor quality. The heads sometimes fall off. It is discovered that the cows contain high levels of melamine, and the milk is only white because titanium dioxide has been added to it.
Keynesianism: The government buys your cow and hires five workers to take care of it to ensure full employment. The cows get bigger and bigger, while the currency loses its value. Soon a cow costs $1,000,000 which is only about 3 days wages. But supply and demand has made owning a cow unprofitable. The economy collapses.
Marxism: The cows revolt against exploitation and form a commune where they are all equal. Since everyone is equal, they are all managers and no one does any work. They stand in long lines to buy grass. One cow escapes to Mexico, but the other cows send an assassin after him.
Feminism: You are forced to have an equal number of cows and bulls. Instead of giving milk, your cow runs for the US Senate while your bull refuses to mate. Cows become extinct.
Agribusiness: Cows are genetically modified to produce their own corn. The cows are designed to be cube-shaped to increase stacking efficiency. Other countries pass laws prohibiting the import of self-fed beef.
Political correctness: Bovine servitude is prohibited by the 28th Amendment. It is illegal to say anything unflattering about bovinely-abled individuals or to use the word "cowed". Anyone who says the word "coward" is fired from their job. The word "cowboy" becomes synonymous with "Nazi".
Military: The military builds a secret underground facility, protected by 35-ton blast doors, to house the cows in the event of a national cow emergency. It has its own underground power station, TV station, and hospital. No cows are actually stored there. Anyone who finds out about the facility mysteriously disappears. There are rumors that it stores cows from outer space.
Category: You have two cows
February 21, 2004 (updated Dec 21, 2011)