Friday, July 04, 2008

Cow economics

I first came across the cow economics about 8 years ago. There's a thing on Wikipedia about it here. Here are some with a few more we've invented. Ten in fact, it is Friday...

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

CITY OF LONDON CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to a new shell company listed on the Alternative Investment Market, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at a bank on the Isle of Man, then execute a debt / equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows and transferring the ownership of the initial equity to a children’s charity. You get a CBE for services to sick kiddies. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who takes out a securitised debt package on the rights to all seven cows' milk and sells them 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 they crapped on your Maserati.

PRIVATE EQUITY CAPITALISM: You’ve bought two cows. Take out a massive structured debt package calculated on ten times the amount of milk they can ever possibly produce in a lifetime. Then hack one cow to bits. Sell off the milk, the meat, the bones, the blood. Squeeze as much milk as you can from the other one, then sell it to one of your mates for twice what you paid for the pair. Pay off the bank. Go skiing.

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

GORDON BROWN ECONOMICS: You have two cows. The government introduces a new "straw tax" calculated on how much straw the cows eat. When the price of straw becomes too high and the cows can't produce any more milk, a new tax on unused cows is introduced. You give up and try to sell the cows, but the new tax on buying second hand cows means it's not worth it and there's no market. The government launches a task force into cow development.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallo-centric, war-mongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.

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

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".

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything. The cows then get flu and the government burns them.

EUROPEAN 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.

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