"You have two cows" is the beginning phrase for a series of political joke definitions. They are meant to show the limitations of the barter system, leading to the eventual introduction of currency and money. The "two cows" parodies, however, place the cow-owner in a fully fledged economic system where cows are used as a metaphor for all currency, capital, means of production and economic property. The intent is often to point out flaws and absurdities in those systems.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. The cows decide you have no right to do anything with their milk and leave to form their own society.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. You steal your neighbor's bull and ignore the government.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. You keep the cows and steal another one. You ignore the government.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. Your neighbor hits you over the head with a brick, steals your cows, then shoots them for fun. You later discover that he is a Nazi.
ARISTOCRATISM: You have two cows. You sell both and buy one really big cow - with a pedigree.
ARTIST -- VISUAL: You have two cows. You stuff them and put them in glass display boxes. In London.
BAHRAINISM: You have two cows. Some high government official steals one, milks it, sells the milk and pockets the profit. The government tells you there is just one cow and not enough milk for the people. The people riot and scream death to the government and carry Iranian flags. The Parliament, after thinking for 11 months, decides to employ ten Bahrainis to milk all the cows at the same time to cut back on unemployment.
BRITISH: You have two cows. They are crazy. You try to sell them in Europe.
BRITISH -- MAJOR: You have two cows. One has BSE. You get a vet to give the other one the all clear, and then declare there is no problem from BSE in your country.
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.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. To register them, you fill in 17 forms in triplicate and don't have time to milk them.
BUREAUCRACY -- EUROPEAN UNION: You have two cows. The EU loses one cow, milks the other and then spills the milk.
BUREAUCRACY -- UNITED STATES: You have two cows. The government takes both, loses one while moving it to a farm in Puerto Rico and forgets to milk the other.
CANADIANISM: You have two cows. The bank takes both of them, shoots one, throws away the milk and you shoot yourself.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
CAPITALISM -- AMERICAN: You have two cows. You sell one of them, and buy a bull. The cow and bull have a great love life; you sell the movie rights to Hollywood. Then you go into real estate.
CAPITALISM -- HONG KONG 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 Islands 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.
CENTRALISM: You have two cows. And a problem finding them in the middle of the field with 100,000,000 other cows.
CONSERVATIVISM: You have two cows. You freeze the milk and embalm the cows.
CONSERVATIVISM: You have two cows. You lock them up, and charge people to look at them.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you part of the milk.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both cows. The government sells the milk in government stores. You can't afford the milk. You wither away.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The state takes both, and gives you a little milk ... once.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and gives you spoiled milk.
COMMUNISM -- CAMBODIAN: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
COMMUNISM -- CAMBODIAN: You have two cows. The government sends a teenager in a red bandana to shoot them, then he shoots you.
COMMUNISM -- CHINESE: You don't have any cows. The government sets up a joint venture with McDonald's.
COMMUNISM -- CHINESE: You have two cows. You take care of them. The government takes all the milk, but you are encouraged to steal some of it back (before someone else does).
COMMUNISM -- CHINESE - MAO STYLE: You have two pigs. The government launches a campaign to convince you to donate them "voluntarily" to provide meat for workers in the city. The government then declares that people don't need pigs to make pork. Quoting the correct phrases from your little red book, you and your neighbors try to create pork from sheer willpower. Your local party leader reports that you have exceeded all expectations. Your neighbors starve.
COMMUNISM -- CUBAN - CASTRO STYLE: Fidel Castro has two cows. They are F1's, a cross between the Cebu cow and the Holstein cow. Only one cow, "White Udder," works. When she dies she is stuffed and placed in a museum by Castro, "The Dictator of the Cows," where "future generations could admire her magnificent udders." You have not seen cow milk since 1985.
COMMUNISM -- CUBAN: You have two cows. Fidel tells you some undercover CIA agents have infected all of the cows in your region with a foreign disease that kills the cows. You and your family become malnourished. It begins to occur to you that Fidel doesn't know what he is talking about.
COMMUNISM -- CUBAN: You no longer have any cows. They sailed to Miami. You still have no milk - but you do have Fidel.
COMMUNISM -- "PURE": You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
COMMUNISM -- "PURE": You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk. Well, maybe the local bully gets more, or a few neighbors band together to kill you so that there is more milk for everyone else.
COMMUNISM -- SOVIET: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. Then the government sends you to prison.
COMMUNISM -- SOVIET: You have two cows. You count them and realize you have
four cows. You drink more Vodka. You count the cows again and realize you have eleventy six cows. You drink even more Vodka. After a while, you realize that eleventy isn't a real number. You count the cows again and have two cows. You open another bottle of Vodka and try to drown the loss of eleventy four cows.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. A vote is held, and the cows win.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. They outvote you 2-1 to ban all meat and dairy products. You go bankrupt.
DEMOCRACY -- AMERICAN: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk and then blame Japan while border guards beat up Mexicans sneaking into the country. People are outraged for a week or so and then go back to televised sports where there's no violence.
DEMOCRACY -- AMERICAN (a republic): You have two cows. The government exercises those powers delegated to it by the people, who are sovereign. The majority does not rule because the people and their representatives (elected, appointed and employed) are constrained by various checks and balances, including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the three co-equal branches of government, and the 50 state republics (see, e.g., Article IV, section 4). So what the government does with your cows and with the milk from those cows depends on the interaction between the people and the checks and balances mentioned above.
DEMOCRACY -- BRITISH: You have two cows. You feed them sheep's brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.
DEMOCRACY -- REPRESENTATIVE: 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 drafts you.
DUBAISM: You have two cows. You create a website for them and advertise them in all magazines. You create a Cow City or Milk Town for them. You sell off their milk before the cows have even been milked to both legitimate and shady investors who hope to resell the non-existent milk for a 100% profit in two years' time. You bring Tiger Woods to milk the cows first to attract attention.
EGYPTIANISM: You have two cows. Both are voting for Moooooobarak!
EUROPEAN UNIONISM: You have two goats. The EU declares them to be fruit in order to conform to a rare Belgian custom of making Cow Jam (jam being required to have at least 45% fruit).
EUROPEAN UNIONISM: You have two cows. The EU develops a quota system that "limits the gas emissions from flatulent cows." You sell your carbon allotment, not the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. You give the milk to the government and the government sells it.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes one away and presses it into military service.
FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
FRISBEETARIANISM: You have two cows. One of them flies up on the roof and gets stuck. You hope the government provides cow ladders.
IDEALISM: You have two cows. You get married and your partner milks them.
INDUSTRIALISM: You have two cows. You dissect them both and figure out how to build a milk-factory instead.
IRAQISM: The British Government sends in a herd of 20 cows in a trial run to help a village outside Basra. The villagers are extremely grateful for the extra milk and the health of the children improves daily. A terrorist group then kidnaps the cows and accuses them of being traitors to "the cause." The terrorists then produce signed confessions from the cows and systematically assassinates each one in front of Al Jazeera television cameras.
KUWAITISM: Upon hearing how popular cows are in the Gulf region, a group of young male Kuwaitis buy a herd. Unfortunately, they attach so many accessories (ski-racks, 3500 watt sub-woofers, nipple lights, etc.) that the cows almost collapse under the weight and/or embarrassment. The herd are all tragically killed in a massive pile-up while their owners are attempting to perform donuts by the Towers.
LEBANONISM: You have two cows. One is owned by Syria and the other is controlled by the government.
LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You sell both to the rich. The government then taxes the rich one cow and gives it to the poor.
LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You give away one cow and get the government to give you a new cow. Then you give them both away.
LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. You let them do what they want.
LIBERTARIANISM: Go away. What I do with my cows is none of your business.
MARXISM/LENINISM: The proletarian cows unite and overthrow the bourgeoisie cowherds. The egalitarian democratic cow revolutionary state with the cow party as vanguard disintegrate over time. Marx choked on a veggie-burger before he could explain what happens to the use-value, exchange-value and sign-value of bovine leather.
NAZISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and then shoots you.
NEW DEALISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and pours the milk down the sink. The government insists there is a giant storage tank where all the milk goes.
OMANISM: You have three cows. They are all healthy and produce good quality milk for sale at the market. Unfortunately, your son discovers that the money he received at the market can be used to buy beer. Your grand expansion plans for a new high-tech farm are put on hold indefinitely.
PACIFISM: You have two cows. They stampede you.
PEROTISM: You have two cows. You aren't allowed to sell the milk to Mexico.
PLATONISM: You have two cows. You look for two other cows to milk.
PLATONISM: You have a reflection of two perfect cows. Their milk tastes like water. You look for two real cows to milk.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESSISM: You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallocentric, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecified gender.
PROTECTIONISM: You have two cows. You can't buy a bull from another country.
QATARISM: You have two cows. They've been sitting there for decades and no one realizes that cows can produce milk. You see what Dubai is doing, you go crazy and start milking the heck out of the cows in the shortest time possible. Then you realize no one wanted the milk in the first place.
REDISTRIBUTIONISM: You have two cows. Everyone should have the same amount of cow. The government takes both cows, cuts them up, and spends more than the cows are worth giving everyone a little piece of cow.
SAUDIISM: You have two cows. Since milking the cow involves nipples, the government decides to ban all cows in public. The only method to milk a cow is to have a cow on one side of a curtain and a guy milking the cow on the other side.
SIMPSONISM: Don't have a cow man!
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.
SOCIALISM -- BUREAUCRATIC: 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 eggs as the regulations say you should need.
SOCIALISM -- PURE: 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.
SOCRATIC METHODISM: How many cows do I have? Why?
SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
SURREALISM: You have two aardvarks. The government paints one green and requires you to take harmonica lessons.
TALIBANISM: You have two cows. At first, the government makes them wear burkas, but later shoots them because "they are Hindu religious symbols."
UNITED NATIONISM: You have two cows. France vetoes you from milking them. The United States and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.
YEMENISM: You once had a cow. But then it got kidnapped.