Some Classic Economic Theory

Filed Under (Humor) by Ockham Research Staff

Economics is on everyone’s mind these days, but it all just seems so… complicated.  As a service, I offer this concise explanation of various economic systems in order to better frame the possible alternatives.

Traditional 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.


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


You have two cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.


You have two cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.


You have two cows. The State takes both and shoots you.


You have two cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.


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


You have two cows. You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

AIG 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 a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder. He sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option for one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. Then the public buys your bull.

A French corporation

You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A Japanese corporation

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called “Cowkémon” and market it worldwide.

A German corporation

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

An Italian corporation

You have two cows, but you do not know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A Swiss corporation

You have 5,000 cows. None belongs to you. You charge the owners for storage.

A Chinese corporation

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity. You arrest the journalist who reported the real situation.

An Indian corporation

You have two cows. You worship them.

A British corporation

You have two cows. Both are mad.

An Iraqi corporation

Everyone thinks you have many cows. You tell them you have none. No one believes you so they launch an air strike and invade your country.

An Australian corporation

You have two cows. Business seems good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A New Zealand corporation

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

a call to action, america

I have been thinking all afternoon about how, or even if I should express my feelings over today’s political events.

Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

He became one of only four U.S. presidents to be awarded this honor, only the third sitting president, and the only to win in his first term. While I am just as shocked by the news as everyone else in the world — other than the Norwegian Nobel Committee, of course — I have to say that I am disappointed in America’s reaction.

I remember someone else who recently won an award and was then told that they didn’t deserve it. For those of you who did not watch the VMAs, Taylor Swift was awarded Best Female Video and Kanye West crashed the stage during her acceptance speech. This caused an incredible uproar heard around the globe — I know, because I was in Italy and I still heard about it with little internet or tv access. Viewers and participators alike were astounded and disgruntled by his actions. Who was he to decide whether or not she deserved that which was given to her based on a vote?

Of course today’s situation is a much more serious issue, and it is for this reason that I am disheartened. (I can guarantee that I didn’t spend any time researching the VMA awards process because of his reaction.) Yes, I voted for obama, but I can honestly say that if I hadn’t, I would still be proud for our country and our leaders when given such a prestigious accolade.

As I said, I too was shocked at first, which is why I scoured the internet all afternoon to learn more about the process and the reasoning behind this year’s selection. In my research I found this article, which was printed two days ago, describing the type of person wanted by the committee.

“It’s quite likely this committee will reward somebody who is engaged in current processes,” said Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the International Peace Institute in Oslo (PRIO).

“They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events,” he told Reuters.

After reading this, I understand their decision, granted it is still hard to accept him entering the realm of previous laureates — Kofi Annan, nelson Mandela, the Dalai, lama, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more. Obama has a lot to live up to, but clearly the hope of the committee was that the award would prompt actions resulting in peace.

My hope is that America can stop focusing on partisan politics, using this as a way to yet again point out Obama’s faults, and instead take this day to come together in pride for our country, using this as a way to unite against the many tasks at hand, both in our country and abroad.

As Obama said, this is “a call to action.” It’s not just a call for him though.