You Have Two Cows

Pat Paulsen

You have two cows‘ is a joke comparing political systems that circulated throughout the US since around 1936 under the title ‘Parable of the Isms.’ A column in ‘The Chicago Daily Tribune’ in 1938 attributes a version involving socialism, communism, fascism and New Dealism to an address by lawyer Silas Strawn to the Economic Club of Chicago in 1935.

The joke always begins with ‘You have two cows…’ followed by a political system and its effect on the cows. For example, ‘socialism’ (the government takes one and gives it to your neighbor), ‘communism’ (you give them to the government, and the government then gives you some milk), fascism (you give them to the government, and the government then sells you some milk), and capitalism (you sell one and buy a bull).

One Comment to “You Have Two Cows”

  1. ‘Trump’ (put up your two cows as collateral on a loan to buy ten thousand cows, then default on the loan and declare bankruptcy to avoid paying it. You tell everyone you are worth ten thousand cows based on this transaction, write a book about your business genius, and run for president on the hope that the fact-checkers can’t shout louder than your frustrated, cowless supporters)

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