The “You have two cows” joke

This has been around for years in one form or another but I always enjoy it. Here’s a version that was in the Spectator recently:

Socialism – You have two cows. The State nationalises one and gives it to your neighbour.

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

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

Traditional capitalism – You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell your heard and retire on the income.

Lehman Brothers 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 Bear Stearns, 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 six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows with an option on 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. The public then buy your bull!

And here are a few of my own additions;

French system – You have two cows. They go on strike for greener grass.

British system – You have two cows. One goes binge drinking and stabs the other to death with a screwdriver. The Heath & Safety Executive have the other cow put down because one of its toenails is getting a bit long.

Polish system – You have two cows. They are twins.

German system – You have two cows. They call each other Herr Dr Dr Dr Cow.

Russian system
– You have two cows. You sell them both and buy a big gold watch and a new pair of bright red trainers.

Italian system – You have two cows. They look fantastic for a short while but then they get all fat, cranky and stop working properly.

Czech system – You have two cows. They seem okay to you but nobody else understands them.

I could go on all night……….. :)


29 thoughts on “The “You have two cows” joke

  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Europe: The “Two Cows” Jokes

  2. Greek system: You have two cows. You leave them in Greece, go open a restaurant in another country and argue over the milk with relatives on the phone.

  3. Polish system – You have two cows. They are twins.

    Nice try, but twin jokes are not that funny any more since one has left the office.

    And out of experience, I must admit that I like the German one.

  4. Pingback: Fly to Poland » Blog archive » Europe: The “Two Cows” Jokes

  5. What people do by night. :D

    I have to correct communist system – they take both cows and send you to Syberia as an enemy of working people and imperialist spy!

  6. I like all the additions, thank you!

    Yes, Polish twin jokes are a bit out of fashion but I like the simplicity of it and we do still have one left trying to run the country.

    Amazed there is an entire website dedicated to the cows.

  7. Gin ye will, I maun kill two kyen with ae stane:
    Meaning, adding to the above and to your Polandian post:

    One really-old Polish word for ‘cow’ (or more generally ‘a beast’) is GOW. [Looks darn close to COW, eh?] Now, the word for ‘shit’ so widespread in Polish, when yores aback, used to mean ‘cow’s dropping’ simply. Not of a human, or of a bird, heck, not even of a dog. And it was not any nasty or scatty i meaning at first.

    Imagine where some lingustic relics tend to hide!

  8. Darth Sida,

    GOW doesn’t mean anything in polish!
    Or do you thought “kał” (cow). It’s really shit, especially you give it in box to docs or biological laboratory. When you give “kał” it’s cultural and very profesionally. Less sophisticated is “kupa”. When you give the same with word “gówno” they will look at you like for the worst guy living under the bridge. Nobody use in this case “excrement”, even the biggest erudites!


  9. Hi Petr, I like your blog about Czech issues in English and will add it to my links here.

    The joke. Well it actually helps the comedy that you don’t get it! It comes from two sources;

    1/ The fact that any situation that is slightly weird or hard to understand is often called “a Czech movie” here in Poland.

    2/ My business dealings in Czech have sometimes left me wondering if I’d wandered into a parallel universe in that what has happened appeared to be normal but was in fact just slightly out of tune!

    We all love the Czech people so don’t be too concerned, especially that song about Jorzin from the bog!! ;)

  10. The expression “Czeski film” had its birth with this first Czech comedy after WWII “Nikdo nic nevi” ( The title means “Nobody Knows Anything” and it was supposedly quite a big hit in Poland back then. “Nikt nic nie wie – czeski film” is a popular expression but only very few know where it comes from.

  11. Back in the late eighties someone had sprayed a graffiti on the wall in my town:

    Socjalizm = pokój.
    Kapitalizm= 2 pokoje z kuchnią.

    Sadly, it’s no longer there. Times are changing…

  12. They should have written

    Socialism – dirt cheap but hard to get

    Capitalism – 20,000 PLN / sqm

    But then not even the most deluded nutcase would have thought 20,000 was likely to happen.


    Thanks for the etymology of the Czech thing, Piotr.

  13. Scatts,

    joke is in the word meaning.
    pokój in polish means peace and also room.
    Socialism was full of the posters with dove with olive twiggy and it was written also PEACE. As I remeber on the plastic lessons we paint these kind very often for f.e. the 1 of May – Fest of Working People (which in fact is stolen from West, when that holyday was born).

  14. Have you seen yesterday’s headline, after last PiS congress in Cracow? “PiS and love”.
    PiS (abbreviation for Prawo i Sprawiedliwość/Law & Justice) we read like PEACE.
    So journalist are laughing from PiS and hippies’ motto: “Peace and love”! :D

  15. It will be 4rth cow. ;)
    In previous campaign, when our 2 ducks had power both and they quacked too much, the journalists wrote also “Make PiS, not war”! :D

  16. ANCIENT ROMANTICISM: You have 2 cows. They are in love with you and follow you around all day. You begin to get a little creeped out. THen the State finds you dead in McDonalds while you were drinking a chocolate milkshake.

  17. this is so american. there is a reason why the scadinavian countries are among the top ten countries to live in, and why the scandinavian people are happier than many other countries. Democratic socialism is the way to go.

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