Sunday, 23 November 2008

Global Economics made simple with Cows

As the global economy goes tits up, us lesser mortals are left wondering what the world's financial wizards where doing during their Economics lessons at school.

Financial journalists relay messages of widespread doom and gloom... in fact according to the NZ Herald today...

American business leaders have privately warned there will be "absolute carnage" on world markets if nothing is done to deleverage the US$60 trillion ($113.4 trillion) credit derivatives market in an orderly fashion.
No, I don't really understand what they mean either.
The Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) told the world's leaders who have assembled in Lima that it "was worried the US credit derivatives market was not fully backed by real assets."

I think, essentially what they're getting out is that financial gurus became adept at creating billions of dollars out of thin air, which was lent out at healthy interest rates to people who had little real ability to pay the money back.

The global credit crunch has sparked fresh debate about the various economic models around the world, including arguments from agitated lefties who are trying to blame Capitalism for the current situation.

For non-economists like me, here's a simple summary of the world's Economic Models, explained with the help of Cows... (I know the basic list has been around for a while, but this one that came to me via Popbitch seems to have a few new twists)...

Economic Models explained with Cows

- SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

- COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

- FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

- BUREAUCRATISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other and then throws the milk away.

- TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have 2 cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

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

- AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

- A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

- A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You go on strike, organise a riot and block the roads because you want three cows.

- A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have 2 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 image called “Cowkimon” and market it worldwide.
- AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Business seems pretty 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 GERMAN CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month and milk themselves.

- A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

- AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You worship them.

- A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. Both are mad.

- AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have 2 cows but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

- A CHINESE CORPORATION: You have 2 cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

- AN IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the shit out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy.

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