Teaching economics is not difficult. You don’t need charts or graphs. All you need are a few good illustrations. One way to teach is with some humor. The Parable of the Two Cows is one way.
Bill Sherk mentions that a list has circulated throughout the
United States 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 Silas Strawn to the Economic
Club of Chicago on November 29, 1935.
Here are some of the better Two Cow
Isms. I’ve tinkered with some of them:
BUREAUCRACY: You have two
cows. The government takes both cows, loses one while giving the cow to people
who don’t know anything about cows because that’s what the regulations told them
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a
COMMUNISM (1): You have two cows. The government takes both
of them and gives you some of the milk.
COMMUNISM (2): You have
two cows. The government takes both cows. The government sells the milk in
government stores. You can’t afford the milk. You starve to
COMMUNISM (3): You have two cows. The State takes both, and
gives you a little milk . . . once.
COMMUNISM (4): You have two
cows. The government takes both and gives you spoiled milk.
COMMUNISM: You no longer have any cows. You risk your life by escaping from
Cuba so you can buy some cows and a bull in Miami.
have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the
DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both
cows and drafts you to make sure he stays in power.
have two cows. You give the milk to the government and the government sells
FREE ENTERPRISE: You have two cows. They get jobs working for
Chick-fil-A for the company’s “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign. The chickens get upset
and call for a boycott.
LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You sell
both of them to the rich. The government then taxes the rich the price of one
cow and gives it to the poor who slaughter it. When they finish eating it, they
demand the other cow.
NEW DEAL LIBERALISM: You have two cows. The
government takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and pours the milk down the
drain insisting there is a giant storage tank where all the milk goes. Think
POLITICAL CORRECTISM: The idea of “ownership’ is
a holdover from the pre-Enlightenment era. Humans and cows are equal. The use of
the word “cow” is demeaning. Cows should be allowed to vote.
read more of Gary DeMar's articles at Political Outcast).