You have two cows
Jokes of this genre formed the base of a monologue by comedian Pat Paulsen on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late 1960s. This material was later used as an element of his satirical US presidential campaign in 1968, and was included on his 1968 comedy album Pat Paulsen for President.
Richard M. Steers and Luciara Nardon in their book about global economy use the "two cows" metaphor to illustrate the concept of cultural differences. They write that jokes of the kind:
Russian company: You have two cows. You drink some vodka and count them again. You have five cows. The Russian Mafia shows up and takes however many cows you have.
Californian company: You have a million cows. Most of them are illegals.
– are considered funny because they are realistic caricatures of various cultures, and the pervasiveness of such jokes stems from the significant cultural differences. Steers and Nardon also state that others believe such jokes present cultural stereotypes and must be viewed with caution.
There are many other forms of the "two cows" metaphor used in pop culture today. Below is a non-comprehensive list of others.
Anarchism: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
Bureaucracy: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
Pure Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
Representative Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
Dictatorship: You have two cows. The government takes both cows and drafts you.
Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
Political Correctnessism: You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is a symbol of the phallocentric, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecified gender.
Bureaucratic Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you should need.
Pure Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.