U.S. Sends Bulls to Russia, Bad Economics Jokes Ensue

This Washington Post story about the planned importation of U.S. bulls to Russia...

Twenty-nine black-and-white aspiring sires have set hoof in Russia, part of the first export of live Virginia Holstein bulls to that country, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced last week. Thirty more will head there in April. 

Russian farmers want American bulls to improve dairy-herd genetics in a land hampered first by collective farming, then by the collapse of the Soviet Union....

...makes it impossible to resist repeating this old economics joke:

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then gives you some milk.
Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then sells you some milk.
Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Nazism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and takes the cows.
Bureaucracy: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, they shoot one and milk the other then pour the milk down the drain.

Seriously though, details from the Post story about why all this cow shuffling is necessary aren't nearly as funny as the joke above. And the joke above really isn't that funny.

Instead of raising dairy cattle for milk and beef cattle for meat, Soviet collective farms had “dual-use” cattle, which would be milked for a while, then killed for meat, Osipenko said. Those one-size-fits-all cattle may have embodied an egalitarian ideal, but both milk and meat were mediocre, said Osipenko, a native of Ukraine who recalled his mother boiling beef for hours in a fruitless attempt to tenderize it.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, many dairy herds were all but wiped out as hungry Russians consumed them for food.

“There was a terrible crisis, apparently, and they pretty much ate their seed stock,” said Patrick Comyn, a large-animal veterinarian with the private Virginia Herd Health Management Services who worked on the deal.

For an even less funny economics joke, go here. Worse still, go here.

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  • ||

    So Government Planners have no idea how to run a farm (or any other business.)

    News at 11:00.

  • lily||

    Bi or want to find people having the same sexual orientation?---datebi*cO'm--- is a safe and free site for you.v

  • kinnath||

    The beef in Moscow was certainly terrible in the mid-90s even in upscale hotels.

    The starlight diner was the only refuge in the area -- they imported ground beef from the US to make a pretty good burger.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    They probably butchered the beef up before it was properly aged, never mind the animal quality.

  • kinnath||

    When they ground up the beef and made pelmeni, it was actually pretty good. But any kind of burger or steak tasted pretty wicked.

  • Barack Obama||

    For an even less funny economic joke, go... never mind, here I am!

  • Almanian||

    Old Olganski had a farm
    Eeyi Eeyi Oh!
    And on that farm he had
    nothing.

    The End

    /In Soviet Russia, Joke is on YOU!

  • yonemoto||

    Amazingly KMW screwed up the alt-text by forgetting "soviet"

  • ||

    My brother is quite the amateur gardener--like hardcore, feed the family from the backyard amateur. Anyway, he grows lots of tomatoes and discovered in the process that the Russians are crazy into developing new varieties of tomatoes. That surprised me for some reason.

  • ||

    Can you make vodka out of tomatos? That might explain it.

  • ||

    I imagine it's possible. Though potatoes are cheaper.

    What I wonder is whether this Russian tomato business is a new thing, or whether it's from the Soviet era.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Vodka sauce?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bloody Marys.

  • ||

    Bloody Martyrs.

  • ||

    Martyrini.

  • ||

    Long Pig iced tea.

  • ||

    Is that like Soylent Green Tea?

  • ||

    Same company, different demographic.

    "Coming soon: 4 Loko Hombres!"

  • The Other Kevin||

    Sounds like I am as into gardening just like your brother. You can make wine out of tomatoes. Haven't tried it yet, but I hear it's good. Just about any fruit or vegetable can be made into wine.

  • robc||

    If it has sugar* in it, it will ferment.

    *excepting the unferementable sugars

  • kinnath||

    Sugar is cheap. You can ferment anything by adding a bag of sucrose to it ;-)

  • Maltodextrin||

    Nyah nyah-nyah nyah nyah nyah!

  • Brett L||

    Do many fruits produce unfermentable sugars? I thought almost every fruit produces sucrose, xylose, or some other reducing sugar.

  • robc||

    Grapes can be up to 5% unfermentable sugar. That is why there are sweet wines.

  • Brett L||

    Cool. Now I'm going to go lose myself in wikipedia about this.

  • Brett L||

    Ah xylose, arabinose, and other 5C sugars aren't digestible by the yeast enzymes used in fermentation. I thought yeasts were more versatile.

  • db||

    Actually you could say they are more versatilebecause they allow selectivefermentation of certain sugars for alcohol content while leaving other sugars for body/flavor purposes. Choosing the mash conditions and the malt bill with a knowledge of the yeast's capabilities allows a huge range of potential combinations for beers.

  • Sam Grove||

    Some tomato varieties are very sweet.

  • ||

    He's got a big chunk of his backyard dedicated to growing vegetables (and some berries and fruits). He's got grids set up, makes his own compost, raises worms to improve the soil, etc., etc. I merely benefit.

    He grows some Russian black cherry tomatoes that are very good.

  • ||

    hardcore, feed the family from the backyard

    Sounds like he's affecting interstate commerce to me.

  • ||

    Probably is. He should've voted for Ron Paul.

  • ||

    I hope the ensuing SWAT raid teaches him a lesson.

  • ||

    I'm not wishing that on him, being my brother, but I hope he votes correctly next time.

  • ||

    That surprised me for some reason.

    My guess is that tomatos were entirely unregulated....and being one of the few things not regulated to death in the Soviet Union people went nuts for them.

  • ||

    Is Kathrine Mangu-Ward now forced to draw her own images for her H&R posts? Someone give that woman an intern!

  • Ted S.||

    That's only the half of it: the link is to myspace.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Everytime I think I am getting a little too rabid about "free markets, free minds" I read something like this:

    After the Soviet Union collapsed, many dairy herds were all but wiped out as hungry Russians consumed them for food.

    Then I remember why central planning, and command economies are so bad. Reading anecdotes like this breaks my heart. It also reinforces my belief in free markets, free minds.

  • kinnath||

    19 trips to Moscow and a couple to Guangzhou under my belt.

    I will never forget little old Russian women standing next to the subway entrances in sub-freezing temperatures trying to sell a pack of cigarettes to buy an egg or two to eat that day.

    The free market in action. They went to one of the emerging wholesale markets (shops in shipping containers spread across an open field) to buy a pack cigarettes. Then they sold the pack of cigarettes to some business man heading into or coming out of the subway for a small profit. Then they go back to the wholesale market and to buy another pack of cigarattes and an egg or something to eat. The next day they would head out to sell the pack of cigarettes and repeat the process day after day.

    Central planning fails, always. And when it fails, the people that depend on the safety net provided by the government get completely screwed.

  • ||

    So is it true that Russians consider it their patriotic duty to rip off foreigners?

  • kinnath||

    No, not then at least. The average Russian on the street had a deep-seated respect for foreigners. But every society has its criminal class. So yes, you had to be really careful of where you were at. We only used taxis provided by the hotel or took public transportation. Getting into a beat-up cab in the middle of the night would not have been a bright idea.

  • ||

    That wouldn't be a bright idea anywhere. Some day I am going to go.

  • kinnath||

    I felt safer in Moscow than most big US cities.

    I remember seeing a very attactive young women with a small child heading into the subway at about midnight.

    There are a lot of places in the US where that would be a really bad idea.

  • kinnath||

    I understand that it has changed dramatically in the last 15 years and is starting to look like most European cities, although they can't have hidden all the ugly produced by 70 years of Soviet control.

  • kinnath||

    One night, when coming home from a late supper, a group of us were ejected from a trolly in the middle of nowhere because it apparently was the end of the shift for the driver.

    We walked over to a little shop that was open hoping to find a telephone. A young guy what was drinking on the stoop offered to give us a ride to the hotel in his car (if we would buy him another bottle of booze). He tolds us it was safe because he was an off-duty police officer (he showed us his official documents).

    We all piled into his car and we had him drop us off a couple of blocks from the hotel at an all-night liquer shop. We bought him a bottle and he took off into the night.

  • Sam Grove||

    I'll skip over how we got there, but a friend and I were hiking home from a bowling alley club around 1 a.m. when a fellow stopped and gave us a ride.
    He then regaled us with his auto accidents and how his insurance premiums had shot way up as a result. Yes, he had been drinking.

  • HB||

    Random comment alert: I grew up on a family farm, and our cows were 'dual purpose' like those mentioned in the article. I remember we would start cooking the steaks about two hours before meal time in order to be able to chew them. The first time I had a real steak I didn't believe it was the same food.

    /random comment

  • Trespassers W||

    But that's a relevant comment. You've probably been hanging out here for so long that you can no longer tell the difference.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Those aren't quite consistent since a cow->milk relationship is being used, as well as give/sell/take distinctions.

    Socialism takes the cow, but in communism you "give" it? No, they both take it.

    Capitalism should be altered to crony capitalism, and then one for a free market should be added.

  • ||

    1) Why is the Governor of Virginia announcing and involved in shit that should have absolutely nothing to do with government?

    2) Russian meat still sucks, pork and lamb included. Yobannye krasnogvardeytsi.

  • ||

    Because you assume that one would simply be able to sell a cow to a farmer in a foreign country the same way you could put your dog up for adoption by some other family. Au contraire. If you read the article, you would know that the cows needed to be quarantined at a farm in Orange Virginia to make sure they don't have the clap and other nasty diseases, approached only by farmers who dis-infect their shoes everytime they go in and out of the corrale, and that there is a whole bunch of other regulatory crap that needs to be solved. In short, it takes Government (in the form of the governor) to cut through the red tape created by our government and other governments--sort of like fighting fire with fire. Not saying its right, but if were not the case, how would we keep all the government employees busy.

  • ||

    but if were not the case, how would we keep all the government employees busy.

    Mucking out stalls? Or is that just a horse farm thing?

  • ||

    I am wondering why they simply just don't buy the sperm...

    easier to transport...or smuggle.

  • ||

    Josh, what if you're trying to breed for a matrilineal trait?

    alternative response: Russia only exports animal gametes.

  • Raston Bot||

    We just wanted to get him the hell out of the state and away from signing bills or thinking up regs. We didn't expect him to actually find some business.

    My new fav...

    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.

  • ||

    Sounds pretty reasonable to me dude. Seriousyl.

    www.puter-privacy.tk

  • robc||

    Best. Economics Joke. Ever.

    No seriously, its in the last 10 seconds.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Hehehe. 'S very funny.

  • ||

    I'll be in my bunk until 2015.

  • ||

    Dude, don't impose the future on your dong.

  • ||

    This has all happened before. It will happen again.

  • Jumbie||

    You have a plan?

  • barfman||

    Save Annie!

  • Feliks Dzerzninsky||

    Mighty Texas is but a slug compared to the glory of Mother Russia!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXqKkYYALMU

  • ||

    Assume a meat tenderizer.

  • sarcasmic||

    Is that like a sexual position or something?

  • AlmightyJB||

    OT: WOS - regulate sugar like alcohol?

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/01/.....pt=hp_bn10

  • ||

    These fucking retards correctly notice a problem, and then are completely incapable of imagining a solution other than regulation. Fucking morons.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy.||

    Oh...some of them are able to imaging other solutions.

    They just don't like the part where other people ignore their advice in those scenarios. They don't consider it a "solution" if they don't get to dictate stuff.

  • Gojira||

    Here's the money quote:

    The reality is that unfettered corporate marketing actually limits our choices about the products we consume. If what's mostly available is junk food and soda, then we actually have to go out of our way to find an apple or a drinking fountain. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making a wider range of healthy foods easier and cheaper to get.

    We need to increase choice...by punishing the choices that we don't like!

    On the up side, most of the comments are against the author.

  • ||

    That is just classic. We are working to make you free to make only the choices we approve of. Got it!

  • T||

    we actually have to go out of our way to find an apple or a drinking fountain

    She's high. You can buy a bottle of water anywhere they sell soft drinks.

    And freaking McDonald's will sell you an apple, albeit presliced and with a nice sugary dipping sauce.

  • ||

    You can buy a bottle of water anywhere they sell soft drinks.

    But that would require her to harm the earth by purchasing a plastic bottle. She has a right to drink without such guilt.

  • T||

    There's a hose bib around the back of the gas station for people like her, then.

  • ||

    Er, I can get apples at damn near any grocery store. Is that what they mean by "out of my way"?

  • ||

    then we actually have to go out of our way to find an apple or a drinking fountain.

    The counter of the convenience store where i buy my smokes stocks fresh apples bananas and oranges in a basket between the cash registers.

  • Bee Tagger||

    The reality is that unfettered corporate marketing actually limits our choices about the products we consume

    There we go. It took a while for root of this opinion piece to show itself, but there it is, plain as day.

    Although, I imagine her concerns about people wanting to be paragons of health but just not knowing how are sincere since that way of thinking is a close cousin to the thinking that marketing brainwashes and capitalism reduces freedom by making some options too appealing.

  • Gojira||

    At the heart of all of this is the belief that people are simply too stupid to resist being told what to do by billboards and commercials.

  • Gus||

    On the upside, that means that people are simply too stupid to resist being told what to do by their betters.

    Top. Bitches.

  • ||

    Although, I imagine her concerns about people wanting to be paragons of health but just not knowing how...

    Except that these mythical beasts exist in about the same numbers as leprechauns and unicorns.

    The Lifestyle Gestapo always seems to think that people who eat unhealthy foods do this because they just don't know better. If only the unhealthy eaters were educated forcibly indoctrinated while being treated with poorly-veiled contempt, they'd all choose nothing tiny portions of organic, locally- and sustainably-grown, vegan goodness like we do!

    It's not an education issue. Everybody with an IQ higher than their hat size knows that vegetables and fresh fruits are better for you than chicken-fried steak served with a gallon of mashed potatoes topped with bacon bits. It's a choice issue. People know how to eat healthily, but eat the way they damned well please.

    They can tuck all the sugar into Fort Knox if they want to. Won't stop anybody who wants it from getting it.

  • Gus||

    "chicken-fried steak served with a gallon of mashed potatoes topped with bacon bits"

    I'll have an order of that, please.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dont forget the white gravy made from the bacon grease. Thats how I roll.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dont forget the white gravy made from the bacon grease. Thats how I roll.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dont forget the white gravy made from the bacon grease. Thats how I roll.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dont forget the white gravy made from the bacon grease. Thats how I roll.

  • Brett L||

    We won't.

  • ||

    I am a medical sociologist, which means I have a degree in bologna.

    ftft.

  • Paul Krugman||

    I iz an economic joke.

  • Gus||

    "a native of Ukraine who recalled his mother boiling beef for hours in a fruitless attempt to tenderize it."

    Cooking beef Yankee Pot Roast style tenderizes the toughest meats on earth. Boiling is moronic.

  • ||

    A pressure cooker will do the same in 20 minutes. Easy as (meat) pie.

  • db||

    So now Russians are buying American mail-order studs? I've seen everything.

  • ||

    Kind of an exchange program.

  • ||

  • FUCK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT||

    WSJ: Obama coordinating assault on Kochs

    How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president's re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?

    What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president's surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president's party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly—and accurately—stated that you have no involvement?

    Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president's re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the president's or anyone else's office.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....lenews_wsj

  • Gojira||

    Because, you know, the Obama team is really one to be pointing fingers about tax-returns.

  • ||

    Some of the comments are quite remarkable.

    Olson has it wrong. Obama is not inimical to Koch. Koch is the one who is inimical to Obama.Obama wants to do good for the people of this country and that doesn't sit well with Koch bros and a few renegades like them. That is their fault and sooner they correct themselves the better for the nation. We can't be like some countries using slave labor.

  • ||

    Or this one in response to a snarky request for how one gets to be on Obama's enemies list.

    Yes, By working against America, if youy are not already doing so. Obama has no use for non-patriots and thugs. Ask Osama.

    I don't think that guy is trolling. I think some of these people would be perfectly happy to see Obama drone strike the Kochs.

  • ||

    Obama has no use for non-patriots

    TEAM BLUE: now, with MOAR LOVE 'MERICA OR GET OUT!

    It's devolved far beyond parody at this point. They're fucking zombies.

  • ||

    It is amazing how quickly the fascist comes out in people. So many of them want so bad to be a part of something larger to be a part of the people doing great things particularly eliminating the other.

  • ||

    Agreed, John, but on a simpler level, this idiot would have fervently attacked anyone on TEAM RED who said exactly what he said here (imagine "Bush has no use for non-patriots"), yet this person cannot even comprehend their own flip.

    They're so pathetically stupid, un-self-aware, and utterly sheep-like that it boggles the mind. These partisan scum empower the worst shitbag politicians, and they do it with pride and gusto.

  • ||

    It is human nature. I could almost forgive it if they were even remotely self aware. I guarantee you that guy thinks his team is for individualism and it is the other side who won't tolerate dissent.

  • tarran||

    I would think that a self-aware type who did engage in that would be more unforgivable.

    If my son put a decapitated mouse in my shoe as a present, I would be far more outraged than if my neighbor's cat did it.

  • ||

    And then there is this lover of the 1st Amendment.

    Excuse me, but I am not the hateful man who has bludgeoned America with tens of millions of dollars in disgusting ads, it is the Koch Brothers, getting their way with brute force.

    How do you folk get so confused? You even attacked the wrong country, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. You "pro-life" kooks did that. Now, you want the Middle Class to pay for it.

  • Raston Bot||

    if i were an idiot incapable of operating a remote control, i'd probably think words bludgeoned me too.

  • ||

    I love this. Speech is a bludgeon, political ads are brute force. Newspeak is alive and well.

  • tarran||

    I'll thank you to remember, sir, that 10^12 acts of microagression adds up to 1 Megaaggression.

  • T||

    Weak sauce. We deal in exaagression around here.

  • ||

  • ||

    getting their way with brute force

    "Drone strikes not 'brute force', News at 11."

  • robc||

    So is Buffett being called before the pipeline committee?

    Im pretty sure he is the biggest beneficiary.

  • Gojira||

    Dairy, meat, or dual-purpose?

  • Gojira||

    Damn squirrels, this was in response to Epi's cow-comment below.

  • ¢||

    Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to a politician's sister-in-law. You almost starve.

    Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them and gives them to a politician's sister-in-law. You eat your wife.

    Fascism: You have two cows. The government mandates that in order to maintain your cow-having license, you sell one cow to a politician's sister-in-law's CowsForThePoor 501(c)(3) for fourteen cents, of which you get seven cents, while taxes and fees consume the other seven. CowsForThePoor "gives" the cow to a poor family for a thousand dollars, of which nine hundred is spent on administration, fundraising, and lobbying for CowsForThePoor. You almost starve. The politician's sister-in-law buys a Ferrari.

    Capitalism: You have two cows.

    Nazism: You have two cows. The government mandates that you give one to CowsForTheAryanPoor. You're overheard sarcastically observing that it's surprising that a politician's sister-in-law can afford a Ferrari on her doubtless meager charitable-service salary from CowsForTheAryanPoor, and someone tells somebody you're a secret Jew. You get to be in a newsreel.

    Bureaucracy: You have two cows. You have a lawyer. He buys a politician's sister-in-law a Ferrari. You worry.

  • ||

    Excellent. I award you one cow.

  • Gojira||

    Dairy, meat, or dual-purpose?

  • ||

    Bestiality, so...dual-purpose.

  • ||

    Capitalism: You have two cows. And nothing else happened.

    ftfy.

  • Rrabbit||

    FRENCH CAPITALISM:
    You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

    AMERICAN CAPITALISM:
    You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the
    milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

  • Bradley||

    UNITED KINGDOM CAPITALISM:
    You had two cows, but they were both destroyed during a hoof-and-mouth scare.

  • ||

    Two Russian peasant women were out in the field picking potatoes. One pulls from the ground two huge potatoes and says "These remind me of my husband's balls!"

    The other says "They're that big?!"

    "No," she says, "they're that dirty!"

  • Pamyat||

    Twenty-nine black-and-white aspiring sires have set hoof in Russia,

    This is a plot by the American Zionists to mongrelize the pure blood of Russian cattle!

  • BakedPenguin||

    'He is obviously an inferior cow. He is black on the right side of his face.'

  • ||

    One would have to be really dedicated to their racism to come to such a conclusion. I admire that kind of dedication.

  • ||

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.co.....icide.html

    Soul Train creator dead in apparent suicide. Shame.

  • ||

    Tony: You have two cows. You have two cows? You fucking plutocrat! You deserve to starve!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    MNG: If you are a veterinarian the public has the right to force you to take care of other people's cows.

  • db||

    John and MNG have one cow each. They enter into a contractural agreement to sell one cow and take joint ownership of the other. They proceed to mercilessly flog the remaining cow to within an inch of its life daily.
    Sugarfree purchases the first cow and writes beastiality fic involving Rick Santorum, the cow, and Newt Gingrich.

    Dunphy has two cows. He awards one a medal for delivering poisonous milk while butchering the other for eating grass.

  • Gerholdt||

    Possibly true tale from Cold War days:
    The Soviet Union, as a propaganda ploy, sends an American factory an order for 1000 cases of condoms, 12" long and 4" in diameter. After consulting with the CIA, they fill the order. Each condom is stamped in large print: MADE IN USA - SIZE MEDIUM.

  • Bradley||

    Sounds legit to me.

  • Old Mexican||

    Bureaucracy: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, they shoot one and milk the other then pour the milk down the drain.


    Unfortunately, that was no joke back in the days of the Great Depression

    FDR's agricultural policies were in a class of genius all their own. Convinced that falling prices were hindering economic recovery, FDR decided that prices were now to be raised by any means necessary. Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace, as thoroughgoing a Soviet dupe as this country has ever seen, described the wholesale destruction of crops and livestock in which he and FDR engaged in order to boost farm prices as "a cleaning up of the wreckage from the old days of unbalanced production" (as Tindall and Shi quote him, approvingly.)

    [...]

    Tindall and Shi assure us that "for a while these farm measures worked." Well, if by "worked" you mean they succeeded in their goal of raising the prices of food and clothing at a time when people were desperately poor, then I suppose they did "work." Slaughtering some six million pigs and engaging in the destruction of enormous supplies of wheat and cotton did tend to increase the prices of these items. Congratulations.

    While this program was under way, the Department of Agriculture released a study regarding the American diet during these lean years. The Department constructed four sample diets: liberal, moderate, minimum, and emergency (below subsistence). Its figures were sobering: America was not producing enough food to sustain its population at the minimum (subsistence) diet.

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