Studying history can be a tiresome pursuit, but once in a while something comes completely out of left field to make you sit up and pay attention. This is one of those moments. The Australian national archives have released government documents which reveal that, in 1978, the Australian government was prepared to endorse a deal that would have... wait for it... traded beef for cars. Alfa Romeos, to be precise.

To be fair, the deal wasn't to trade sides of beef for actual cars. No, that would come too close to actually, you know... making sense. This deal would have traded 7,000 metric tons of beef and offal (entrails, hooves and whatnot) in exchange for quotas, as in the right to import Alfas into Australia. In the late 70's, apparently, Australia had very tight regulations on the number of cars which could be imported from any particular country, while the European Economic Community had similar quotas on the importation of foreign meat. The deal would have allowed both parties – even though they were the governments themselves (Alfa was state-owned at the time) – to circumvent the trade regulations. Of course the deal didn't go through, which is just as well because the whole ideal was utterly ridiculous.


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