What are the six principal advantages of Jonathan Swift's plan in A Modest Proposal?

The six principal advantages of Jonathan Swift's plan in A Modest Proposal are that children will become a source of income for their parents, it will lower the murder and abortion rates, it will shift population demographics - boosting the Protestant population and lowering the percentage of Catholics, it will contribute to population control and boost GDP.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Jonathan Swift's famous work of satire "A Modest Proposal," he suggests that the conditions of poverty in Ireland might be solved by the cannibalization of its infants. Be aware, Smith's purpose in writing this essay is not to seriously propose this scheme as a solution to this problem, but to attack English policy in Ireland and the attitudes inherent to Enlightenment-era rationalism. To support his argument, Smith specifically includes a list of six advantages.

The first centers around demographics, with Swift writing that his plan will serve to decrease the Catholic population, which he refers to both as "the principle breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies."

From here, his next few advantages are chiefly economic in nature. He writes, as his second advantage, that it would give "the poorer tenants something valuable of their own," while (in his fourth advantage), he states that the sale of these children would remove a financial burden on the poor. His third...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1022 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on