If Swift were to buy three one-year-old children from a breeder (he was giving a dinner party) at 10 shillings and 4 pence apiece, how much profit would be made by the breeder, if it cost 2 shillings per year to feed and clothe a child (1 pound = 20 shillings; 1 shilling = 12 pence; 1 crown = 5 shillings)?
A. 1 pound, 4 shillings, 12 pence B. 298 pence C. 4 crowns, 4 shillings, 11 pence D. 1 pound, 1 crown E. 24 shillings
According to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, a breeder would make a profit of one pound, four shillings, and twelve pence. The whole idea of the proposal was to satirize what was going on at the time he wrote it. Swift sought to make a suggestion for the Irish, and was by no means meant to be taken seriously.
It was meant to shine a light on what the economics of the time were doing to the poor Irish that were enduring a potato famine at the time. Swift’s piece suggested that a child could be sold to a richer family so that the parents could buy food. This attitude was meant to mock what the British thought of the Irish at the time.