Swift identifies and explains the hunger and overpopulation if his society, of Dublin Ireland in 1729. His “scheme” as he called it was to care for and provide for the children born to the poor until the age of 1 year then sell them as a delicacy. It would provide income, eliminate another mouth to feed, and actually feed a whole family with good “infant flesh”.
Thankfully, Swift was not serious when he suggested eating babies to solve the hunger and overpopulation problem in Dublin in 1729. He was criticizing the political and economic policies of Ireland and England. Ireland was downtrodden filled with the poor facing disease, starvation, and prejudice.
I got my Background context from http://www.enotes.com/modest-proposal-criticism/modest-proposal-jonathan-swift. I wanted to know what was going on in the 1720's Ireland that caused this proposal satire.
His solution is totally irrational. It would never work for countless reasons. People have an ethical issue with cannibalism especially eating babies. I think most women would not want to give up any of their babies, but I suppose if things got bad enough they felt ending the baby’s life would be the most humane thing to do it could happen. I think if someone really didn’t have scruples they could just produce children to sell them, like potentially a prostitute or drug addict. Potentially a person could also imprison women for the sole purpose of making and selling babies, like cattle.
Swift’s proposal is horrifying but if we were lacking any sort of principals, ethics, or morals it would be a viable solution. I figure if we were all animals eating and surviving would be the only thing we were looking for. His evidence is the sheer number of beggars and mouths to feed. It is especially true for the Irish Catholics he refers to as “constant breeders”.
Source of information: http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/ModProposal.html, http://www.enotes.com/modest-proposal-criticism/modest-proposal-jonathan-swift
image from: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Baby_farming