Jonathan Swift, a father of micro-credit

Swift was so, so, so smart and also hilariously funny.  Recently I learned that he was one of the early progenitors of micro-credit.  He started the Irish Loan Funds in the early 1700s to provide credit –without collateral — to the poor of Dublin.  These loan funds started on a charitable basis but continued to grow and play a positive role in alleviating Irish poverty throughout the nineteenth century.  Here is one account.  Here is a broader piece on the history of microfinance.  Here is a history of the Irish Loan Funds.

Here is Swift on reforming the coinage.

The funds had evolved out of


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