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Archduke Joseph II, "Political Daydreams" [Rêveries politiques] (1763)

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I would employ few people, but the selection would be exceedingly rigorous. After their probationary year, their salaries would rise every five years. Once they left the service, they would go back to their initial salary, but certainly not the lazy, negligent, or incompetent ones; they could expect nothing more. Malicious errors would be punished with the utmost severity, even without regard to birthright, because I do not see how it is just that a person who possesses old papers of nobility and is a rogue goes unpunished, while in the same case another, who does not have such scraps of paper, would be immediately hanged.

In order for a nobleman to serve the state, and in a most mediocre way at that, one must pay him in gold; for a president to make his name available, without even working in the office himself, and to sit there three times a week for three hours, in order to allow his secretary to write, one must pay him ten or twelve thousand Gulden. If he didn’t need any expensive robes, if his wife and his daughters required no diamonds, and if he didn’t require six horses, then he could easily be content with four thousand. For a councilor to serve the state, to let his scribe write while he walks in the park (Prater) and goes to comedies and beer gardens, he requires six thousand, or at least four thousand. On his own, the president whose salary was reduced would downgrade all the others himself, for those who now do the work are the poorest, the chancellors who only receive four or five hundred. As soon as the state paid them better, they would feel entitled to idleness themselves.

Through my plan, which would greatly reduce the number of documents and at the same time simplify the machine considerably, I can certainly cut the expenses of each department by half, in that I would remove the incompetent as well as the lazy. I believe that to lead this machine one head making decisions is sufficient, though advised by a committee like the privy council [Staatsrat]. The procedure that I intend to suggest is, as far as I know, unique: instead of separating the issues from each other, one must combine them.

I am convinced that in the entire monarchy there are only two organs that are well organized: the war council [Kriegsrat], as it currently exists, and the superior court of justice. Regarding their responsibilities, I would free both from all reports to the privy council. A ruler must trust in the judiciary, after he has selected capable subjects for it. Regarding the military, the generals understand more than we do, and one has seen unequivocal evidence of their righteousness and ability.

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