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Wenzel Anton Kaunitz-Rietberg, "Most Graciously Commissioned Report on the Improvement of the Domestic System" for Maria Theresa (April 14, 1773)
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Ad 3tium. Experience proves beyond a doubt that provinces and entire monarchies rise and fall in power and inner strength. However, nothing in the world happens without sufficient cause, and since it is all too certain that the German hereditary lands are not rising but rather declining in prosperity, everything depends on not being too shocked by this malady, and on not closing one's eyes, but rather opening them to get to the bottom of this malady, in unbiased fashion, and to investigate its actual causes.

These stem partially from external events, or they find their basis in human decrees and arbitrariness. The former applies recently only to Bohemia and its famine [1771]; [instances of] the latter are very frequent, and just as bodily sicknesses come from various causes, which destroy one’s inner strength little by little, and result in prostration and finally incurable disease, political sicknesses follow the same course. [ . . . ]

The political ailment comes from, namely:

A) the disproportionately and all too heavy burden of taxes on the people, or

B) the moral failings of the administration, or

C) the defective form of government. [ . . . ]

B. The second main cause of the political ailment is the moral failings of the administration.

Ad B. Regarding the second fundamental cause of the political ailment, namely the moral failings of our government, I name first and foremost:

a) the double ignorance perceptible in most of the court- and territorial officers and in the councils and servants of Your Majesty in general; that is, ignorance with respect to theoretical knowledge and scholarship as well as the facts or actual state of affairs, wherein the strengths and innermost essence of any hereditary land lie.

A jurist, theologian, physician, philosopher, etc., must spend several years learning the relevant theory and preparing himself for his future practical occupation; yet, with regard to that upon which the prosperity of the entire state depends, namely finances, policy, commerce and other political matters, theoretical instruction and the recruitment of capable subjects was abandoned just a few years ago. [ . . . ] So we lack the only means to learn about foreign insights, inventions, advantages, and experiences, and how we could make use of them ourselves. How can it be that there are really various councilors who have never read a single book or theoretical statement on the subject of their work? [ . . . ]

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