With the fall of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks, the nations of Western Europe were forced to look elsewhere for cheaper access to the luxurious spices flowing from the East and supplying the ever-more increasing demands of a growing European populace.
Combined with the magnetic attraction coming from the potential wealth, profits, and trade, several countries heavily invested in their fleets to search out new lands down south, along the coast of Africa, and into the Indian Ocean with its abundant supplies of coveted goods.
However, one country looked elsewhere: Spain. The resulting Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula meant that, for the first time in centuries, the region was finally united under a centralized, and stable Christian state – unseen since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. With the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castille, newfound wealth and political security allowed for a new conquest to open up, namely, for the sake of glory, god, and gold.
After the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, many nations jumped on the opportunity to compete with the giant which was called Spain. This new growth helped to spur the nations of England, France, the Netherlands, etc. into the economic powerhouses that they are today.
With the advent of charters allowing for this newfound freedom to pursue an opportunity, individual private companies were able to pour wealth back into their countries and develop the concept that many know today as capitalism.
Allowing for an environment of hospitality towards private companies and the low involvement of government intervention into the lives of citizens, the economies of many countries were allowed to grow rapidly and built them into the stable nations that many see them today.
In the early 1970s, change was beginning to brew and eventually engulf Sweden as a whole, as the nation had undergone an almost quasi-socialist state. Heavy taxation and regulation choked the economic growth of the country to a standstill, with many suffering from lack of funds to support themselves as they used to twenty-years prior.
This situation had persisted up until the 1990s, with the country beginning to realize the mistake of putting up heavy regulations. Reforms eventually passed after immense public pressure, and the economy slowly recovering to what the world now knows as a very prosperous state.
However, it is important to take a step back and try to figure out what had happened to the nation during this era of decline. In fact, not only should Sweden be the focus of this issue, but of every country which has an economy. As the government demands increasingly heavy taxes upon its populace, more of their income is diverted towards the state, and thus, little is left for their living expenses and, equally as important, their businesses.
With increasingly harsher regulations, businesses soon realized that holding back growth in their companies was more profitable than pursuing the tasks at hand that would expand their economic output. Furthermore, individuals who did not start out with a company of their own did not want to even start, because of the immense difficulties coming from such dense bureaucratic management.
Therefore, without any growth, the country went to a stagnant state with social services providing for the populace. Accordingly, countries with little economic barriers will see the high output from their citizens as expanding their businesses will become an ever-more attractive enterprise.