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"Nothing has affected people as much in terms of business in Sweden as the introduction of the farm shop." - Edward Blom
In two events, 1846 and 1864, we had free trade in Sweden. Before that, it was forbidden to sell things other than in the cities. If you lived very far in the country, there could be an annual market too. That meant that a couple of times a year at most you traded things and then you had to travel a long way and buy everything.With these two events, the Swedish state stopped infringing on the right of the common man to trade freely in his native land. The result was, as Edward describes, an explosion of "small shops, small businesses in every little town, every little village, every little community around the country."
Suddenly you have access to spices, groceries, tools, newspapers, a whole new world opens up. Even if you can't afford it, you can go there and look and buy something small.Today, the trend is the exact opposite, with shop after shop in rural areas closing again. Why? I don't think I'm out of line if I say that the state has a hand in this too. Could it be that the state has its fingers too far down the cookie jar again?
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