But both countries were also secretive, absolute monarchies, and they found themselves thrust into competition with the freer countries Holland and Great Britain. Holland, in particular, with a government that didn't try to control information, became the information center of Europe — the place traders went to find out vital information which they then used as the basis of their projects and investments. The large empires, on the other hand, had economies so centrally planned that the monarch himself would often make detailed economic decisions. As these secretive monarchies tried to prop up their economies, they ended up in unsustainable positions that invariably led to bankruptcy, collapse and conflict.
In Spain, the result was a slow collapse, which has left it and its former empire suffering from perpetual economic crisis and political instability. In France, an open society would eventually be born through monarchial bankruptcy that pulled down banks around Europe, and ended in violent revolution and the vastly destructive Napoleonic wars.'