It seems that everywhere I look there are small businesses taking over niche markets. Electric cars, electric motorcycles, artisan cheese factories, independent music labels, bloggers taking on journalism, self-publishers and micro-publishers.
Back some 40 years ago, there were many regional companies, everything from milk to telephone service was local. Then in the 70's came the 'get big or get out' mentality - and the mega-conglomerate was born.
These huge corporations are now world wide - hulking dinosaurs who need to eat large to produce large. They don't do well when it comes to change. (See the automotive industry for details.)
We hear that record companies have imploded. We see newspapers closing, as the old steel factories of the Industrial Age have closed. Yet there are still steel factories - small ones - in the U.S.A. they were thriving until the banking industry giants imploded.
What will the second decade of the new century bring? It really depends on several factors.
If the government is able to leash the Health Care corporations, so the average Joe can have affordable health care - then the U.S. economy has a good chance of rebounding - not from manufacturing jobs, but from the small business sector.
The Dot Com boom - and bust - left a huge open market place behind it. The Internet - the gateway to all niche markets - has spawned thousands of tiny businesses. Some are hosted on Ebay, others have set up storefronts in other places.
But these virtual Mom & Pop shops are spreading to other venues: Independent films, record labels, clothing stores, and more are being born (and often dying) daily. Just as the main three television stations have been cut down to size by cable access - I foresee more industries shattering into fragments. This is not going to be an easy or fun process, for the dinosaurs.
But the wave of mini-industry is starting to carve out niches in many markets. Mostly because somebody has the wit and savvy to plug in to the "Interwebs" and open up a shop.
The baby-boomers many have invented all the technology, but few of them can master it.
The next generation owns Cyberspace.