Excerpt from an info-topian snapshot by Hal Varian, Google Chief Economist
Fifteen years ago, only the big retailers could afford intelligent cash registers that tracked inventory and produced detailed daily reports. Nowadays cash registers are just PCs with a different user interface, and the smallest mom and pop retailer can track sales and inventory on a daily basis.
A decade ago, only the big multinational corporations could afford systems to allow for international calling, videoconferencing, and document sharing. Now startups with a handful of people can use voice over IP, video, wikis and Google Docs to share information. These technological advances have led to the rise of "micro multinationals" which can leverage creativity and talent across the globe. Even tiny companies can now have a worldwide reach.
These changes will have a profound effect on the global economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, "small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all firms, they create more than half of the private nonfarm gross domestic product, and they create 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs." Information technology has already had a huge effect on the productivity of large businesses, but the benefits from "trickle down productivity" may be even more significant.