Prognosticator extraordinaire Harry Dent, author of The Roaring 2000s, tells what’s affecting today’s, and tomorrow’s, business landscape.

15. Microchip: This 1971 invention marked the birth of digitalization, the Internet, and computers as we know them today. In the future, digitalization will help auto-mate many left-brained jobs, creating a more creative, entrepreneurial workforce.

16. Customization: Thanks to digitalization, products are becoming more tailored to customers’ needs and wants.

17. Wealth: Americans are getting wealthier. In 1980, 10 percent of Americans owned stock; now, it’s 50 percent and growing. And the percentage of U.S. households with $1 million or more in assets is expected to grow to 15 to 20 percent by 2009, from 7 percent today. Wealth gives people choices and creates opportunities.
     
18. Self-Actualization: An increasingly self-actualized workforce has led to job-hopping and increased entrepreneurism. To succeed, businesses must create more responsibility for employees at all levels.

19. Network Organizations: Hierarchical, top-down organizations are passé. The new model brings ideas and actions from the bottom up. As products and services become highly customized, people at all levels of the company — especially those dealing directly with customers — need to have the power to make decisions.

20. Exurbia: In the 1990s, rural areas grew faster than cities and suburbs. Thanks in part to telecommuting and better transportation systems, people can live where they want.
     
21. Globalization: The world is getting smaller, and third-world countries — particularly in Southeast Asia and South America — are getting more indus-trial and middle class. As opportunities abroad develop, our business borders will continue to break down.