It seems unlikely that the trend of large businesses and startups replacing workers with automation, algorithms, and “on-demand” “micro-employees” (the “gig” economy) is going to end any time soon. But what of smaller (both in terms of employees, and in terms of capital) businesses?

Many of these are owned by individuals, and often don’t have the capacity to invest in the infrastructure necessary to heavily automate themselves or otherwise reduce their “on-hand” workforce. As the rest of the economy becomes increasingly hostile to workers, people who work in these smaller businesses are likely to become intensely loyal, if just out of necessity.

It seems likely that over time existing employees will try to bring in friends and family that have been displaced in the wider economy. These new hires will, obviously, also be unlikely to leave.

Will this lead to the emergence of “dynastic” businesses, staffed almost entirely by a few families?

Will this dynamic ultimately make it easier for larger, automated firms to drive these smaller businesses out of the market? Or will the intense loyalty (and fear) of their staff lead to productivity gains that will keep them one step ahead of the super-predators?