Okay, here's an off-the-cuff theory looking for discussion. The recession is a horror, and is going to have some nasty cultural side-effects, but I am beginning to suspect that there may be a balancing factor. Commentators have talked a lot about the way that it makes people more risk-averse, afraid to take chances that might make life harder for them, and this is probably true. But on the flip side, I've noticed a fair number of people who are starting to take side jobs a lot more seriously than they used to -- things that might once have been viewed as spare-time projects are, necessarily, being treated as potential sources of income, and thus are being treated with a lot of care. More precisely, I'm pleased but slightly surprised by the degree of success that several of my friends are having with their personal side-jobs, largely because they're taking them very seriously *as* jobs.
So the theory is that we may get a small but non-trivial generation of new, more-experienced entrepreneurs of all sorts out of this: people who have learned to set up businesses more carefully, in an environment that doesn't have as much loose money and thus you can't be as careless about what you're doing.