http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie ... obo_picker
From the article:
But it wasn't just technological challenges that held back previous attempts at building a mechanical harvester –- politics got involved, too. Cesar Chavez, the legendary leader of the United Farm Workers, began a campaign against mechanization back in 1978.
Chavez was outraged that the federal government was funding research and development on agricultural machines, but not spending any money to aid the farm workers who would be displaced. In the '80s, that simmering anger merged with a growing realization that the technology was nowhere near ready, and government funding dried up.
The movie Syriana suggested that the US actively hinders the economic development of other countries just so it (the US) can get cheap labor. Under this theory, if the need for cheap labor is eliminated, through the use of automation or whatever, then doesn't that, in the end, actually help the other country out? Eliminate the need for such hindrances and won't such hindrances go away?
Of course, I suppose, under this theory, there could always be other motivating factors for hindering economic development...