The adoption of new technologies is fundamental for economic development. This might have led one to expect that the more technologically backward a country the more fervently it would adopt new technologies. Yet in fact, one of the greatest difficulties with the process of economic development is precisely the resistance among entrenched interest groups to technological change. Because such groups anticipate the resultant loss of income they may try to block the introduction of new technologies through outright conflict. Famous historical examples are the Luddites and the Captain Swing revolts. Other blocking mechanisms do not rely on direct conflict and usually aim at securing some form of protection from the government. This is clear in the case where firms and workers lobby against trade liberalization or deregulation of markets. There are also indirect mechanisms that can involve, for example, deliberate failure to protect property rights. The reason is that groups who become wealthier as a result of the adoption of new technology can dispute the political position of an incumbent group, providing the incumbent with an incentive to undermine property rights protection and hence technology adoption.
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