[Developing countries] Although complex labour-saving machinery and new technological methods are capable of being adapted to meet the requirements of developing villages and increase their productivity, the people of some communities still prepare and harvest their crops using a simple machete. The distribution of technology appropriate to a given local situation is difficult to coordinate. Many communities are restricted both by their remoteness and the limited flow of available cash: there is often no obvious way for a community to develop its own appropriate technology or to create ways to purchase, borrow and utilize private or government sources of equipment.
Rural people know of the existence of more sophisticated technology equipment, but they cannot believe they would have the opportunity to own and use it themselves. There is no transport available, and people walk to and from town carrying virtually all of their purchases and market goods on their heads or over their shoulders. The time-consuming physical labour needed to sustain the basic necessities of life leaves residents with little energy to engage in other meaningful work or activity, and the cost of industrial and agricultural machinery is prohibitive. But far more important than these factors is the low value which villagers place on their own energy as a human resource.
Until a more appropriate level of technology is acquired in rural areas for agricultural and public use, communities will not move from subsistence to self-reliance.
New technologies replace older technologies already installed; they create hardship, particularly for unskilled labour and illiterate women and for others who depend on traditional handicrafts for their livelihood. Traditional technologies have evolved over centuries as part of society's social patterns. They are a source of cultural pride and are the backbone of socio-economic activities in most developing nations.