see also New Feudalism
and Semi-feudal corporate anarchy
One of my favorite lines in a Star Trek movie is in Insurrection. "We believe that when you build a machine to do the work of a man, you take something away from the man."
Some day, I'm going to find my copy of In The Absence Of The Sacred by Jerry Mander. ((The book isn't faultless; after I read his description of Epcot center, I dreaded going to Disneyland-or-world----it wasn't as bad as I feared.))
But there's an excellent table which compares American indigenous people's way of life to modern day life. One trade-off: perhaps because of the competitiveness of the job market, those who have jobs must work many many many more hours per week than a hunter-gatherer. According to Mander's table. This is just a guess but, maybe the underlying cause is this: Labor-saving devices don't actually save each worker from working so hard; instead, they save the bosses from having to hire so many workers. The other side of this trade-off is that the hunter-gatherer dude has less security--in the event of a drought, he's screwed.
Another trade-off. Re: making decisions which affect the whole nation. Mander says that american-indians had days and days and days to debate any issue and reach a consensus. The thing about majority rule, the way that we're familiar with, is that the minority is stuck with whatever the majority decides.
Somewhat related to this: Mander points out that in the age of push-button, I.C.B.M. warfare, the congress has no time to debate how to respond to a perceived threat. Are the missiles on the radar screen real? Is it a glitch in the detection system? Someone has to decide, and quickly. So the President, of the executive branch of government, decides whether we fire our missiles, how many, and at which targets. The legislative branch is out of the decision loop. A side-effect, you could say, of high-technology, efficient 'implements of destruction.'