Egypt has long been regarded as a textbook case of a “labor surplus” economy.[ 1 ] With a population density of more than seven persons per cultivated acre, a population growth rate of at least 2.5 percent per year, and a fixed land base, this was hardly surprising. Yet the rapid economic growth of the past ten years stimulated three interrelated changes which are transforming rural Egypt. For the first time in her long history, poor and unskilled workers joined the more highly trained in seeking job opportunities abroad, mostly in neighboring oil states. Equally unprecedented, farmers and agricultural policy makers complained of a “labor shortage”. Finally, the use of agricultural machinery spread widely, as tractors, threshers, and irrigation pumps replaced traditional technology. Historic changes were evidently underway in the Egyptian countryside.