In present-day English, the term THIRD WORLD is used in reference to
"the developing countries of Asia,
Africa and Latin America" . The
term usually suggests poverty and low level of industrial development
and thus it is the opposite of the term developed nations . This usage
is considered by some offensive.
According to Online Etymology Dictionary the term
Third World was
formulated in 1952 by French economic historian
Alfred Sauvy to mean
countries that were neither part of the West nor of the
Soviet Bloc .
Thus the term originally had a political meaning as it arose during
Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either
NATO or the
Communist Bloc . The
United States ,
South Korea , Western European nations and their allies represented
First World , while the
Soviet Union ,
Cuba and their
allies represented the
Second World . This terminology provided a way
of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups
based on political and politically-related economic divisions.
Third World was normally seen to include many countries with
colonial pasts in
Latin America ,
Asia . It was
also sometimes taken as synonymous with countries in the Non-Aligned
Movement . In the dependency theory of thinkers like
Raúl Prebisch ,
Walter Rodney , Theotonio dos Santos, and
Andre Gunder Frank , the
Third World has also been connected to the world economic division as
"periphery" countries in the world system that is dominated by the
"core" countries .
Due to the complex history of evolving meanings and contexts, there
is no clear or agreed-upon definition of the Third World. Some
countries in the
Communist Bloc , such as
Cuba , were often regarded
as "Third World". Because many
Third World countries were extremely
poor, and non-industrialized, it became a stereotype to refer to poor
countries as "third world countries", yet the "Third World" term is
also often taken to include newly industrialized countries like
Brazil, India and
China now more commonly referred to as part of BRIC
. Historically, some European countries were non-aligned and a few of
these were and are very prosperous, including
Finland , and
Third World is still largely used interchangeably with the
least developed countries , the
Global South and developing countries
* 1 Etymology
Third World vs. Three Worlds
* 3 Third Worldism
* 4 History
Foreign aid and development
Great Divergence and Great Convergence
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links
French demographer, anthropologist and historian
Alfred Sauvy , in an
article published in the French magazine L\'Observateur , August 14,
1952, coined the term
Third World (French: Tiers Monde), referring to
countries that were unaligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or
NATO bloc during the Cold War. His usage was a
reference to the Third Estate , the commoners of France who, before
and during the
French Revolution , opposed the clergy and nobles, who
composed the First Estate and Second Estate, respectively. Sauvy
wrote, "This third world ignored, exploited, despised like the third
estate also wants to be something." He conveyed the concept of
political non-alignment with either the capitalist or communist bloc.
THIRD WORLD VS. THREE WORLDS
Three World Model and
Three Worlds Theory
The "Three Worlds Theory" developed by
Mao Zedong is different from
the Western theory of the Three Worlds or Third World. For example, in
the Western theory,
China and India belong respectively to the second
and third worlds, but in Mao's theory both
China and India are part of
Third World which he defined as consisting of exploited nations.
Third Worldism is a political movement that argues for the unity of
third-world nations against first-world influence and the principle of
non-interference in other countries\' domestic affairs . Groups most
notable for expressing and exercising this idea are the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) and the
Group of 77 which provide a base for relations
and diplomacy between not just the third-world countries, but between
the third-world and the first and second worlds. The notion has been
criticized as providing a fig leaf for human-rights violations and
political repression by dictatorships .
Third World countries are former colonies. Having gained
independence, many of these countries, especially smaller ones, were
faced with the challenges of nation- and institution-building on their
own for the first time. Due to this common background, many of these
nations were "developing" in economic terms for most of the 20th
century, and many still are. This term, used today, generally denotes
countries that have not developed to the same levels as OECD
countries, and are thus in the process of developing.
In the 1980s, economist Peter Bauer offered a competing definition
for the term "Third World". He claimed that the attachment of Third
World status to a particular country was not based on any stable
economic or political criteria, and was a mostly arbitrary process.
The large diversity of countries considered part of the Third World
— from Indonesia to Afghanistan — ranged widely from economically
primitive to economically advanced and from politically non-aligned to
Soviet- or Western-leaning. An argument could also be made for how
parts of the U.S. are more like the Third World.
The only characteristic that Bauer found common in all Third World
countries was that their governments "demand and receive Western aid,"
the giving of which he strongly opposed. Thus, the aggregate term
"Third World" was challenged as misleading even during the Cold War
period, because it had no consistent or collective identity among the
countries it supposedly encompassed.
FOREIGN AID AND DEVELOPMENT
During the Cold War, unaligned countries of the
Third World were
seen as potential allies by both the First and Second World.
United States and the
Soviet Union went to great
lengths to establish connections in these countries by offering
economic and military support to gain strategically located alliances
United States in Vietnam or
Soviet Union in Cuba). By the end
of the Cold War, many
Third World countries had adopted capitalist or
communist economic models and continued to receive support from the
side they had chosen. Throughout the
Cold War and beyond, the
countries of the
Third World have been the priority recipients of
Western foreign aid and the focus of economic development through
mainstream theories such as modernization theory and dependency
By the end of the 1960s, the idea of the
Third World came to
represent countries in Africa,
Latin America that were
considered underdeveloped by the West based on a variety of
characteristics (low economic development, low life expectancy, high
rates of poverty and disease, etc.). These countries became the
targets for aid and support from governments, NGOs and individuals
from wealthier nations. One popular model, known as Rostow\'s stages
of growth , argued that development took place in 5 stages
(Traditional Society; Pre-conditions for Take-off; Take-off; Drive to
Maturity; Age of High Mass Consumption).
W. W. Rostow argued that
Take-off was the critical stage that the
Third World was missing or
struggling with. Thus, foreign aid was needed to help kick-start
industrialization and economic growth in these countries.
However, despite decades of receiving aid and experiencing different
development models (which have had very little success), many Third
World countries' economies are still dependent on developed countries,
and are deep in debt. There is now a growing debate about why Third
World countries remain impoverished and underdeveloped after all this
time. Many argue that current methods of aid are not working and are
calling for reducing foreign aid (and therefore dependency) and
utilizing different economic theories than the traditional mainstream
theories from the West. Historically, development and aid have not
accomplished the goals they were meant to, and currently the global
gap between the rich and poor is greater than ever, though not
everybody agrees with this.
Some scholars argue the problem of development amongst many third
world states through socioeconomic perspectives which study how
individuals form organizations amongst each other for all kinds of
goals, such as economic matters. Scholars like North and Weingast
claim that modern states are composed of natural states and open
access order states whereby open access order states have more
positive development than natural states, because in these states,
legally binding institutions (rules of the game, customs) allow
individuals to freely form impersonal organizations that can attract a
large group of people who work or compete with each other
economically. The more competition, the more wealth and growth is
created. Examples of open access states are many Western countries
like America and Germany.
In contrast, a natural state (which compromises much of the third
world) consists of political elites who try to protect their special
privileges by restricting access to the ability to form organizations
amongst individuals. These elites must rely on personal communication
and the threat of violence to both maintain order and recruit
"desirables" into the organizations. Such a set-up not only weakens
good governance (as leaders are less accountable) but also leads to
weak institutions, where peace is not always assured, as those in
control of the means to inflict violence simply restrain themselves
out of trust or loyalty, and can easily resort to violence, as has
happened in the past (e.g., Biafra against the rest of Nigeria,
Bangladesh against the rest of Pakistan).
Over the last few decades, global population growth has largely been
Third World countries (which often have higher birth rates
than developed countries). As populations expand in poorer countries,
rural people are flocking to cities in an extensive urban migration
that is resulting in the creation of massive shanty towns and slums.
GREAT DIVERGENCE AND GREAT CONVERGENCE
Density Function of the Worlds Income Distribution in 1970 by
Continent, logarithmic scale: The division of the world into "rich"
and "poor" is striking, and the world's poverty is concentrated in
Africa America Europe Density
Function of the Worlds Income Distribution in 2015 by Continent,
logarithmic scale: The division of the world into "rich" and "poor"
was vanished, and the world's poverty can be found mainly in Africa.
Africa America Europe
Many times there is a clear distinction between First and Third
Worlds. When talking about the Global North and the Global South, the
majority of the time the two go hand in hand. People refer to the two
as "Third World/South" and "First World/North" because the Global
North is more affluent and developed, whereas the
Global South is less
developed and often poorer. To counter this mode of thought, some
scholars began proposing the idea of a change in world dynamics that
began in the late 1980s, and termed it the Great Convergence. As Jack
A. Goldstone and his colleagues put it, "in the twentieth century, the
Great Divergence peaked before the
First World War and continued until
the early 1970s, then, after two decades of indeterminate
fluctuations, in the late 1980s it was replaced by the Great
Convergence as the majority of
Third World countries reached economic
growth rates significantly higher than those in most First World
Others have observed a return to Cold War-era alignments (MacKinnon ,
2007; Lucas , 2008), this time with substantial changes between
1990–2015 in geography, the world economy and relationship dynamics
between current and emerging world powers; not necessarily redefining
the classic meaning of First, Second, and
Third World terms, but
rather which countries belong to them by way of association to which
world power or coalition of countries — such as G7 , the European
ASEAN ; the
African Union , and
Eurasian Union .
* ^ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/Third_World
* ^ http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/third-world
* ^ http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=Third+World Wallis, J.J;
Weingast, R. (2009). Violence and social orders a conceptual framework
for interpreting recorded human history. New York: Cambridge
University Press. p. 11.
* ^ A B North, D.C; Wallis, J.J; Weingast, R. (2009). Violence and
social orders a conceptual framework for interpreting recorded human
history. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 18.
* ^ North, D.C; Wallis, J.J; Weingast, R. (2009). Violence and
social orders a conceptual framework for interpreting recorded human
history. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 21.
* ^ Mimiko, Oluwafemi (2012). "Globalization: The Politics of
Global Economic Relations and International Business". Carolina
Academic Press: 49.
* ^ Phases of global demographic transition correlate with phases
Great Divergence and Great Convergence. Technological
Forecasting and Social Change. Volume 95, June 2015, Page 163.
* Aijaz, Ahmad (1992). In theory: Classes, nations, literatures.
* Aijaz, Charles K. (1973). The political economy of development and
underdevelopment. New York: Random House.
* Bauer, Peter T. (1981). Equality, the Third World, and economic
delusion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
* Buchanan, Pat J. (2006). State of emergency: The Third World
invasion and conquest of America. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St.
* Escobar, Arturo (2011). Encountering development: The making and
unmaking of the
Third World (revised ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton
* Furtado, Celso (1964). Development and underdevelopment. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
* Huffington, Arianna S. (2010).
Third World America: How our
politicians are abandoning the middle class and betraying the American
dream. New York: Crown Publishers.
* Melkote, Srinivas R. & Steeves, H. Leslie. (1991). Communication
for development in the Third World: Theory and practice for
Empowerment. New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
* Rangel, Carlos (1986).
Third World Ideology and Western Reality.
New Brunswick: Transaction Books.
* Sheppard, Eric & Porter, Wayland P. (1998). A world of difference:
Society, nature, development. New York: Guilford Press.
* Smith, Brian C. (2013). Understanding
Third World Politics:
Theories of Political Change and Development (4th ed.). London: