Third World

Third World

Overview
The term Third World arose during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

), or communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (which along with its allies represented the Second World
Second World
The term "Second World" is a phrase used to describe those countries which are allied with or are supported by the "First World" countries . These include countries supported by the United States, such as Colombia, Israel, etc., and those supported by the former Soviet Union, also known as the the...

). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Third World'
Start a new discussion about 'Third World'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The term Third World arose during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

), or communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (which along with its allies represented the Second World
Second World
The term "Second World" is a phrase used to describe those countries which are allied with or are supported by the "First World" countries . These include countries supported by the United States, such as Colombia, Israel, etc., and those supported by the former Soviet Union, also known as the the...

). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions. Due to many of the 3rd and 2nd world countries being extremely poor, it became a stereotype such that people commonly refer to undeveloped countries as "third world countries". Third world countries included most of Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

The term is often used in a pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 way.

Etymology


French demographer, anthropologist and historian Alfred Sauvy
Alfred Sauvy
Alfred Sauvy was a demographer, anthropologist and historian of the French economy. Sauvy coined the term Third World in reference to countries that were unaligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or the Capitalist NATO bloc during the Cold War...

, in an article published in the French magazine L'Observateur
Le Nouvel Observateur
Le Nouvel Observateur is a weekly French newsmagazine. Based in Paris, it is the most prominent French general information magazine in terms of audience and circulation ....

, August 14, 1952, coined the term Third World, referring to countries that were unaligned with either the Communist Soviet bloc or the Capitalist 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
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, opposed priests and nobles, who composed the First Estate and Second Estate, respectively. Sauvy wrote, "Like the third estate, the Third World is nothing, and wants to be something." He conveyed the concept of political non-alignment
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 with either the capitalist or communist bloc.

Third World vs. Three Worlds


The "Three Worlds Theory" developed by Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 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 the Third Non-Aligned World.

Third Worldism


Third Worldism has been defined as "the idea, popular among Third World autocrats and many American and French leftists in the late 60s and 70s, that – contrary to orthodox Marxism's view that the Western working class would deliver the world from the tyranny of capital that ... Third World elites were the privileged historical actor."

History



A number of Third World countries were former colonies, and with the end of imperialism, many of these countries, especially the 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 today. This term, when used today, generally denotes countries that have not "developed" to the same levels as OECD countries, and which 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 that were considered to be 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.

Recently the term Majority World has started to be used since most people of the world live in poorer and less developed countries.

See also

  • Developing country
    Developing country
    A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

  • First World
    First World
    The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

  • Fourth World
    Fourth World
    Fourth World refers to a sub-population subjected to social exclusion in global society, or stateless and notably impoverished or marginalized nations.Fourth World may also refer to:...

  • Non-Aligned Movement
    Non-Aligned Movement
    The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

  • North-South divide
    North-South divide
    The north–south divide is a socio-economic and political division that exists between the wealthy developed countries, known collectively as "the north", and the poorer developing countries , or "the south." Although most nations comprising the "North" are in fact located in the Northern Hemisphere ,...

  • Second World
    Second World
    The term "Second World" is a phrase used to describe those countries which are allied with or are supported by the "First World" countries . These include countries supported by the United States, such as Colombia, Israel, etc., and those supported by the former Soviet Union, also known as the the...

  • Third World Socialism
    Third World Socialism
    Third World Socialism was a variant of Socialism preached by Nkrumah, Modibo Keita, Sekou Touré, Julius Nyerere, al-Bitar, Aflaq, Nasser, Perón, Nehru, Sukarno, Ben-Gurion, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Zulfikar Bhutto, Buddhadasa, Walter Lini and other such socialist leaders of the Third World who saw a...

  • Three Worlds Theory
    Three Worlds Theory
    The Three Worlds Theory , developed by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong , posited that international relations comprise three politico–economic worlds: the First World, the superpowers, the Second World, the superpowers' allies, and the Third World, the nations of the Non-Aligned...


Further reading

  • Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. (1992)
  • P. T. Bauer, Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion. (1981) ISBN 0-674-25986-6.
  • J. Cole, Development and Underdevelopment. (1987)
  • A. Escobar, Encountering Development. The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. (1995)
  • E. Hermassi, The Third World Reassessed. (1980)
  • A. R. Kasdan, The Third World: A New Focus for Development. (1973)
  • P. W. Porter and E. S. Sheppard, A World of Difference: Society, Nature, and Development. (1998)
  • H. A. Reitsma and J. M. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective. (1985)
  • Alan Whaites, States in Development, UK Department for International Development. London (2007), *
  • A. Huffington, Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream. (2010)*
  • P. J. Buchanan, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. (2006)*

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications/State-in-Development-Wkg-Paper.pdf

External links