THE EMERGENCE OF THE THIRD WORLD
The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO, or the Communist Bloc. The United States, Western European nations and their allies represented the First World, while the Soviet Union, China, 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 social, political, cultural and economic divisions. The Third World was normally seen to include many countries with colonial pasts in Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Asia. It was also sometimes taken as synonymous with countries in the Non-Aligned Movement. In the so-called dependency theory of thinkers like Raul 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.
Third World, the technologically less advanced, or developing, nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, generally characterized as poor, having economies distorted by their dependence on the export of primary products to the developed countries in return for finished products. These nations also tend to have high rates of illiteracy, disease, and population growth and unstable governments. The term Third World was originally intended to distinguish the nonaligned nations that gained independence from colonial rule beginning after World War II from the Western nations and from those that formed the former Eastern bloc, and sometimes more specifically from the United States and from the former Soviet Union (the first and second worlds, respectively). For the most part the term has not included China. Politically, the Third World emerged at the Bandung Conference (1955), which resulted in the establishment of the Nonaligned Movement. Numerically, the Third World dominates the United Nations, but the group is diverse culturally and increasingly economically, and its unity is only hypothetical. The oil-rich nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya, and the newly emerged industrial states, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, have little in common with desperately poor nations, such as Haiti, Chad, and Afghanistan.
THE THIRD WORLD
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 or China. Historically, some European countries were part of the non-aligned movement and a few were and are very prosperous, including Austria, Ireland and Switzerland.
Over the last few decades since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term Third World has been used interchangeably with the least developed countries, Global South and developing countries to describe poorer countries that have struggled to attain steady economic development, a term that often includes “Second World” countries like Laos. This usage, however, has become less preferred in recent years. Recently the term Majority World has come into use, since most people of the world live in poorer and less developed countries.
Most Third World countries were 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.Third World is a term originally used to distinguish those nations that neither aligned with the West nor with the East during the Cold War. These countries are also known as the Global South, developing countries, and least developed countries in academic circles. Development workers also call them the two-thirds world and The South. Some dislike the term developing countries as it implies that industrialisation is the only way forward, while they believe it is not necessarily the most beneficial.
Many “third world” countries are located in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They are often nations that were colonized by another nation in the past. The populations of third world countries are generally very poor but with high birth rates. In general they are not as industrialized or technologically advanced as the first world. The majority of the countries in the world fit this classification.The term “third world” was coined by economist Alfred Sauvy in an article in the French magazine L’Observateur of August 14, 1952. It was a deliberate reference to the “Third Estate” of the French Revolution. Tiers monde means third world in French. The term gained widespread popularity during the Cold War when many poorer nations adopted the category to describe themselves as neither being aligned with NATO or the USSR, but instead composing a non-aligned “third world” (in this context, the term “First World” was generally understood to mean the United States and its allies in the Cold War, which would have made the East bloc the “Second World” by default; however, the latter term was seldom actually used). Leading members of this original “third world” movement were Yugoslavia, India, and Egypt. Many third world countries believed they could successfully court both the communist and capitalist nations of the world, and develop key economic partnerships without necessarily falling under their direct influence. In practice, this plan did not work out quite so well; many third world nations were exploited or undermined by the two superpowers who feared these supposedly neutral nations were in danger of falling into alignment with the enemy. After World War II, the First and Second Worlds struggled to expand their respective spheres of influence to the Third World. The militaries and intelligence services of the United States and the Soviet Union worked both secretly and overtly to influence Third World governments, with mixed success.
A phrase commonly used to describe a developing nation, but actually started as term used to describe a country’s allegiance. A Third World country is a country whose views are not aligned with NATO and capitalism or the Soviet Union and communism. The use of the term Third World started during the Cold War and was used to identify which of three categories the countries of the world aligned with. The First World meant that you aligned withe NATO and capitalism, and the Second World meant you supported Communism and the Soviet Union.
Developing nations are commonly referred to as Third World. These developing countries can be found in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. These countries were at one point colonies which were formally lead by imperialism. The end of imperialism forced these colonies to survive on their own. The term was then affiliated to the economic situation of these former colonies and not their social alliances to either capitalism or communism.
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• • “The ‘North’ and the ‘South'”
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• • Literal translation from French
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