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Third World nations vs the rest of the world.

Byline: Ilma Mustaqim

The term "third world" arose during the cold war to define countries that remained non-assigned with either NATO or the communist bloc. The terminology provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the earth into three groups based on social, political and economic divisions.

The economically undeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceana and Latin America are considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birth rates and economic dependence on the advanced countries. A French demographer, Alfred Savvy coined the expression "tires monde" in French in 1952 by analogy with the "third estate", the commoners of France before and during the French revolution, as opposed to priests and nobles, comprising the first and second estates respectively. Like the third estate, wrote Savvy, the third world is nothing and it, "wants to be something". The term therefore implies that the third world is exploited, and that, like the third estate its destiny is a revolutionary one. It conveys as well a second idea, also discussed by Savvy that the non-alignment for the third world belongs neither to the industrialized capitalist world nor to the industrialized communist bloc.

The expression third world was used at the 1955 conference of Afro-Asian countries held in Bandung, Indonesia. In 1956, a group of social scientists associated with Savvy's national institute of demographic studies, in Paris, published a book called, "Le tiers-Monde". Three years later, the new journal, on problems of underdevelopment was written with the same title. By the end of 1950's the term was frequently used by the French media to refer to the underdeveloped countries Asia, Africa Oceana and Latin America.

Third world economies are as different as the countries, well over a hundred nations make up the third world and their economies vary dramatically. Many of them are what you think of as the traditional third world nations with people who are dirt poor and relying on subsistence farming to survive. On the other hand there are the third world countries which have some of the largest economies in the world. Because of their enormous population, they are still quite poor on per capita basis. A number of third world countries have some of the fastest growing economies and will soon be first world nations.

There are a number of reasons that a country is a third world nation. The main one is poor policy on the part of the government; in most cases it is the greed of the government officials who are trying to line their own pockets that causes the nation to remain poor. This is most commonly seen in countries that provides cash crops. In many cases all of the countries arable land is used to grow crops for export so that the government can earn cash. The result is that food has to be imported and a vast majority of people live in poverty while a small percentage gets rich.

Being a third world nation does not have to be a permanent situation, a number of formerly poor nations have become developed nations in recent years. This is something that looks to be increasing as more and more third world nations are moving towards development. In fact it is happening at a much faster rate than it did in the past. It used to take many decades for a country to get developed, but now the rate has reduced to two or three decades. In the not but distant future, former third world countries like China and India will be the true economic powers of the world.
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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 2, 2013
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