Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Third World

Caution: the following items uses swear words.

Yesterday’s post looked at First World problems.

The term Third World is commonly used in various situations and contexts but exactly what is it, how did it come about? 

According to Wikipedia: “Due to the complex history of evolving meanings and contexts, there is no clear or agreed upon definition of the Third World.”

Here are some definitions and explanations from The Urban Dictionary:

Derived from a time when the communist states were referred to as the second world, the third world is the less economically developed countries that hugely rely on richer countries

The Third World is all poor because of the richer countries.


Profanity mumbled to oneself when dealing with any form of inefficiency, deception, incompetence, malfunction, disillusion, ignorance, shortage, exasperation or failure.

The inspectors knew the bridge would collapse but they did nothing. Third world.

I've been waiting in line for 6 hours to get in. Fucking third world.

You only have a dial-up connection? Are you third world fucking kidding?


A name that is used for a friend that is from a country that is not up to standards of the western world.

buddy u have no running water? what are u, third world?


Not being cleaned-up to interact with others. This could include recently taken a dump, not being showered, not having brushed teeth, &/or dirty home

I'd love to have you over now, but I'm too third world. 


Any country that owes rolls of money to the IMF and the World Bank.


A term that refers to any “country” that exhibits several (if not all) of the following: 

Sandy, hot, full of hate, few (if any) exploitable natural resources, massive election fraud, genocides, outbreaks of diseases you thought were eliminated through massive vaccination projects of the 1950's, and a general complete lack of any semblance of an infrastructure, dictatorships, Peoples Democratic Republic of (insert name here) 


The term Third World was coined by French demographer, anthropologist and historian Alred Sauvy in a 1952 article when he referred to countries that were neither aligned with the capitalist NATO bloc (The First World: North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia.) or the Communist Soviet Bloc (The Second World: Russia, Eastern Europe e.g., Poland and some of the Turk States e.g., Kazakhstan, as well as China). Sauvy’s “Third World” term was a reference to the Third Estate of France prior to and during the French Revolution where the First Estate was constituted by the clergy, the Second Estate by the nobles and the Third Estate comprised the commoners. Sauvy wrote, "This third world ignored, exploited, despised like the third estate also wants to be something."

The above classification of countries and a Three World Model as typified by the map at the beginning of this post is today considered outmoded.


From the Encyclopaedia of World Geography:

What makes a nation third world? 

Despite ever evolving definitions, the concept of the third world serves to identify countries that suffer from high infant mortality, low economic development, high levels of poverty, low utilization of natural resources, and heavy dependence on industrialized nations. These are the developing and technologically less advanced nations of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America. Third world nations tend to have economies dependent on the developed countries and are generally characterized as poor with unstable governments and having high rates of population growth, illiteracy, and disease. A key factor is the lack of a middle class — with impoverished millions in a vast lower economic class and a very small elite upper class controlling the country's wealth and resources. Most third world nations also have a very large foreign debt.


By the way: although attempts were made to classify as “Fourth World” those countries even more distressed than Third World, that concept never proved popular. The term Fourth World has come to be applied to populations, cultural entities and ethnic groups whose size and shape does not map onto citizenship in a specific nation-state. It therefore applies to Basques, Kurds, Romani, even Australian aborigines.


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