In Reply to: Definition of the Third World posted by Klara on September 29, 2001 at 16:06:08:
Originally, the meanings of the terms were as follows:
First World: the most industrialized nations that were not part of the COMECON (USSR and its allies). China is clearly not a member of this group.
Second World: the COMECON group (USSR and Eastern Europe) plus Yugoslavia. These were very industrialized nations but whose economies did not generate the high levels of consumer spending we see in the First World. In other words, the Second World remained at an early stage in wide scale industrialization, with their economies focused more on the capital goods sector and less on the consumer goods sector than the West and Japan. China was never considered part of this group.
Third World: less industrialized nations, ranging from those that were undergoing rapid industrialization (like China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and so on) to those at the early stages of industrialization (like Thailand, Nigeria, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and so on). China and India are very similar in many ways. Both countries have nuclear weapons and are the two most populous countries in the world. Both countries have very powerful militaries and large government bureaucracies. China remains a case of one party dictatorship. India is an open democracy. I think they are both still considered part of the Third World.
Fourth World: desperately poor nations with little industrialization, natural resource based wealth, or much else (like Haiti, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and so on). This is a recent term because it was felt that countries at the very bottom of what had been called the Third World were very different from the other members of that group.
: To all,
: since it's been up to discussion: can we agree on a definition of what a third world country is?
: In my view, it's more than being simply a "poor country". Help me out here.
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