Third World

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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 Communist Eastern bloc, and sometimes more specifically from the United States and from the 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 ConferenceBandung Conference,
meeting of representatives of 29 African and Asian nations, held at Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The aim—to promote economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism—was more or less achieved in an atmosphere of cordiality.
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 (1955), which resulted in the establishment of the Nonaligned MovementNonaligned Movement,
organized movement of nations that attempted to form a third world force through a policy of nonalignment with the United States and Soviet Union. Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Egypt, and Ghana were instrumental in founding (1961) the movement, which grew
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. 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.

Bibliography

See A. R. Kasdan, The Third World: A New Focus for Development (1973); E. Hermassi, The Third World Reassessed (1980); H. A. Reitsma and J. M. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective (1985); J. Cole, Development and Underdevelopment (1987).

Third World

countries mainly found in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, many having been colonies until the mid-20th-century, and today manifesting lower levels of INDUSTRIALIZATION and general living standards than the advanced industrial countries.

The term was first used in the early 1950s and taken up by Third World political leaders engaged in independence movements against European COLONIALISM. It signified the positive idea that politically and economically their countries would develop in ways different both from the first world, Western Europe and the US, and the second world of the USSR and the Soviet Bloc. Subsequently, the term has become associated with negative aspects of poor living standards, great social inequality, economic stagnation and political instability such that many people living in these countries now resent the use of the term. Alternatives preferred by some authors include underdeveloped, NEOCOLONIAL, less developed countries (LDCs), oppressed nations, peripheral or nonaligned countries. The recent emergence of NEWLY INDUSTRIALIZING COUNTRIES alongside countries that are stagnating or becoming poorer (sometimes referred to as the FOURTH WORLD), and the further division between socialist and non-socialist countries have highlighted the issue of whether such a blanket term is useful for referring to such a diverse range of countries. However, the term still has wide social scientific and general usage. Various attempts have been made to distinguish the Third World both qualitatively and quantitatively (see Thomas et al., 1994), and Worsley (1984) has defended its utility. See also SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT, DEPENDENCY, UNDERDEVELOPMENT, CENTRE AND PERIPHERY.

Third World

 

a term used in sociopolitical and scholarly literature to designate the developing countries.

Third World

the less economically advanced countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America collectively, esp when viewed as underdeveloped and as neutral in the East-West alignment. Also called: developing world
References in periodicals archive ?
They were carried from the heated atmosphere of the General Assembly's hall to the register of accomplished legislation on the high waves of successive third-world military, and political victories in the field.
I have no wish to determine here when the first great wave of third-world liberation subsided, for the decline of great historical movements is a protracted process which cannot be pinned to a definite date.
The achievements of first-world trade unionism (social democracy) in improving the conditions of labor in first-world countries may not be reproducible on a world scale; the dominant class in first-world capitalist countries can afford to make concessions to their working classes at the expense of third-world countries, to whom the burden of such concessions were shifted.
Most remarkable of all, development and trade strategies and policies (including a certain level of national planning and the development of a public sector), which were vehemently opposed in other third-world countries, were not frowned upon.
It is against this background that the series of summit meetings of the Group of Fifteen Third-World Countries must be viewed.
Projects like the study of ways and means for policy coordination and increasing South-South trade; the creation of a third-world database; and the criteria and measures of quality control and the mechanisms for strengthening the links between businessmen in third-world countries, have been assigned for research to certain countries.
In our contemporary world, especially in the third world where some governments may be more eager to curry favor with the Great Powers than to mobilize and educate people about the tasks ahead, the fact is that unless third-world peoples move forcefully and lead their rulers into a struggle for the realization of their goals, those promising formal meetings, instead of being the harbingers of a mighty wave, will recede or break up on the shores of perilous little bargains, as the example of the Palestine National Liberation Movement shows.
The second thing to register here is that the last Summit Declaration was much more preoccupied with pressing issues, especially those relating to the East Asian monetary and financial crisis, than with the big strategic issues relating to the position of third-world countries within the World Economic System, and how that system could be reformed.