Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

What do you associate with the “third world”?

Asked by JLeslie (65077points) October 30th, 2022 from iPhone

What characteristics do you think about when you think of third world countries? Government, economy, living conditions, education, and the people, would be several parameters to consider. You can describe one thing that comes to mind or many things.

What countries first pop into your mind? Have you spent any time in the countries you speak of?

I understand the expression third world is not used as much now, but I used it on purpose for this Q.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Culturally, politically, and “religiously”: The US Bible belt and similar:

Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, etc.

Those are the only “third world” states I’ve spent any time in, in person.

More conventionally, I think of “third world” as a bigoted economic perspective on countries which have been abused by imperialism and/or the corporatocracy into attempting to modernize and instead being in debt to the World Bank, involved in wars, corruption, dictatorships, etc, and otherwise maginalized to gain cheap access to their natural resources and/or cheap/slavish labor, or otherwise victims of other behaviors. Most of middle Africa, and some of Southeast Asia and South America.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Teenagers with machine guns , poor drinking water, mud huts

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think of the families living in Mexico’s jungles with little shelter and no electricity. I think of India and children in huts with big empty bellies. So many areas all over the world.
I’ve seen it in Mexico myself.

snowberry's avatar

I’ve been to the Dominican Republic where much of the population live in huts made out of whatever they can find. We regularly contribute to help communities in Third World countries in Africa where living conditions are pretty much the same.

flutherother's avatar

I associate poverty, environmental degradation, insecurity, corruption, exploitation, and hopelessness with third world countries. Africa springs to mind and South America. I’ve been to the south of India where there are extremes of poverty, but I wouldn’t call India “third world” myself. Most people there have OK lifestyles.

janbb's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 Except for the “mud huts” you’ve described the USA!

Love_my_doggie's avatar

There’s no clear or consensus definition of “Third World.”

Originally, the term referred to any countries that didn’t align with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact, with no subjective meanings. The term wasn’t intended to describe a less-developed or economically-poor country. During the Cold War, several prosperous European democracies were Third World countries because they chose to remain neutral.

Over time, the term’s usage has evolved, without a clear or agreed-upon definition. Because of its uncertainty, and due to its negative connotations, I don’t use the term.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Funny how people from “first world” states seem to be flocking to “third world” states en masse.

“Third world” to me are countries that are not in an area that allows them to be geographically prosperous and/or they have poor/corrupt leadership that will not allow the kind of progress that lifts their general population out of destitute poverty.

Entropy's avatar

When originally conceived, the First World referred to the capitalist West, the Second was the Communist East, and the ‘Third World’ was basically everything else. Over time it became adapted to undeveloped countries.

Generally, I am a big believer that the main reason a country is third world is governance. I strongly recommend the book Why Nations Fail by Robinson/Acemoglu. You need a strong enough government to establish control yet one that is pluralistic and accountible enough that it’s not a dictatorship or creating it’s own resistance and downfall. It’s a more difficult balancing act than it sounds to someone who takes it for granted because they grew up in the West.

Cupcake's avatar

I use UN classifications. “Third world” to me is what I refer to as developing nations, found on page 4 of this report.

JLeslie's avatar

I asked this because many of my Latin American friends and family saw Trump as a third world type president, and today they call the US third world, or at minimum going in that direction. These are people who left the third world, who really know what it is like to live in those countries.

The most recent comment was after I shared with someone close to me what Tom Emmer posted on Twitter; he is firing a rifle and wrote #FirePelosi. I became aware of this tweet while watching Face The Nation (I feel that one of the better Sunday political shows). Here’s a link, you can scroll down and see the tweet.

The host had asked Emmer in the beginning of the interview to comment about the assault on Pelosi’s husband. Emmer completely and flatly said the violence is unacceptable and all violence is unacceptable. Then later the host asked about his Tweet and Emmer said he has the right to post it and wouldn’t take any responsibility that that sort of post might encourage violence.

Here is the whole interview if you want to see it, I think it’s worth watching, but it’s not necessary. It’s about 8 minutes.

It occurred to me he said he denounced the violence on Face The Nation, which none of the extremist alt-right people will ever see. Meanwhile, he keeps up his tweet, which they will see.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll just add that if I was answering this Q I would say when I think of the third world I think of corrupt government, which includes lining their own pockets in office, and making laws to help their friends and business partners. I think of less than par public education and not all children having access to K-12 public education. I think of socio-economically having very rich and very poor in a country with a relatively small middle class. I think of rule of law not working well and officials being bribed.

JLoon's avatar

I think the “third world” is wherever you can ask for Chunky Monkey ice cream, and get it with real monkey.

snowberry's avatar

Third World countries have medicine men instead of modern medical care.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther