Development and the third world
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Development and the Third World. Some Introductory Concepts and Definitions. What is the Third World?. Great awareness of contrasts in living standards Originated after WWII as a political category implying ‘positive neutralism’ in Cold War context

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Development and the Third World

Some Introductory Concepts and Definitions


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What is the Third World?

  • Great awareness of contrasts in living standards

  • Originated after WWII as a political category implying ‘positive neutralism’ in Cold War context

  • Talk broadly about ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ countries

  • Less affluent countries also referred to as: ‘backward’, ‘underdeveloped’ , ‘less developed or developing’

  • More recently terms used such as: ‘South’, and ‘2/3rds World’


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‘Development Worlds’

  • 1st World: largely Western industrial and market economies

  • 2nd World : planned economies-former East European countries but now shrinking rapidly

  • 3rd World: poor or developing economies

  • 4thWorld: the very poorest economies where little development progress has occurred


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How to Identify the Third World?

  • 2003 World Bank scheme based on per capita income (Per Capita Gross National Income) (www.worldbank.org/data/countryclass/ countryclass.html)

  • Low Income: < $735

  • Lower Middle Income: $736-$2935

  • UpperMiddle Income: $2,936 - $9,075

  • High Income: >$9,075



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Other Measures of Underdevelopment

  • But income is only one measure used to indicate levels of development-others are:

  • Literacy- Education Levels especially beyond Elementary School

  • Agriculture- Arable Land, Average Daily Caloric Intake and more generally Diet

  • Health- Lifespan (< 50 years), Access to Medical Care, Delivery of Family Planning Services


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Other Measures of Underdevelopment

  • Access to basic services such as potable water and electricity

  • Land- Owning, rather than renting, sufficient land to provide for an average sized family

  • Availability of Employment beyond minimal services occupations


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Historical Perspectives on the Third World

  • 1945-1955: Period of western disconcern-little interest in problem of underdevelopment; developed nations preoccupied with their own reconstruction and growing East-West-Cold War

  • 1955-1965: Period of optimism and high expectations; 3rd World was object of intense attention; primary belief-poor countries were lagging and with outside assistance they would catch up; various aid schemes conceived


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Historical Perspectives on the Third World cont’d

  • 1965-1975: period of growing skepticism; widespread disillusion with realization that development more complex than previously realized

  • 1975-1990: period of pessimism and re-evaluation; growing frustration brought on by worldwide economic crisis (increased energy costs, high inflation, massive unemployment, economic stagnation, growing indebtedness; expansion of deregulation, PVOs, NGOs; decline in demand for raw materials from 3rd World


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Contemporary Situation

  • Strong impact of globalization at all levels (nation, region, village and family) especially significance of firms searching for cheap labor

  • Democratization: empowerment and participation movements

  • Liberalization: deregulation and privatization

  • Women and gender roles in development scrutinized and emphasized


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