November 12, 2012
Background on Term “Third World”
In 1952, a French demographer, Alfred Sauvy, used the terms First Estate, Second Estate, and Third Estate to describe the social classes that are generally present in history. The status that the members of these classes held decreased as one went from first to third (Harmon, Jane, and Bronwyn, Harris).
At this time (during the Cold War), the modern world was divided into two main groups. One group consisted of capitalist countries that were part of the NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and their various allies. This group was called the First World. The other group consisted of the Soviet Union, communist countries, and their allies. This group was dubbed the Second World. This grouping style successfully described social, political and economic divisions among the countries ("Third World.").
The term “Third World” was used to describe the areas caught in the middle. The countries/regions weren’t allied with either side. Therefore, they were considered the “third side” in a battle between two ("Where Did the Term "third World Country" Come From? And...is There a "second World Country?").
The countries in this “Third World” weren’t as well off or as economically developed as the other countries during this time. As a result, the term “Third World” has become the word to describe developing or poorer countries without a steady economic development ("Third World.").
While some of the original Third World countries became very prosperous after time, many in Africa, Latin America, and Asia are still very poor. Many factors of a Third World country are “high infant mortality, low economic development, high levels of poverty, low utilization of natural resources, and heavy dependence on industrialized nations” according to firstname.lastname@example.org ("___ First, Second and Third World."). Many of these countries have the lowest levels of political rights and...
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