Why ‘Third World’ and why ‘development’?

Why Third World?

In all posts to this blog site the term ‘Third World’ is used as short-hand for those countries to which the term originally referred during the ‘Cold War’.  This is preferable to such terms as ‘Developing’, ‘Under-developed’ and ‘Less-developed’ worlds or  ‘Global South’. 

The term ‘Global South’ makes less sense than the anachronistic term ‘Third World’, which, originally, referred to those countries which chose to attempt to remain ‘non-aligned’ in the international confrontation between competing Western secondary ideologies.

Terms which reference these countries as ‘developing’ or ‘less developed’ judge them against Western standards and imply that they are  in the process of transforming from ‘traditional’ to ‘modern’  states. This presumption is both simplistic and pejorative.

The use of the term ‘Third World’ is in line with the adoption of the term by many of the countries these entries  reference through its use. As the site Nations-On-Line puts it:

Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. Many poorer nations adopted the term to describe themselves.

Why ‘Development’?

The frequent enclosure of the term ‘development’ in quotation marks is deliberate. While there has, over the past fifty years, been a strong belief among Western ‘development’ specialists that non-Western nations are swiftly metamorphosing into ‘developed’ capitalist nations, I do not consider this either justified or reasonable.

This presumption has resulted in policies and practices which assume that the problems encountered in Third World communities are transient by-products of the change process.

Rather than dealing with the enormous problems being created in non-Western communities by ‘development’ policies and practice, the specialists argue that change should be accelerated. It is assumed that it is not the policies and practices but the stubbornness of people that is the problem.
In the posts on this site that fundamental belief and attitude is strongly questioned. The problems of the Third World are not going away, they are growing.

As a common expression among evangelical Protestant Christians has it: “It is time to let go and let God”.

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