Alternative to Third World

The term “third world” has a deep history, dating back to the Cold War when the world was divided between Western capitalism and Soviet communism. In 1952, French demographer Alfred Sauvy wrote “Three World’s, One Planet,” an article that divided countries into the three different groups we know today.

Three Worlds

Nations such as the United States and Western Europe were designated as the first world. The Soviet Union and its allies became the second world. Finally, all the other nations became known as third world countries. Over the years, the term “third world” began to gather a negative connotation of being less developed and economically sound than the first and second world.

Furthermore, what counts as the third world is not so easy to define. B.R. Tomlinson expressed in his article, “What was the Third World?” that the term is a “convenient and rather vague label for an imprecise collection of states.”

Peter Worsely, a proponent of introducing the term into academia, confessed that “the nature of the Third World seemed so self-evident in the 1960s that in a book on The Third World I published in 1964, I saw no need to define it any more precisely than that it was the world made up of the ex-colonial, newly-independent, non-aligned countries.”

This way of defining nations has long since been outdated. The Soviet Union isn’t even a nation anymore. So, if these nations aren’t the third world, what are they? Is there a more appropriate alternative to third world?

5 Phrases to Use as an Alternative to Third World

  1. Developing Nations – Many argue that the term “developing nations” is a better choice. Vaibhav Bojh, a credit manager at Punjab National Bank in India says, “Being called a developing country gives me a chance to improve.” However, this term comes with its problems too. While the term developing brings about a connotation of improving conditions, it also encourages the misconception that countries with big economies such as the U.S. are not still developing themselves. In 2016, the World Bank announced, “there is no longer a distinction between developing countries…and developed countries.”
  2. LICs and MICs – The World Bank is now encouraging a new classification based on income data. LICs and MICs, pronounced “licks and micks,” defines nations as low-income countries and middle-income countries. For nations that don’t fit either of these definitions, there is LMIC or lower-middle-income countries.
  3. Majority World – The term “Majority World” is often used to remind the West that these countries outnumber them. Majority World refers to countries where most of the population resides. On the other hand, the Minority World are the nations more commonly considered “developed” where a small percentage of the earth’s population lives.
  4. Fat and Lean – Describing a nation as either Fat or Lean, as proposed by Dayo Olopade in his Op-Ed, looks at the value in the operations of each country. Lean nations are resource-scarce so they use what is available more efficiently. As Olopade explains, in Fat nations “plenty is normal.” Olopade illustrates the positive connotation with the term lean, stating, “Individual Africans waste less food and water, owe less money and maintain a regional carbon footprint that is the lowest in the world.”
  5. Global South/North – This is a term that focuses on geographical locations. The term does not perfectly group all nations together. For example, Haiti is in the global north and Australia is in the global south. However, the term avoids any negative connotation.

“Third World” is an old and demeaning term that does not truly describe nations in the modern era. In truth, trying to categorize nations will never be entirely accurate. Every nation has its own culture and way of life. However, if we must refer to them using categories, there are plenty of alternatives to use that should become a part of our vernacular. Using an appropriate alternative to “third world” can help change the way that the world views its nations.

– Maura Byrne
Photo: Flickr

empower young leaders
Over the years, international organizations have taken tremendous strides in their universal effort to combat global poverty. In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals in an effort to end hunger and promote sustainability. There has been great advancement from countries such as Costa Rica and India, which have both made incredible achievements in meeting specific targets.

Furthermore, companies such as Volvo have also done their part by committing themselves to promoting a clean environment. Public-private partnerships are now becoming more common, as they offer opportunities for countries in the global south, who face immense challenges.

For these reasons amongst others, the U.N. recently launched a new initiative geared towards empowering young leaders in the global south.

Youth for the South

The project is officially known as ‘Scaling Up Southern Solutions for Sustainable Development Through Advanced Youth Leadership,’ or ‘Youth for the South.’ It will offer interactive sessions, on-site and on-the-job training, and distance learning for leaders of developing countries. Furthermore, it will provide an opportunity to younger generations to sit at the table, have their voices heard and come up with innovative solutions towards job creations.

The Global South-South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey, delivered this initiative in November 2017, as part of their six-publication launch. The initiative is designed as a partnership between the U.N. Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among others.

The crux of this project is to empower young leaders “to promote transformational change in their communities and countries, and to identify and adapt successful solutions.” Additionally, one of the major focal points is to enhance leadership development programs that will meaningfully impact the youth population across various sectors.

Part of this process will feature rigorous training by 30 to 60 young leaders selected by UNFPA from six developing countries. The trainees will not only possess the qualifications needed, but they will also maintain a strong personality, as they are most likely to influence their communities when they return.

Their performance will be monitored by representatives and staff of various U.N. agencies.

The Global Stage

The majority of the poverty that exists across the world is in the global south, which is why the development of this project should be effective to create universally meaningful change. This initiative will feature numerous phases tailored to meet the needs of those who lack basic training. The first phase will include agriculture and rural development, social protection, sustainable energy and youth employment.

UNOSSC urged the importance of working with the youth, as some 85 percent of the world’s youth are now residing in the global south. UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Alanna Armitage, emphatically spoke of the advantages that the youth will gain as part of this project launched to empower young leaders.

The initiative will help make important gains “at a personal level, really strengthen young people’s leadership by providing them with the skills and opportunities to build their own personal leadership.”

Improving Global Participation

Despite the strong contribution that developed nations provide in direct foreign assistance towards developing countries, the majority of them still do not meet the U.N.’s expectations. The irony is that countries like Turkey, who do not account for much of the world’s economy, are the second largest of humanitarian donors, spending $6 billion on humanitarian assistance.

One high-level U.N. representative noted that the 2030 agenda’s central promise to leave no one behind will “be elusive if [these] 91 countries … remain at the bottom of the development ladder.”

To empower young leaders is to empower our world. How this initiative will impact countries’ progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is yet to be determined; however, seeking to assist young leaders from developing nations by allocating the means to allow people to flourish comes at a vital time if we are to eradicate world hunger.

– Alexandre Dumouza

Photo: Flickr

Academics Stand Against Poverty
The international organization Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) recently launched a new global program. The academic association’s new Global Colleagues program pairs senior poverty scholars with less experienced researchers working in the Global South.

The organization’s mission is to help scholars and teachers more efficiently address poverty’s most pressing issues. Partnering scholars on opposite ends of the globe will hopefully help to bridge the gap. The goal is for younger researchers to find better funding tools and have increased access to informative literature.

Experienced researchers will be able to offer support by helping their colleagues with international networking, offering reading recommendations and suggesting journals for publication. Applicants will be matched with senior researchers according to mutual interests, and potentially cross-regionally as well.

The partnership is scheduled to take place over the course of one year. During this period, the Global Colleagues team will provide additional support to the matched colleagues.

The colleagues will maintain regular contact and continually assess progress made in the achievement of agreed-upon goals. In this way, they will provide an informative example of international cooperation and partnership with the Global Colleagues Team.

Robert Lepenies, Global Colleagues project manager, has said that scholars at smaller research programs in southern countries have “untapped potential.” He hopes that ASAP’s first global flagship program will help newer scholars establish themselves in parts of the world where the study of poverty is limited.

Lepenies reassures that it will indeed be a two-way partnership. While academics in the earlier stages of their career will be helped tremendously by the new global partnership, older scholars will also be exposed to new poverty perspectives. Because poverty is a much more prominent issue in the Global South, this is especially true.

Hari Sharma, one of the junior researchers from the Nepal School of Social Science and Humanities, offered some perspective on the partnership. As someone in a developing country, he explained that it will be particularly helpful to be in a network with others who can direct him towards more funding opportunities.

Sharma also hopes to provide his partner, Sonia Bhalotra, with some new perspective. Bhalotra, a professor at the University of Essex in Britain, is hopeful that by sharing her knowledge with Sharma, she will be able to help him expand his career. She does not, however, expect to gain much out of the program.

She explained that it takes a lot of time and effort for junior scholars to singlehandedly attempt to make contributions to the field. In comparison, it takes only a small amount of effort from more established academics to provide the help they need to achieve their goals.

With only a few weeks under the new program’s belt, it will be some time before it can possibly be judged as a success or failure. Regardless of the outcome, the leading academics studying poverty deserve a round of applause for attempting to employ connective international tools to solve a worldwide problem.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: Academics Stand, Inside Highered
Photo: Relational Poverty Network

For a variety of reasons, China has become known for its “interactiveness” with the global south. This “interactiveness” has included construction projects, student scholarships, and sending  doctors.

Recently, China began to fund five research centers in Africa and the global south in order to increase collaboration between Chinese and African scientists. The topics of focus for the scientists will include the climate, water, environmentally friendly technology, biotechnology, and space technology.

Using the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), $6.5 million will be distributed to the research centers over the course of the next three years. These funds will work to improve China’s soft power in the global south by conducting joint research projects between the CAS and the research centers.

Currently, there is a CAS network known as The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) that will also benefit from this Chinese outreach to the global south. Along with the research projects, the funding will also provide for an increase in workshops, training, and PhD programs.

According to Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa and a TWAS member, “The five centers will play an important role in global scientific collaboration by increasing South-South training opportunities.”

This collaboration is expected to increase climate change research. Yongqiang Liu, a research meteorologist at the USDA Forest Service’s Center for Forest Disturbance Science sees it as a good way to “prepare future leaders to lead climate change research for developing countries.”

Action through research investment should improve China’s image in the world. Currently, China stands at 50% favorable and 36% unfavorable among populaces from around the world. Comparably, the US was seen as favorable by 63%, and unfavorable by 30%. More specifically, when people were asked if they thought China considered their country’s interests, 27% thought a great deal with 63% saying either not too much or not at all.

There is still a great deal of room for China to improve its international appeal. By working with developing nations to improve research in sustainable technology and other important sciences, China can build off the work of TWAS and foster support from citizens in these countries.

Once the three years comes to an end, the education and collaboration should improve the environmental technology sector, as well as build the capacity for a future scientific community with various projects and goals. If successful, this move may be beneficial in regards to China’s popularity as well.

– Michael Carney
Sources: SciDev.Net, Pew Global

The Just Give Money Theory

For many, the eradication of global poverty seems an insurmountable goal, and foreign aid processes can be long-winded and complex. It is important to realize, however, that the solution to this important issue may be right under our noses, not to mention incredibly simple. The idea laid out in the book Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South, is to give aid as cash directly to those in need of it, rather than through temporary security measures.

“A quiet revolution is taking place based on the realization that you cannot pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots,” the book says. “And giving ‘boots’ to people with little money does not make them lazy or reluctant to work; rather, just the opposite happens. A small guaranteed income provides a foundation that enables people to transform their own lives.”

While many are skeptical about this approach, the results of this direct aid can be seen in countries around the world. Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, India, and Ethiopia are only a few examples shown in the book – the methods range from grants for those who have children in schools, those who are the poorest, or those who are elderly or children. In each case, there is significant change following these grants: child malnutrition decreases, school registration increases, and general health improvement and growth of local farms and markets ensue.

This method seems to be fairly effective, although it cannot solve the problem of global poverty alone. In addition to these grants, there must be some other methods of government intervention along the lines of investments in education, infrastructure, and health. The notion that the poor are to blame for their position in society is turned upside down by the positive results of these grants, and the money given will only continue to be put to good use in the fight against poverty.

– Sarah Rybak

Source: Pacific Standard
Photo: Fast CoExist