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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Third World countries and rights to development Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by akinbo a. a. cornerstone, Nigeria Oct 28, 2006
Peace & Conflict , Technology   Opinions
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The Third World was the newest of the world. The term was derived from the “Third Estate” which in European revolutionary language related to the commoners. The King was the first estate, and he ruled with the temporal and the spiritual nobles who were the second estate. The European experience was transferred to the International System where the major powers (USA and USSR) were received as the first estate, and the medium powers, such as Britain, France, Japan and Germany, were categorized as the second estate.

The bulk of the world population in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s were in Asia and Africa. In terms of the power configuration of the world, they were nothing, yet, in terms of population, they were nearly everything. The Third World includes over 160 underdeveloped and developing nations in the Middle-East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They accounted for three-fourths of the world’s population but less than one-fifth of the world’s production of goods and services.

In contrast to the industrialized nations, the third world depends mostly on the export of a single commodity or raw material, such as cocoa, coffee, copper, timber or petroleum. They are largely product of the decolonization processes which started hesitantly after the First and the Second World War. They were genuinely outside the bipolar politics and military alliances of the Western world under NATO and the USA, and the Eastern world under the WARSAW PACT and the USSR.

The Third world states, in the last two decades (1956-1976), developed a considerable sense of unity and solidarity among themselves, and they also established institutions within and outside the United Nations, such as Non-Aligned Conference and Afro-Asian solidarity organization, in which they have used these organizations to press for freedom, independence, equality and justice. An emerging characteristic is that it is from its ranks that the powerful OPEC was formed. It had influenced and will continue to influence the course of world politics and diplomacy.

Conclusively, the term Third World arose during the Cold War, when the two opposing blocs appeared to dominate world politics. Within this bipolar model, the Third World countries consisted of economically and technologically less developed countries (LDCs) belonging to neither blocs. Originated by the Martinique-born Marxist writer, Frantz Fanon, the designation was essentially negative and not always accepted by the countries concerned.

Although, political and economic upheavals in the late 1980s and early 1990s marked the collapse of the Soviet power bloc, “Third World” remains a useful label for a conglomeration of countries otherwise difficult to categorize. Politically, they are generally Non-Aligned. Some are moving out of their previous situation and may soon join the ranks of industrialized countries. Others, with economies considered intrinsically in capable of development, are at times lumped together as forming a “Fourth World”. Both the Western and the defunct Soviet blocs have tried to entice the Third world to follow their own example, but the countries concerned generally prefer to create their own institutions based on indigenous traditions, needs, and aspiration; most choose pragmatism over ideology.

The Third world states display little homogeneity; it is divided by race, religion, culture and geography, as well as frequently opposite interests. It generally sees world politics in terms of a global struggle between rich and poor countries in the industrialized North against the backward south. Widely advocated within the Third world is a so-called New Economic Order, which through a combination of aid and trade agreements would transfer wealth from the developed to the developing nations.

Right to development is a recent claim by the Third World countries arising from their predicament and thorough consideration of the antecedent of their colonial experience. The issue of development therefore becomes an issue of human right and justice. From the perspective of a Third world political economist, the history of Third world is the history of regrettable annihilation and derailment of developmental processes. It is the history of injustice and human right violation. These countries persistently suffer from neglect and indifferent attitudes from other developed countries for the past 60 years having been co-opted into the mainstream of the European economy and latter being adopted by their organized union- the United Nations.

They could trace their development progress prior to the infiltration of the Europeans in the 15th century and the actual occupation, imbalance and unequal exchange and later the political domination which had been seen by the analyst from the Third world as injustice of the deprivation of the right to self governance. Since the colonial era, the countries of Europe have been in the far front of world economy, they became the world powers in terms of economy and technology. Attention is also paid to some of the recent issues aimed at accelerating the development of Third world, such as, fight against corruption, food security, poverty, drug abuse, children and women issue.

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Writer Profile
akinbo a. a. cornerstone

A prolific Nigerian writer with a gift for words. Wrote under the pen name of Fad and Quad during the Military Era. Currently uses the "pscornerstone" signature.

An activist with religious inclination and respect for cultural heritage, he grew up streetwise and with great love for his country, Nigeria.

He believes that he who holds the word holds the world.
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