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Third World

The former colonies.

In the early days of the Cold War the world was divided into: First World (roughly the members of the OECD - the "developed" industrial world); the Second World, the Communist countries without a market economy; the Third World, at first those neutral between the two competing blocs, but later more loosely, the poor less-developed countries who cannot sell industrial products to the countries and therefore cannot accumulate their own capital.

The name Third World (le Tiers Monde) was coined by a Frenchman on the analogy of the Third Estate in France before the Revolution. They were the people excluded by the king from participating in the government of France. Now the Third World are those who don't participate in the First World economy, except as debtors and recipients of aid (less than the interest payments on the debts). Have the former Second World countries joined the Third World? Albania, Bulgaria and Romania in Europe are as poor as some of the Third World. So are Armenia, Kirgistan and the other former Soviet republics.

The Bandung conference, sponsored by Josip Tito of Yugoslavia and President Soekarno of Indonesia formed the non-aligned organization. Its main purpose (unstated) was to play one side against the other to secure more aid.

Last revised 6/9/07


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