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Emergence of Third World Countries

Question:

Discuss About The Countries And International Organizations?

The concept of Third World emerged during the Cold War when the world was divided into two blocs –the Liberalist USA and the Communist Soviet (Altbach & De Wit, 2015). The nations that decided not to support either of the two blocs ended up being designated as Third World nations and since then, debate regarding the development of the Third World became a serious issue (Spolaore & Wacziarg, 2013).

During the 1950s and 1960s, scholars formulated certain theories of underdevelopment that gradually lost significance at the later part of the 19th More specifically the theories that were developed as tools to analyze the Third World gradually seemed to be negated by later theorists (Hurrell, 2013).

Although theories of management were formulated as early as the 1930s, Walt Whitman Rostow provided the most widely accepted modernization theory of development in1960. His five stages of development included Traditional society, Preconditions for take-off, Take-off, Drive to maturity and Age of high mass consumption (Ács & Naudé, 2013).

Third-Worldism gave rise to differences of opinion amongst development theorists where one group focused on development within international economic system, dividing the world economy into core and periphery.

The later theories like the dependency theory countered the modernization theory stating that not all nations follow the same stages of development. According to dependency theorists, the trend of development in the Third World cannot be measured through uniform stages of development as applied in European and Western nations (Bergek & Onufrey, 2013). They argued that rich nations drained wealth from the poor nations in the name of development.

Matthews (2017) while arguing in favor of dependency theory, states that the theory provided a clear perspective on the need for reassessment of developmental procedures for Third World nations. Bull and Bøås (2012) however argue that both modernization and dependency theory failed to provide viable solutions to the problems of development even today.

As mentioned by Berger and Weber (2014), the emergence of the concept of Third World, gave rise to two different worlds. One was identified by the modernization theory that accounted for the developed Europe and North American states whereas the other world was characterized by the dependency theory.

Third World development deviated from the developmental ideals of the so-called First and Second Worlds of Western and European nations.

After the Second World War, the United Nations came into being that looked to provide concrete solutions for the affected nations. It was observed that most of the policies and ideas initiated by the UN reflected the developmental ideals of the developed nations. Leaders of the Third World nations realized that the UN functioned as per the ideologies of the powerful nations. This led to the formation of several Third World organizations that included BRICS, SAARC and few others” (Ahmad & Sehgal, 2017).

McArthur and Werker (2016) point out that the end of the Cold War and the formation of the UN led to several trends majorly related to the Third World Nations. The first major trend was the greater role played by Third World nations in the global economy followed by access to advanced technologies. In addition, the Third World nations formed their own organizations to tackle “basic human needs”. However, the trends were not positive entirely as the era was also characterized by the “evolution of a complex set of problems in spite of the progress”.

Development Theories in Third World Nations

Development, as characterized by the developed nations, refers mainly to industrialization. Countries that are less industrialized are categorized as developing or underdeveloped nations. However, this notion of development was rejected by the Third World nations who believed that being highly industrialized fulfills only a segment of development and does not signify overall development. Hadjimichalis and Hudson (2014) identified that the concept of Third Worldism resulted in the formulation of development theories that deviated from the Western and European nations.

The economic development theories articulated by Adam Smith and Karl Marx talked about two contrasting development ideologies. These theories acted as the base for differentiating development patterns in Third World and European and Western nations.

Adam Smith’s notion of an economically strong nation was based on the effectiveness of the division of labor. As Fainshmidt et al. (2016) note, Smith believed that the economy that is free from government interference and that promotes free trade, competition and private property, is more likely to usher. This notion of economic development is still reflected in the developed nations though not entirely. Karl Marx, in contrast to this, argued in favor of government interference and “public ownership of property”.

It is evident from the ideas proposed by both the theorists that development had different connotations to different people and in different settings. Third Worldism emerged as a concept that seemed to propagate both these theories as per their suitability in different settings. This also led to conflict of ideas within the Third World.

Until the introduction of neoclassical models of development, the dependency theory was sought to be the perfect theory that recognized the need for a different development pattern for Third World nations.

Dependency theory, as already stated, proposed that the lack of development in Third World developing nations existed not due to their own fault but because of European and Western domination. The theory further elaborates that the domination over developing nations by multinational corporations resulted in further deterioration of the developing nations. Benefits extracted by the MNCs in the name of development for poor nations hardly ever reached the concerned population, stated the theory.

In the later years of the 20th century however, the dependency theory received criticism from the neoclassical theorists. According to the proponents of the neoclassical counter-revolution models of development, underdevelopment in Third World nations was not a result of international dominance or dependence; rather it was a result of domestic issues (Casson, 2015). The model stated that rising corruption, poor allocation of resource, heavy price distortion by government and other such factors contributed to underdevelopment.

Modern concepts of sustainable development and initiatives like Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) by the UN are criticized for being imposed majorly upon developing nations. The issue of sustainability cannot be resolved unless developed nations take serious steps than just prophesy others what to do.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the UN aims to achieve development in all the nations of the world without harming the environment. The proposal initially seemed remarkable as for the first time did nations focused on the sustainable aspect of development. As noted by Battersby (2017), SDGs and the MDGs introduced by the UN was a revolutionary idea that had the capability to provide solution to problems that had been withheld for decades.

The SDGs and MDGs that hoped to eradicate poverty and combat other issues that were responsible for underdevelopment, were largely criticized for being biased (Ft.com, 2018). It was perceived to be a list of activities prescribed by the Western and European nations to the Third World developing nations to tackle issues of underdevelopment.

It is but imperative to state that the developed nations failed to recognize their own faults. While preaching the poorer economies, they forgot to realize that their own economy had been responsible for the damage done to the overall cause of development. Therefore, the development theories and models and the initiatives taken over the decades had been influenced by the concept of Third Worldism as is evident from the current picture.

Conclusion

In the end, it can be observed from the above argument that the emergence of Third World concept changed the course of developmental discussions. Theorists and scholars emerging from different Third World nations refused to accept the methods of development prescribed by the developed nations. The essay has presented arguments and views by several authors on the topic and established that Third Worldism did have an impact of development theory. 

References:

Ács, Z. J., & Naudé, W. (2013). Entrepreneurship, stages of development, and industrialization. Pathways to industrialization in the Twenty-First Century, 373-392.

Ahmad, W., & Sehgal, S. (2017). Business Cycle and Financial Cycle Interdependence and the Rising Role of China in SAARC. Journal of Quantitative Economics , 1-26.

Altbach, P. G., & De Wit, H. (2015). Internationalization and global tension: Lessons from history. Journal of studies in international education, 19(1), 4-10.

Battersby, J. (2017). MDGs to SDGs–new goals, same gaps: the continued absence of urban food security in the post-2015 global development agenda. African Geographical Review, 36(1), 115-129.

Bergek, A., & Onufrey, K. (2013). Is one path enough? Multiple paths and path interaction as an extension of path dependency theory. Industrial and Corporate Change, 23(5), 1261-1297.

Berger, Mark & Weber, Heloise. (2014). Third World Rising: Decolonization, the Cold War and Third Worldism. 40-59. 10.1007/978-1-137-44112-6_3.

Bull, B., & Bøås, M. (2012). Between Ruptures and Continuity: Modernisation, Dependency and the Evolution of Development Theory. Forum for Development Studies, 39(3), 319–336. doi:10.1080/08039410.2012.688860

Casson, M. (2015). Coase and international business: the origin and development of internalisation theory. Managerial and Decision Economics, 36(1), 55-66.

Fainshmidt, S., Judge, W. Q., Aguilera, R. V., & Smith, A. (2016). Varieties of institutional systems: A contextual taxonomy of understudied countries. Journal of World Business.

Hadjimichalis, C., & Hudson, R. (2014). Contemporary crisis across Europe and the crisis of regional development theories. Regional Studies, 48(1), 208-218.

Hurrell, A. (2013). Narratives of management : Rising powers and the end of the Third World?. Revista de Economia Política, 33(2), 203-221.

Matthews, S. (2017). Colonised minds? Post-development theory and the desirability of development in Africa. Third World Quarterly, 38(12), 2650–2663. doi:10.1080/01436597.2017.1279540

McArthur, J. W., & Werker, E. (2016). Developing countries and international organizations: Introduction to the special issue.

Spolaore, E., & Wacziarg, R. (2013). How deep are the roots of economic development?. Journal of Economic Literature, 51(2), 325-69.

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