Developing Countries

One of a number of different terms used to describe the comparatively poor countries of the world. Neither this nor any of the other terms is entirely satisfactory. The dichotomy between “developing” and “developed” countries seems grounded in ethnocentrism. As an alternative term, Non-Industrialized Countries is increasingly inaccurate as manufacturing operations relocate from rich countries to poor. Third World was coined in the context of the Cold War, the “first” and “second” worlds being the capitalist and communist countries respectively; the term is obsolete today. (Some people have begun speaking of the Two-Thirds World as a synonym, and among others the term Fourth World has gained currency to refer to the poorest of nations.) The Global South, a term gaining some currency in academia, is not literally accurate—for example, it excludes Australia and New Zealand—although it has the advantage of seeming more neutral in tone.