Thursday, December 18, 2008

Whatever World Do We Live In

I have privately gotten some comments about my use of the terms third world and first world. Seems they are old school, a total throwback to the Cold War.

Today, I am told that the correct term is Global South. But I’m not sure it makes a difference if I am politically correct here; my lack of political correctness has gotten me in trouble tons of times.

To me, this debate seems like a bunch of academic masturbation. I get that the original idea was that the first world was America, Europe and Oz; the second was the Soviet empire; and the third was pretty much the rest. And no matter what happened in that whole Cold War thing, those divides still exist. The things that divided life in the US, Europe and Oz and everywhere else are still alive and well. The only difference is that the first and second worlds have stopped directly manipulating them – now it’s just through foreign aid and trade agreements.

Besides, the URL for non-global south girl in the global south was already taken.


Anonymous said...

I like the name of your blog and I understand what you mean.

Global South does have a nice ring to it. ;-) But I don't get why it sounds any "nicer" or more "politically correct" than "third world".

As a side note, the only people who protest against my using the term "third world" are people who never left the microcentro/recoleta/palermo on their 2-week vacations, or people who live in what I call "palermo expat bubbles" who think they are in a cheap Europe.

Then again, I also have Argentine friends who say that "third world" would be too simple and incomplete of a description since the history here is so complex, etc. But you know, it's what you make of it and that's that. I say keep using the terminology that makes the most sense to you. This is your experience after all.

See? I too can be politically incorrect, ha ha


ısǝuɐıqɐɟ said...

First World refers to capitalism. Second World is comunism. Third world countries are those who are not aligned to capitalism or comunism. In the case of Argentina, I think it's closer to capitalism.

The term "third world" has nothing to do with richness or poverty. Argentina ranks 20th in quality of life (2009), and shares that place with the United Kingdom and Japan.