Third World Countries

The Lack of Development and Origins of Stagnancy

Mohammedali Roowala

Origin of the Term "Third World"

Some countries during the Cold War were labeled in this way to encourage cooperation between them so they could fight the superpowers of the Cold War (US and USSR). However, we cannot say that all developing countries are third world countries or vice versa.

What are first and second world countries?

During the Cold War, countries either aligned themselves with the US, the Soviet Union, or neither of them. Countries that sided with the US were named first world countries, those that sided with Russia were named second world countries, and the remaining countries were labeled third world.

Why these terms are outdated

For the most part, these terms were used to denote political affiliations between countries. These terms are now used to associate countries with economic prosperity, even though these two aspects are unrelated.

Reasons Behind Underdevelopment

Dependency on Other Countries

Corruption Within Countries

Lack of Education



Before the rise of the middle class, the majority of the world lived in a state of subsistence. After some countries developed to the point of gaining economic and global power, the underdeveloped countries became dependent on the wealthier countries. These wealthier countries exploited the resources available in developing countries.In effect, economic superpowers in the world can dismantle autonomous economies in poor countries to create a society that exists primarily to produce goods for a larger, more powerful country. This benefits powerful countries while actively hurting the smaller, less developed nations.

Corruption from the Inside

Sometimes the elite and powerful within a developing country can hinder their own nation from advancing past the state of poverty. In areas where bribery is considered necessary to acquire certain opportunities, the wealthy of a nation are the only ones with the means to take advantage of these opportunities. This creates a situation in which the gap between the elite and the poor consistently increases. These “opportunities” can also come in many different forms depending on who is the elite and which country is being affected.

Statistics on Corruption

Councillors in Zimbabwe work with housing officials to buy up property and sell it on at exorbitant prices – sometimes at up to 10 times its market value – to families desperate for a home.
Transparency International
In cities such as Jakarta Lima and Manila, the urban poor pay private water retailers between five and ten times more for their water than the rich pay for piped water.
Arianto A. Patunru

of parents surveyed in 7 African countries had paid illegal fees for schools that were legally free for their children.

Lack of Education

The Vicious Cycle of Illiteracy

Education can be very hard to acquire in underdeveloped countries. It is widely known that education of the public can greatly reduce economic problems and can break the trapping cycle of poverty. However, most children in impoverished countries do not have access to educational opportunities. Many kids also need to forgo education in order to work so that they can support their family. This creates a cycle in which each successive generation is forced to work to support the previous generation.


If an economy is not sustainable, the development it makes in the short run is basically useless since it cannot continue. The economy then reverts back to its original state of poverty. Most economies of poor countries cannot produce enough buyers for the amount of products made. This results in an excess of poor citizens and a stagnancy in the overall standard of living since there is no sustainable growth of the economy.

Sustainability within the environment is also just as important since if a country cannot continue to produce necessities such as fuel, food, and water, the country will eventually fall victim to famine, drought, and disease.

Possible Solutions


The first step is to utilize education to create a better economy and overall self-sustaining society.
Through education, countries can create laborers, entrepreneurs, and researchers. These three roles would work collaboratively to ensure a booming economy. Trained laborers would be able to work with skill and expertise in large companies and businesses created by the entrepreneurs. Researchers would be able to create technology to increase productivity.

Legal Framework

The second step to bettering underdeveloped countries is to give them a strong legal and financial framework to build off of for future economic decisions.
The economy and state of successful nations would not have reached it’s sustainable level without governmental guidance and leadership. A framework would also be able to encourage human rights, labor rights, and enforce important laws.

Individual Change

The third step is helping developing countries on an individual level. This method has multiple pathways than anyone could take to make a difference around the world.
Spreading awareness, donating to charities or NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), visiting the country and buying local foods and products

Make A change right now

Learn about projects you can donate to by clicking the button below