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Monday, December 12, 2011

America, Third World Country?

 Today I overheard a lady talking about Jane Fonda’s appearance on Piers Morgan. She mentioned that most Americans have never visited a “third world country” and that we soon may be living in one. It got me thinking, what really is the definition of a third world country and how would you know if you saw one?

During the “Cold War” period the three worlds would have looked like this:

First World: Countries that were both capitalistic and democratic. The first world includes the United States and its allies such as Canada, Japan and Australia. These are highly developed countries.

Second World: Countries, which are allied with or supported by “First World” countries. Many times these were communist-socialist states. The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China and their allies.

Third World: neutral and non-aligned countries.  Most of Africa, Latin America and Asia fell into this category.

French demographer, Alfred Sauvy, who is credited with coining the term wrote, "Like the third estate, the Third World is nothing, and wants to be something."

Although the strict interpretations of these labels are outdated, you’ll still here people refer to a country as a “Third World” nation.  That label is a pejorative description for poor and undeveloped in terms of economic, political and social structures.

With our overwhelming debt, never ending war entanglements, lack of political leadership, and the ever widening gulf between the 1% and the 99%, how close are we to “third world status?’

Is the American Dream on its’ way out or has it already left?

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