Is the Third World a myth?

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….or are there jst degrees of poverty? We always see pictures of Africa on the news but we never see pictures of abject poverty in Europe or the US! If an African journalist did a tour of the Southern United States, poor blacks in Mississippi, Arkansas, poor whites in trailers and the homeless or moving on to Europe a tour of Albania, the slums of Southern Italy, Portugal, major French cities, or the “Trainspotting” estates of Britiain, Africans might think that Europe and America were Third World. So is Third Worldness more a “perception”, or a matter of how much “Third Worldness” a country has within its borders?
I personally think that it suits the West to point to Africa all the time, that way people avert their eyes from the problems in their own countries- potential political dynamite!
I think people are missing the point, I am not denying the Third World…. I am trying to point out that there is no First World Country without a bit of Third World and vice versa, it’s more a game of percentages!
PS Alf, you speak with forked tongue, most of the trainspotting estates in Britain are full of British white trash and their eighteen children on benefits, not the ghettos full of immigrants that you would have us believe! A real eye opener for a South African!

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Nah, things are so far worse there.

Heavy D 2

Now this is much better ! I understand the point you are trying to make and agree in some sense .

sweet - angel

everyone like to pick on Africa in order for their countries to look good, poverty is every where and more so in Africa unfortunately.
we do have a third world and it is not a myth it is a label that was stuck on Africa

vikki w

Yes i agree we are quick to help people in other countries but what about our own, we have poverty here just as much as Africa but people just don’t want to see whats on their doorstep

john n

We do have poverty in Britain – I see it all the time – but we don’t have people starving to death or living in refugee camps or dying of treatable diseases and conditions………
Aparently their are rich people in the states who individually own more wealth than the entire GDP of some of the poorest countries – that’s obscene –


Yes, you’re correct to think there’s an advantage in having a “them” to point at when referring to poverty.
I seem to recall some third world country wanting to send aid to the USA when New Orleans was hit by a hurricane (I don’t think they accepted it).
Of course poverty comes in degrees.
The world is finite, we cannot add to it. Everything on the earth can be considered an asset, and world trade is largely trading the assets of different countries.
So it’s like the stock market, there are winners and losers, but the total value of all assets stays roughly the same.
We can scoop up assets from poor, less powerful countries, and those with corrupt administrations, and pile them up in the West, but that must leave a hole where the assets came from.
Those with the pile of assets have wealth, and those with the hole have poverty.

Bruce O

The extremely poor rate in the U.S. is far lower than it is here in the Philippines.
Fully, 45% of the people here go to bed(actually the floor or ground) with an empty stomach most of the time.
Many here have no home, access to running tap water or electricity.
I am lucky to be an American on a pension, except that I have to watch out for the thieves.
I don’t blame them and even help a few out, but there are so many that they get desperate and mob your gate if they even hear that you might give a little rice or cash.
No, my friend, third world is not a myth.
In the U.S., the poorest of the poor usually qualify for some kind of help. either free food, subsistance allowance or free housing and medical care.
No such fhing exists here, the government here pisses all the money away that other countries give them and the poor receive nothing!


Unfortunately, while some parts of the US have many poor people, there is no comparison to the staggering poverty of many African countries. In addition, many more suffer from diseases such as HIV. There are also political problems such as the genocide currently underway in Darfur.
In my opinion, poor families living in trailers are a long way from the real third world.


To be designated “Third World” a country must be severely underdeveloped. Their infrastructure in antiquated, at best. They have very few resources to combat even the simplest diseases that arise from poor quality of water.
A “Third World” nation is handicapped far beyond mere “poverty.”


No, then the boatloads of African immigrants heading towards European shores as I write this must be a myth too.
That degree of occurrence of “3rd worldliness” to which you refer helps to defines the overall social culture and quality of life in that country which will effect you in one way or another whether you want it or not.
I agree with you about some Western governments not addressing the problems within it’s own borders first, however a lot of the times that “problem” is the illegal immigrants from those “3rd world” countries.
How the problems of this 3rd world countries may be sorted out is a whole other debate.

Alf Garnett 13

The PC term is dveloped and under developed so you can make up your own mind and the “Trainspotting” estates in the UK you refer to are often ghettos established by foreign migrants.


I tend to disagree with you one way or the other because I come from the so called “Third world”. It is not a perception per say it is the reality we face on a daily basis. The gap between the “Rich n Poor” is wide & it contributes to alot of struggles even in acquiring basic needs. This is not to say that I dispute the fact that most countries in Africa are not well-up, but people struggle to get something out of nothing. Most of us live below the poverty line but we live and try to feed all of those we can.
Politics has greatly affected “Third world” countries and wars that never end. Diseases that are incurable like HIV/AIDS also contribute to the low living lifestyle in this countries.
I will also say that the “First world” countries, take even what is left of us in terms of money…. For instance, When we ask for Grants and they come with conditions of ownership of part of the “Third world” countries wealth or share of something that is valuable to us in return t the grants….Is it fare? Kindly educate me on this..
I don’t mean to fuss or anything, but is there anyone out there feeling me?
There are also those who are poor in the “First world” countries, and we cannot refute that fact. I tend to ask myself… why should this be while there are lots of opportunities that rise on a daily basis and does the revenue of the countries not have a portion for the poor……..


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