Why do people associate third world countries with backward and poverty?

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HucktheForde
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Why?

It isnt always true.
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It is.
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DiddyDec01
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The majority of third world nations are backwards and in poverty.
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KingStannis
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It's basically the definition.
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Viceroy
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The notion of countries being designated 'third world' is a remainder from the Cold War, when countries that were not aligned with NATO and were not seen as economically significant in the conflict were designated as such. Today, countries that once fell into this category for political reasons are simply broad-brushed as 'primitive' and behind other nations. While some of these countries might not be economic powerhouses, that does not mean they are 'backwards' in every way -- There are humanitarian crises that happen in some of these places, of course, but there is a lot to be gained and learned from understanding the cultures of these countries (music, art, etc.).
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HucktheForde
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(Original post by Viceroy)
The notion of countries being designated 'third world' is a remainder from the Cold War, when countries that were not aligned with NATO and were not seen as economically significant in the conflict were designated as such. Today, countries that once fell into this category for political reasons are simply broad-brushed as 'primitive' and behind other nations. While some of these countries might not be economic powerhouses, that does not mean they are 'backwards' in every way -- There are humanitarian crises that happen in some of these places, of course, but there is a lot to be gained and learned from understanding the cultures of these countries (music, art, etc.).
precisely...you just said everything i want to say.

Singapore is a third world but it is in no way backwards.
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mojojojo101
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(Original post by KingStannis)
It's basically the definition.
No it isn't. First/Second /Third world refers only to alignment in the Cold War. Some people use the term interchangeably with LEDC but they are wrong to do so.
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StretfordEnd
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Arguing that third world is a leftover term from the cold war is like saying, 'Why are you calling that homosexual gay?! Gay means happy!'

In other words, pedantic and foolish.

In the same way that 'literally' can now correctly be used in a way that's synonymous with figuratively, 'third-world' can be used to refer to under-developed countries, whereas first and second-world are commonly used to refer to developed and developing nations respectively.

A pretty basic example of tautology to be honest.
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Viceroy
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(Original post by StretfordEnd)
Arguing that third world is a leftover term from the cold war is like saying, 'Why are you calling that homosexual gay?! Gay means happy!'

In other words, pedantic and foolish.

In the same way that 'literally' can now correctly be used in a way that's synonymous with figuratively, 'third-world' can be used to refer to under-developed countries, whereas first and second-world are commonly used to refer to developed and developing nations respectively.

A pretty basic example of tautology to be honest.
Apart from your denial of the etymological history of this term, you're not saying anything dramatically different from what I said. I, too, acknowledged the divergences amongst these broad economic categories (I assume you're using 'developed,' 'developing,' etc. to refer to economies).
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HermanTheTosser
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There are actually loads of fat Indians, even in India itself now....IT and all that *******s etc... Also most the US is addicted to burgers and MTV rendering it pretty feeble in human development terms, plus they dont have NHS.
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HucktheForde
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(Original post by StretfordEnd)
Arguing that third world is a leftover term from the cold war is like saying, 'Why are you calling that homosexual gay?! Gay means happy!'

In other words, pedantic and foolish.

In the same way that 'literally' can now correctly be used in a way that's synonymous with figuratively, 'third-world' can be used to refer to under-developed countries, whereas first and second-world are commonly used to refer to developed and developing nations respectively.

A pretty basic example of tautology to be honest.
so give me a published example where 'second world' is used as you described it, then.
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SarcasticMel
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(Original post by HucktheForde)
Why?

It isnt always true.
Erm, backwardness and poverty are key elements of why a country is classed third world...
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thunder_chunky
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(Original post by HucktheForde)
Why?

It isnt always true.
It's mostly true.
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by StretfordEnd)
In the same way that 'literally' can now correctly be used in a way that's synonymous with figuratively, 'third-world' can be used to refer to under-developed countries, whereas first and second-world are commonly used to refer to developed and developing nations respectively.
.
No, it can't.
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Fideo
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(Original post by TurboCretin)
No, it can't.
Yes, it can.
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Fideo)
Yes, it can.
I don't think it can. Provide me a link if you'd like to convince me otherwise.
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Fideo
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(Original post by TurboCretin)
I don't think it can. Provide me a link if you'd like to convince me otherwise.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literally

:in effect:virtually<will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice
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TurboCretin
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Did you read the 'usage discussion', though?

"Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis..."

'Literally' is not a synonym of 'figuratively', even if its use in a given context is consistent with figurative use.

Saying "that is a dog" is consistent with saying "that is a mammal", and saying "I ate some of the candy" is consistent with having eaten all of the candy, but that doesn't mean that 'dog' is synonymous with 'mammal', or 'some' synonymous with 'all'.
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insert-username
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that's the definition.

the problem is correct classification. in some cases certain countries are stereotypically percieved as third world when they are not, due to racism or ignorance.
a good example is Nigeria, a lot of people just associate 'africa' in its entirety as third world, paying no mind to the 46 seperate countries within it.

a lot of people have no clue just how wealthy Nigeria is, the strongest and most successful economy in africa. no clue the kind of lifestyle the majority of people there live. fun fact = vast majority of nigerians are a lot wealtheir/well off and better educated that majority of britons. many nigerians send their kids off to private schools in the UK and america and own properties around the world. schools have tuition fees, no such thing as state schools, so parents have to pay for their kids tuition, also all houses are gated, no such thing as semidetached houses. Nigeria couldnt be farther from the idea of third world. The current record holders for the smartest children in britain are nigerian. I'm half nigerian/canadian and half japanese. people always associated japan and other east asian cultures as being so strict, very smart etc. i'v obviously been brought up in both cultures and i can tell you my nigerian side of the family are simply more strict, extremely high standards and expectations of their kids, very wealthy and very successful. they are hard workers who expect only the best. I have cousins who got severe punishments (no internet or phone or entertainment for months) for getting 85% in a test because the parents expected 90% minimum.

but you'll never hear about those kinds of positive stereotypes being attributed to any african countries. instead people just pain 'Africa' with one big brush. its ingrained ignorance.

to contrast, not many people realise just how much of a third world country Russia is. Because people dont associate third world countries with europe or 'white' people, but Russia is actually a third world country and the only reason they are in the world stage is because of all the money they invest in their military and nuclear weapons. they have one of the most powerful militaries. but the country itself is piss poor, vast majority of people are poor, the education system is a joke. i watched a documentary a year ago called 'the english surgeon' its about a neurosurgeon henry marsh who's been volunteering in russia for the past 6 or so years, going there to perform surgeries that couldnt otherwise be performed due to the poor available equipment, bad hospitals and poor training. one of the russian doctors featured in the documentary speaks a lot about how bad the healthcare system is, how they have all these grand titles and big buildings to give an illusion of greatness but in reality the system is poor, the equipment is outdated or nonexistent and the training is poor. they spend all their money of military to make themselves seem like a powerful country, while neglecting basic things.
Obviously places like north korea are also third world

So really, the problem isnt with people associating third world countries with backward and poverty, because thats the definition.
the problem is correctly knowing which countries are third world and which countries arent. In the end of the day, these classifications, 1st world, third world are pointless and meaningless.
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Fideo
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(Original post by TurboCretin)
Did you read the 'usage discussion', though?

"Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead,the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis..."

'Literally' is not a synonym of 'figuratively', even if its use in a given context is consistent with figurative use.

Saying "that is a dog" is consistent with saying "that is a mammal", and saying "I ate some of the candy" is consistent with having eaten all of the candy, but that doesn't mean that 'dog' is synonymous with 'mammal', or 'some' synonymous with 'all'.
No one said literally is a synonym of figuratively, StretfordEnd just said it can be used in that way, and would be correct, which you agreed with in the bolded sentence.
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