second world

What is the second world?

The outdated term “Second World” includes countries once controlled by the Soviet Union. Second world countries are centrally planned economies and one-party states. It is worth noting that in the early 1990s, shortly after the end of the Cold War, the use of the term “Second World” to refer to Soviet states largely fell out of use.

However, the term second world is also used to cover countries that are more stable and developed than the offensive “third world” countries, but less stable and less developed than first world countries. According to this definition, examples of second world countries include almost all of Latin and South America, Turkey, Thailand, South Africa and many others. Investors sometimes refer to Second World countries that appear to be moving towards First World status as “emerging markets.”

Some countries can be considered second world according to either of these two definitions.

Learn about the second world

According to the first definition, some examples of second world countries include: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and China, among others.

Regarding the second definition, according to geostrategist and London School of Economics Ph.D. Parag Khanna, there are about 100 countries that are neither First World (OECD) nor Third World (Least Developed Countries, or LDC) countries . Khanna emphasizes that within the same country, the first and the second can coexist; the second and the third; or the characteristics of the first and third worlds.For example, a country’s major metropolitan areas may exhibit First World characteristics, while its rural areas exhibit Third World characteristics. China has displayed extraordinary wealth in Beijing and Shanghai, but many of its non-urban areas are still seen as developing.

key takeaways

  • The term “Second World” was originally used to refer to the Soviet Union and the countries of the communist bloc.
  • It was subsequently revised to refer to countries that fall between first and third world countries in terms of development status and economic indicators.
  • The list includes countries from Latin and South America, Turkey, Thailand and South Africa.

Key Criteria Defining World Segregation

Criteria such as unemployment, infant mortality and life expectancy, living standards and income distribution can be used to determine a country’s status.

Even in the United States, some argue that while much of the country is fully developed, growth has stagnated in some places—or even regressed to something closer to the definition of a developing country. According to MIT economist Peter Temin, the United States has even regressed to the status of a developing country. Temin believes that nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population is in the low-wage sector, heavily indebted and less likely to grow.

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