In its most fundamental sense, the word “world” denotes the totality of human beings, to everything that exists or to all that exists. The nature of the world is conceived differently in various disciplines. Some conceptions regard the world as independent while some speak of a “singular realm” or a “unity of worlds”. Still, other theories treat the world as a constructionism. Still others view the world in an environmental perspective and attempt to explain it within natural laws.
Is the world divided into smaller parts or regions? The answer to this question depends on how one examines world opinion. In the developed world, there are many regions. Europe and Asia as well as North America, South America and Australia constitute a region. But when you go to a third world country, such as that of India, you find that there is widespread poverty and extreme political and social fragmentation.
What about the developing world? The third world is home to many poor countries with regard to income and standard of living, including Africa, Latin America and some parts of the Middle East. However, when it comes to human development, there is no comparison between the developed and the developing world. While it may be true that the richest countries in the world tend to have the least number of people living in extreme poverty, this is not the case for the third world.
Why is there poverty and widespread misery in the developing world? The answer lies primarily on three factors. First, the demographics of the developing countries are so diverse that the rules of development apply unevenly. Second, corruption and lack of good infrastructure are major barriers to overall human development. Third, in some countries the lack of basic infrastructure and poor health care contribute to very rapid improvements in life expectancy and standard of living.
One could say that the poor people in the developing world fall below the middle-income countries’ bracket because they are unable to afford to buy products that belong to affluent nations. But even then, the poor people in the third world have made immense intellectual and social progress by leaps and bounds. If it were not for them, things would be much worse than they are. There is something called “structural deficit” – there is a difference between the amount of growth needed to bring something up to a certain level vs. the amount of growth necessary to make it genuinely popular – that is why things are so uneven. That is also the main reason why many in the developing world feel that they are being left out.
The global south and the middle-income countries can take heart from this reality: there are plenty of opportunities out there for those who work hard enough. Even in the third world countries, there are ample opportunities for people who are willing to do the grunt work. But it will always take some effort. And that’s where the “developed world” gets it wrong. Those in the third world need to wake up to reality – the developed countries are doing everything in their power to help the poor people of the developing countries – and one way they are doing this is by buying from them.