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Old 05-21-2012, 06:11 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I don't hear the term 'second world' used much...but by my own definition, they are nations between the first world 'developed nations' and the third world nations truly struggling with poverty. I'm talking places where people are dying of starvation en masse, don't have access to any water that isn't muddy and infested with disease, people don't die en masse of diseases that are 'minor' in the first world.

These nations would include:

Thailand
Vietnam
China
Sri Lanka
Morocco
Romania
Mexico
Brazil

I would say for the majority, the quality of life in these nations is often not much worse or even on par with the first world - especially the lower First World, e.g. the US or Eastern Europe like Poland. People generally have enough to eat, even if they live spartanly, and family ties tend to be stronger in these emergent nations.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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ive been to two second world countries

argentina was ok , buenos aries was a combination of 1st world and third but its an enormous city , the abject poverty was like nothing i had ever seen yet even it would be mild compared to africa and india

hungary was a dump from top to bottom but a lot of that was down to the hungarians themselves been an incredibly dour and miserable lot , argentinians were friendly by and large , its a country which has a lot of squandered potential

both were very noticabley poorer than western europe , north american and australia however
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:24 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
ive been to two second world countries

argentina was ok , buenos aries was a combination of 1st world and third but its an enormous city , the abject poverty was like nothing i had ever seen yet even it would be mild compared to africa and india

hungary was a dump from top to bottom but a lot of that was down to the hungarians themselves been an incredibly dour and miserable lot , argentinians were friendly by and large , its a country which has a lot of squandered potential

both were very noticabley poorer than western europe , north american and australia however
Yes Eastern Europe seems more on par nowadays with developed parts of SE Asia and Latin America than W.Europe. In terms of real poverty, that's mostly the slums, a few rural areas in Thailand and Vietnam, but is more widespread in Cambodia. Many in Bangkok live lifestyles not TOO far removed from those in Kuala Lumpur (I consider Malaysia firmly second world at least, with many living at a first world level).

Vietnam has changed immensely since even 1990 - poverty is even lower than the US level! Although they might use a different measure. Most people seem somewhat happy, although they work hard, they don't seem to go hungry on the whole, socialize, go to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, holidays within Vietnam.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:05 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I would say for the majority, the quality of life in these nations is often not much worse or even on par with the first world - especially the lower First World, e.g. the US or Eastern Europe like Poland. People generally have enough to eat, even if they live spartanly, and family ties tend to be stronger in these emergent nations.
In traveling to different countries, I've often noticed an inverse correlation between how rich a place is and how strong family ties are.

Even in the U.S., the less affluent places tend to have stronger family ties in general.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Kowaniec, Nowy Targ, Podhale. 666 m n.p.m.
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Being from two countries you classify as "lower first world" - Poland and the US, having lived and extensively traveled in places which would then most likely be "upper first world" according to your classification; e.g. Scandinavia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and having traveled a lot in places you classify as "second world": Morocco, Romania, I think your observation is actually quite spot on.

Here's what I have to say:

"upper" first world:

Government functions properly in all aspects. None to negligable corruption. Very high standard of life enjoyed by the vast majority of people, including the working class. "working poor" almost non-existant - people that have a job, have enough disposable income to enjoy all the comforts life in a wealthy country should offer. Note that comforts does not necessarily mean luxuries, i.e. everyone has for example a washing machine, proper food, one to twice a year a vacation and access to good healthcare, but this should not be read as having a maid to do one's laundry, daily three-star dinners, holidays in Bora Bora instead of some place three hours away by plane and room service at your hospital bed.

Upper first world in my opinion is everywhere with a GDP over $30K and low levels of inequality.

"lower" first world

Countries which have the potential to be "upper" first world but don't make it because of them lacking in some aspects. Poverty exists, but generally not of a third-world level. Countries like the USA, although their GDP would suggest them to be "upper first world" their amount of working poor, and lack of access to proper health care for said population suggest otherwise. Or in the case of Poland, relatively low wages and crumbling infrastructure which make some aspects of life more difficult for a part of the population, i.e. if you need to rely on state medical care you need to wait 6-9 months for some operations as doctors aren't paid enough and not enough money is allocated to the public system, and everything produced outside of Poland is relatively expensive compared to our western neighbours as our wages are lower but the costs of imported goods are the same in Poland as they are in Germany. Still, everyone in Poland enjoys healthy food, a rof over their head, electricity and clean drinking water, and access to at least mediocre health care.

So, as "lower first world" - I'd qualify everything with either a GDP of say $10-30K with a relatively low level of inequality, or places over $30K with high levels of inequality.

"Second world"

Now, second world countries are in my opinion the realm of the true emerging economies, or the places which have the perspective of being "first world" but are so rife with corruption and ineffective government practices that it won't happen unless they do a major cleaning. Inequality can be excessive in these places, to the extent while one (good sized) part of the population enjoys a Western European upper middle class standard of living, while there is an equally good sized chunk of the population living in conditions resembling those in an African slum. Romania is a good example where there are (most often gypsy) villages without running water, electricity or even heating in the winter (whereas even the poorest villages in Eastern Poland will have good drinking water, stable electricity, good housing, and often even broadband internet and cable TV), while the people in Bucharest enjoy a standard of living similar to that in Warsaw or Kraków. Sure, this can say something about the gypsies, but it says just as much about the ineffectiveness of the Romanian government in solving these kind of issues. Or Morocco where they're building beautiful new roads and high speed railways, but in the meanwhile there are villages where the women have to walk a mile to get water.

Then of course, there is the Third World, which in my opinion is characterized by the absence of a middle class, and where upwards of 80% of it's population lives in conditions described above, often combined with the absence of opportunities to better one's life, even if the person in question does everything in their power to do so, and which are "blessed" with governments which do very little to nothing at all to improve anything about the situation, either because they're so corrupt that they only care about their own clan (Equatorial Guinea comes to mind), or they're so hooked on foreign aid that they have absolutely no drive to change anything... (like for example Uganda)
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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I think I'd take Thailand out of the list. I can't say I've seen any mass starvation there. As for access to clean water, there are options such as bottled water, or the large containers that are used to catch and collect rain water.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:39 AM
 
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2nd world is the hardest to define , when i think of 2nd world , i immedietly think of the old soviet union , when you think about it though , the majority of countries are probabley 2nd world , i mean even brazil is probabley on balance still 2nd world , chile is about the only country in south america which is 1st world yet no country on that continent could be considered 3rd world in the way ethiopia is
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Canada
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Just to be clear guys, while we can co-opt the meaning now to be a hierarchy based on the wealth of countries, first world, second world, and third world are historical terms with an absolute definition. The First World was, in the Cold war, a term for the United States and its allies. It had little to do with wealth and there were some developing countries considered First World before the term began to be understood differently because of how some started using it. The Second World was the communist world, Russia, China, and their allies. The Third World was a term for the neutral countries of the non-aligned movement who didn`t want to officially take a side and end up in a proxy war. Most of the unaligned countries were developing countries, but some of these Third World countries were places like Sweden and Ireland.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:12 AM
 
355 posts, read 1,120,400 times
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First world, second world, third world....is just an state of mind.

I've seen human beings that live a happy and full life with less than 30 dollars a month. I've seen millionaires that live miserable and petty lifes in first world countries...

I guess that first, second and third world bears no correlation with tap water, corruption or fast speed trains.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
5,929 posts, read 9,549,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I don't hear the term 'second world' used much...but by my own definition, they are nations between the first world 'developed nations' and the third world nations truly struggling with poverty. I'm talking places where people are dying of starvation en masse, don't have access to any water that isn't muddy and infested with disease, people don't die en masse of diseases that are 'minor' in the first world.

These nations would include:

Thailand
Vietnam
China
Sri Lanka
Morocco
Romania
Mexico
Brazil

I would say for the majority, the quality of life in these nations is often not much worse or even on par with the first world - especially the lower First World, e.g. the US or Eastern Europe like Poland. People generally have enough to eat, even if they live spartanly, and family ties tend to be stronger in these emergent nations.

Argentina would be second world, right? I mean, we dont have all those problems you say, and we are certainly in better shape than most of those places you mentioned. But of course we are not first world, so...
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