Traditional ways of dividing the world

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  • First, second, third and fourth worlds
    • This early method of dividing up the world was from a Western European perspective.
    • Traditional ways of dividing the World
      • North / South
        • The Brandt Report on the state of the world development was published in 1971.
        • It made a simple decision, contrasting economically wealthier and industrialised countries with poorer, less mature and largely agricultural ones.
        • The system has decreased in popularity as economies have become more varied and the model is too simple.
        • A line called the North-South divide was drawn on a world map to make this difference clear.
        • The development indicator used was GNP which is a measure of a country's wealth.
      • Development
        • This is sometimes not accepted as countries are not only economically developed but culturally and socially developed and rich culture can be overlooked in a poor country.
        • Another simple two-fold division is by separating the more economically developed countries, MEDC, and the less economically developed countries, LEDC.
        • Some LEDC's are growing more rapidly than than most MEDC's and so the new category of NIC's has been introduced. These are Newly Industrialising Countries.
      • The five-fold division based on wealth
        • A new model is based on wealth. The categories are 1) Rich industrialising countries, 2) oil exporting countries, 3) Newly industrialising countries, 4) formally centrally planned/ communist, 5) Heavily indebted poor countries
        • There is a clear division between well doing poor countries, 3), and very poor countries, 5). Debt is a big cause of poverty.
        • Oil exporting countries are often fairly wealthy, However a minority of the population are rich and the rest are poor.
        • The UK would be s Rich industrialising country as we are very wealthy.
    • Europeans saw themselves as the first world.
    • This system had no place for Communist countries which were fairly well developed and had never been European colonies, they were added to the second world but this was un satisfactory.
    • Poorer countries were grouped together as the third world.
    • The poorest countries - those that stood still or declined in regards of economic growth were known as the fourth world.
    • The wealthier regions they colonised, such as North America, were referred to as the second world.


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