The term “third world” is usually no longer used for the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Instead, one speaks of "developing countries", "poor countries" or the "global south". It is therefore an outdated term?
by Peter Niggli
One could say that because there is no longer a first and second world, that is, no cold war between the "free west" and the Soviet empire, there is no need to speak of a third world. However, the French geographer Alfred Sauvy, who coined the term in 1952, did not simply count it to one, two, three. According to him, "the underdeveloped countries, ignored, exploited, despised" represented the "third level" of world society, which now "finally wanted to be something". Sauvy understood the third world in analogy to the disenfranchised masses before the French Revolution. In this sense, the term stands for the anti-colonial liberation movements and wars in Asia and Africa as well as for the efforts of Latin American political forces to free their countries from the guardianship of the USA.