Just as the term ‘third world’ was an appropriate Cold War term for “countries which were neither ‘Western’ AICs, with well-developed free market economies, nor countries of the Soviet bloc”, I view the term ‘developing countries’ as a reflection of economic globalization and view these ‘developing’ countries to be heavily laden with natural resources, and in most cases suffering from political instability, mass poverty, civil or foreign initiated conflict, or economic collapse (Calvert & Calvert, 2007).
What once was an international
stage filled with individual nation-states under a model of realism, with each
individual actor pursuing nation-state goals and interests, has now become an
international stage where the majority of nation-state actors are integrated
into a multi-level globalized economic market in which private sector actors
(corporate-states) pursue interests and profits within a model of realism
similar to how nation-states competed and warred with each other during the
period between the Treaty of Westphalia and the end of the Second War World.
With the creation of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council
after World War II, private sector globalization was granted international
structure through IGOs such as the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund
(which sets currency exchange rates to allow capital to move across nation-state
borders), and the World Trade Organization. The Marshall Plan set the standard
for private sector reconstruction.
During the Cold War era the global
stage was divided into a private sector capitalist market bloc and a communist
bloc, with ‘third world’ nation-states that were not affiliated to either. Once
the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the western nation-state powers, championing
the banner of free market capitalism, and the private sector wasted little time
in expanding the free market eastward to assimilate post-Soviet satellite
nation-states into the global market. Some of these nation-states were anxious
for the opportunity, while others, such as natural resource-rich
Bosnia-Herzegovina, required UN peacekeeping intervention. Today, under the
ideology that “Africans need the same things Europe and Japan needed after World
War II: infrastructure, energy, integrated markets linked to a global economy”,
the majority of ‘developing’ countries are in Africa and South America, many of
which are still dealing with political and economic ramifications from
colonialism as they transition into private sector ‘development’ (Zoellick,
2010). Similar to Marshall Plan after World War II, the private sector is
brought into a nation-state under the guise of reconstruction, or some other
humanitarian guise, behind the World Bank Group which “evolved from the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development as facilitator of post-war
reconstruction and development” (World Bank, 2012). Similar to how NAFTA
impacted South America, the “World Bank Group is already working with Africans
and Chinese to create industrial zones” (Zoellick, 2010).
of ‘developing’ countries become ripe for entry into, and open to the
exploitation of their natural resources, by the global private sector market
under three methods: 1) Political instability or post-war destruction 2) Extreme
poverty, disease, sanitation, or any of the UN Millennium goals or 3) Sanctions
and regime removal by unilateral nation-state or collective UN coalitions (which
means the carrots did not work, so it is stick time).
This is not to say
that the population of a ‘developing’ nation-state does not benefit in some
areas from foreign private sector investment, but the primary goal of private
sector capitalism is to maximize profit.
Calvert, Peter & Susan.
Politics and Society in the Developing World, 3rd ed. (Harlow, England: Pearson
Longman, 2007). Accessed on February 6, 2013 from
World Bank. World Bank Official Web page, 2012. Accessed on February 7,
Zoellick, Robert. 2010. The End of the Third World. The International
Economy (Spring): 40-43.