Thursday, February 7, 2013

Third World was for Cold War, Developing is for Globalization

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).

The majorities 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, 2012 from,,contentMDK:20653660~menuPK:72312~pagePK:51123644~piPK:329829~theSitePK:29708,00.html
Zoellick, Robert. 2010. The End of the Third World. The International Economy (Spring): 40-43.

No comments:

Post a Comment