Geography, the State and the Third World

  • Richard Muir


The term Third World was adopted by American writers from the original term of French origin, le Tiers-monde. Most of the general and theoretical writing in political geography relates to patterns and processes in the Western or developed world — although this bias is seldom announced. The Third World is different in so many respects that conditions and problems here merit special consideration. This is not to imply that the Third World exists as a coherent social, economic and political division of the Earth, for within the Third World there are enormous differences between the Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs) or the OPEC member countries and most African states, with much of Africa forming a Third World within the Third World. Kennedy (1994, p. 193) writes that: ‘Nothing better illustrates the growing differences among developing countries than the fact that in the 1960s, South Korea had a per capita GNP exactly the same as Ghana’s ($230) whereas today it is ten to twelve times more prosperous.’ Africa, viewed by the World Bank as the most debt-distressed region of the world, contains three-quarters of the world’s least developed countries and accounts for about half of the world’s refugees (Ihonvbere, 1992).


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Copyright information

© Richard Muir 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Muir
    • 1
  1. 1.University College of Ripon and York St JohnUK

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