What makes a nation “second world”? This is dependent on the time in which the label is being used. Following World War II, French demographer Alfred Sauvy divided nations into First World, Second World, and Third World countries in 1952. (though there is debate about whether he invented the term or adopted it from another source).
Democracy and capitalism, coupled with America and NATO, made up first-world nations. Communism and socialism dominated the Eastern bloc nations of the Second World, including the Soviet Union and China. Nonaligned nations were known as Third World countries.
During the Cold War (about 1947-to 1991), these meanings prevailed, but with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the phrase “second world” took on a new connotation.
Second World Countries 1947-1991
|Angola||East Germany||Mozambique||South Yemen|
|China||Hungary||Poland||Yugoslavia (1945-1948 only)|
|Congo (People’s Rep.)||Kampuchea (Cambodia)|
The phrase “three worlds” took on fresh significance after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Today, “First World” nations are regarded to be developed. Former communist nations are referred to be “Second World” since they are neither rich nor poor.
Nations in the “Third World,” and even those in the “Fourth World,” are regarded as developing or least developed countries by the international community. Since the word formerly described political ideologies, it has denoted economic states.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a well-respected and often used indicator of a country’s level of economic progress.
To arrive at a single HDI score between 0 (lowest) and 1 (highest), the HDI keeps track of hundreds of variables, including things like life expectancy, education, and per capita income (highest). Human Development Index (HDI) ranks each nation according to its HDI score.
- Low human development (0-.55)
- Medium human development (.55-.70)
- High human development (.70-80)
- Very high human development (.80-1.0)
According to HDI, the post-Cold War nations of the Second World have human development levels ranging from medium to very high. Slovenia, for example, has an HDI of.896, putting it in the category of countries with very high human development levels.
Slovenia is historically a second-world nation, although it is now regarded as a first-world country. The HDI for Kyrgyzstan is.672, which places it in the middle of the human development spectrum. This makes Kyrgyzstan a “Second World nation” in historical and contemporary terms.
It is necessary to differentiate between the historical and present meanings of the words “first world,” “second world,” “third world,” and “fourth world.”
Also See: Sanctioned Countries 2022
|Country||Years||Comecon and Warsaw Pact||2022 Population|
|Congo (People's Rep.)||1969-1992||false|
|Vietnam (North, then unified)||1945-1976||true|