It can be argued that the concepts of 'third world' and 'development' are interrelated and although each has a distinct definition, they are said to be highly correlated. The term 'third world' became a term used to identify the world's underdeveloped countries and it became quite popular during the 1960 s. Nations categorised as 'third world' countries are usually characterised by being poor and technologically backward although their potential for advancement was not doubted, as they usually possessed .".. In their territories a great wealth of mineral, vegetable and energy resources." However, it can be argued that the term 'third world' is being used less frequently as terms such as undeveloped, underdeveloped, developing or 'Less Developed Countries' (LDCs) are being used instead. It is worth noting that the so-called 'third world' .".. Comprises 60% of the earth's surface and is the home of about 70% of the human race." However, it's quite useful to keep in mind that 'third world' countries differ greatly from one another in terms of geographical position, cultural traditions, climate, etc...
leading us to avoid the common mistake of studying all 'third world' countries as though they were one. Nonetheless, most LDCs or 'third world' countries are said to have a number of common characteristics such as being lenient on exporting primary products and having 'subsistence economies' where the secondary sector is quite small, which usually means that these countries rely on the export of one or two cash crops, for example, cotton. Additionally, the life expectancy in these countries is said to be low, for example, the life expectancy in Ethiopia is 39 years. Furthermore, 'third world' countries usually have 'dependant' populations resulting from the ever growing birth rates which, in turn, might mean higher unemployment, lower education and literacy rates and gender inequality. Moreover, people in these countries are said to suffer from a number of diseases especially nutrition diseases such as rickets which, in turn, id due to poor health services.
It can be argued that there has been efforts from developed countries of the 'first world' to support and help the undeveloped countries especially after the Second World War, when people's awareness to the sufferings of the people in these countries was raised, although the effectiveness and usefulness of this "aid" is highly controversial as it has been argued that "Too often aid has become an economic instrument supporting scarcely concealed political aims" The case remains, however, that 'third world' countries face a number of problems that are limiting the process of their development, namely environmental hazards and the rapid growth of the population. On the other hand, development is said to mean the .".. Capacity of a national economy, whose initial economic condition has been more or less static for a long time, to generate and sustain an annual increase in its Gross National Product." However, it is widely argued that development is no longer seen as a .".. Purely economic phenomenon, its multidimensional process involving the reorganisation and reorientation of entire economic and social systems." Economic development is said to be measured in terms of the GDP/GNP per capita, Birth rates, population growth and structure, life expectancy, literacy, energy consumption, unemployment, poverty and the Human Development Index in a country. And usually sources of economic development are said to come from within the country by improving the quality and quantity of land, labour and capital.
And this is where the roles of international institutions such as the UNDP and the World Bank as well as 'first world' countries are considered important in implementing that improvement in the 'third world' countries. Additionally, there are a number of development strategies implemented in order to bring about the development that is needed such as foreign trade, aid, foreign investment, export promotion versus import substitution, population policies, agricultural policies, Demand Management/Supply Side Policies as well as international institutions. In conclusion, its worth noting that development in the 'third world' has been emphasised greatly in the last decade or so mainly because of the growing inequality between the rich and poor countries and the need for the improvement of the living conditions of people around the world.