Monday, March 7, 2016

Is Chile a Third world country?

Chile - clean and modern

Well, my daughter likes to make fun of me and says I live in a third world country but Chile isn't a third world country. Actually, the terminology does seem a bit dated. It arose after the end of WWII and was used to describe the capitalist countries allied with the United States and they are the first world countries including Western Europe, the UK and their allies. The second world countries are those of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc, China, and Cuba while the third world countries are all the rest, the neutral nonaligned countries. This broad categorization based on social, political, cultural, and economic divisions was a useful tool during its time but today things are different. Most people don't know enough of WWII history to understand this classification and for people today a first world country would be modern and affluent while a third world country would be poor and backwards and second world is somewhere in between.

So where does Chile fall in these categories? For the original meaning, Chile did not participate in WWII. It was a neutral unaligned country meaning a third world country. So says Wikipedia under the heading of "Third World" but under "World War II by Country" it says " initially Chile chose to remain neutral in the war, having close trading links with Germany. Later in the war, however, Chile distanced itself from the Axis powers, and the Chilean government took steps to dismiss pro-German military officers. Relations with Axis countries were broken in 1943, and in 1945, Chile declared war on japan, being the last nation to join the war. As with Argentina, by this time the war was almost over." So it was an ally entering after the attack on Pearl Harbor so that would mean Chile is a first world country according to NATO.

And what about the more modern sense of the word - poor under developed v. rich developed?

Chile is very modern and clean. Most of the poor live in homes with flooring, water and sewer, electricity, cell phones, and direct TV. Education is compulsory and literacy rates are high. The economy is growing and unemployment is low. The government is stable. Health care is modern and affordable. The highway system is modern and well maintained.  What else could you ask for?
Sounds pretty first worldish to me!


  1. Excelente artículo. La fotografía de veras es maravillosa ¿Dónde es exactamente aquel lugar?. muchísimas gracias, buen blog.

  2. Muchas Gracias! La foto es en Frutillar Bajo, Los Lagos Region X, en el sur de Chile.

  3. very well explained in summary...

  4. I hope more that more Americans and Europeans come to live in Chile.

  5. American and European immigrants are the best kind to have as they are usually well educated, hard working, and have money helping the Chilean society and economy.