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International Politics on the World Stage, Brief 4/e
World Politics: International Politics on the World Stage, Brief, 4/e
John T. Rourke, University of Connecticut - Storrs
Mark A. Boyer, University of Connecticut - Storrs

The Evolution of World Politics


Some matters of terminology: EDC/LDC.

The use of the acronym EDC for economically developed country is not common in the literature. I am using "economically developed" here instead of simply "developed" in order to stress the economic factor and to avoid the all-too-common stereotype of the countries of the South as culturally or otherwise inferior. Indeed, the designation LDC, or less developed country, is misleading in the same way. Less economically developed country (LEDC) would be preferable, and politically and economically disadvantaged country (PEDC) would be better still, because these terms would recognize that the countries are in a relatively weak international political and economic position.

The acronym LDC, however, is so common that I will continue to use it. The South is also referred to frequently as the Third World, although this term is rapidly becoming outmoded. It has been used somewhat inconsistently, but it generally has meant LDCs, especially those not aligned with either of the two superpowers in the East-West Axis. It may seem odd to refer to Third World countries when we do not refer to Second World ones, but the term has been useful to designate those countries that are not only politically and economically disadvantaged, but that have invariably suffered through or are still undergoing a direct or an indirect colonial experience.

It would be reasonable therefore to classify many of the former Soviet republics as Third World countries. Poor, mostly Muslim Uzbekistan, for example, was until recently something of a colony of the Russian-dominated Soviet state. The point is that such countries, many of which have had unfortunate experiences with politically and militarily powerful EDCs, share similar views of EDCs and their alleged role in causing and maintaining the LDCs' unjust economic and politically disadvantaged status.

Finally, some analysts have used the words "core" and "periphery" to designate, respectively, those countries with power as being at the center of the political system and those without much power on the margins. These nuances need not concern us here. Therefore, the terms North, EDC, developed country, and core country all mean about the same thing; as do South, LDC, Third World, and periphery country.