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Talk:Developing countries

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Revision as of 16:29, 25 February 2008 by Writtenonsand (Talk | Contributions) (Countries where many people have no shoes)

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Appropedia should be comfortable using the term "developing countries" in preference to "Majority world"

- a ratio of more than 50:1

  • Google hits for "developing countries" on un.org - 71,100
  • Google hits for "Majority world" on un.org - 332.

- a ratio of more than 200:1

(Weak proposal): Although Appropedia should feel comfortable using the term "majority world" as long as have a definition of the term on the site, the term "developing countries" is not prohibitively "inaccurate, out-of-date, or non-descriptive", and is much better known, and we also should not hesitate to use it.

(Strong proposal): In fact, 50:1 is a pretty strong ratio, and Appropedia should prefer the term "developing countries".

Discussion?  :-)

-- Writtenonsand 16:03, 22 February 2008 (PST)


Thanks for picking up on this! It's good to think through these issues.
"Developing world" and developing countries are without doubt far more notable terms. However, my belief about Appropedia's role is that we take a stand for accuracy and truth, and this counts more than notability in the Wikipedia sense. (We are still learning how this works, but that's the general aim.) So the question is, which is more accurate and true? I side strongly with majority world.
The more accurate contrast to developed country is undeveloped country, but that's too blunt for most people. Developing world is a euphemism and doesn't highlight the characteristic feature of these countries at all. As for "developing": Australia and the USA, have been developing more quickly in recent years than quite a few so-called "developing countries", some of which weren't developing at all. But we don't call Australia and the USA developing countries because that term has become codeW for something else.
I would not want to force the use of particular terminology, but I would certainly favor the use of the most accurate and helpful terms, as a general guideline. --Chriswaterguy · talk 07:09, 23 February 2008 (PST)
"my belief about Appropedia's role is that we take a stand for accuracy and truth"
- "What is truth?", as the man said. We all know very well that Wikipedians have discussed this question for years (and the philosophers for millenia) without resolving it.
Developed countries Developed country Developed world
Developing countries Developing country Developing world
First world Second world Third world Fourth world
Majority world
It seems to me that a case can be made for the use of all of these terms, in the appropriate context(s), as they each highlight various aspects of the situation. (And of course, that we should avoid using them in inappropriate contexts.)
(We can also keep adding to the list other terms that have been used -- Global South, Less economically developed countries (LEDC), Least developed countries)
-- Writtenonsand 08:18, 23 February 2008 (PST)
It's a challenge certainly, but even Wikipedia does recognize that some issues are worth addressing even if there's a risk of subjectivity - e.g. Wikipedia: Project: Avoid weasel words and Wikipedia: Project: Use common sense. If someone wants to challenge the criticisms of other terms, or show serious concerns about the accuracy/value of using majority world, then we can have the chance to test whether we can deal with such questions in a civil and constructive way.
Less economically developed countries (LEDC) is probably the most accurate term, but also the driest and least easy to remember. As an Australian, Global South has always sounded like a fudge... but it does have value, and I'd certainly like each term above to redirect to the appropriate article that discusses the term. (Probably all the same article, but not necessarily.) --Chriswaterguy · talk 16:21, 24 February 2008 (PST)
I think that all of the terms we've been discussing are "fudges" in some contexts, but are succinct and useful in others. -- Writtenonsand 18:30, 24 February 2008 (PST)
The descriptor I often use in my classes is "Countries where many people have no shoes", which was inspired by a quote from Wangari Maathai in the short movie, "A Quiet Revolution". But that is too long for many sentences. I also use "Poor countries" that engenders financially developing (as opposed to other types of development engendered by the term "Developing countries").
- a ratio of 8.4:1 (much better than 50:1)
- a ratio of 7.2:1 (much better than 200:1)
I do feel that "Poor" is much more accurate, and less of a fudge, than "Developing". I am also usually more focused on the work than the words and assume that we can work out the semantics as we go. Keep up the great conversation. --Lonny 22:03, 24 February 2008 (PST)
I like "poor countries" much better than "developing countries", simply for being more honest and accurate.
"Majority world" seems to be an advocate's term, at least in origin, putting in the reader's face the fact that they are the majority and you with your privileged life are outside the norm. I'm very sympathetic with this emphasis, at the same time as being slightly uncomfortable with it. "Countries where many people have no shoes" is also very good, but the humor makes it sound much less moralistic.
I first came across it when used by New InternationalistW magazine (a magazine which I like for its focus on the parts of the world neglected in the mainstream media, but which I like less for being very predictable in which side it will take in any remotely ideological question).
One drawback with poor countries is that of pride. I suspect many people don't like their countries being summed up in the single word poor, and would feel it to be an insult.
"Poorer countries" might be better - a relative term, slightly vague, but it has a very clear meaning and somehow doesn't seem as stark or final as "poor countries". --Chriswaterguy · talk 04:30, 25 February 2008 (PST)


"Countries where many people have no shoes"
I like that! CWMPHNS? No, I guess that that won't work in practice either.
If we're focusing on the people and not the poltical entities we could just say "the Shoeless" in some contexts, although again I'm sure that many people wouldn't like this either. -- Writtenonsand 08:29, 25 February 2008 (PST)