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Poll #2: Counting worlds

Which of the following statements is most true for you? (Note: Europe *includes* the British Isles for the sake of this poll.)

I am from Europe & "First World" IS synonymous with "Old World"
I am from Europe & "First World" is NOT synonymous with "Old World"
I am NOT from Europe & "First World" IS synonymous with "Old World"
I am NOT from Europe & "First World" is NOT synonymous with "Old World"

Feel free to say you're from Europe if you feel living there for a while/being raised by at least one European relative had a major effect on your relevant use of language.

Apropos of a couple comments by la_marquise_de_ on jimhines's lj.
The lazy use of 'First World' throws everything on Europe. You guys over that side of the Atlantic are the New World. And while I know that many people forget this -- and the whole world counting thing is deeply, deeply flawed and patronising and I dislike it hugely -- every once in a while I get British about it and find myself muttering 'Own your own issues, don't just blame us over here' at USians on the internets.

But to Europeans, it looks like us, rather than you, because here, you're the New World (2nd World), we're the Old or First World.



Jul. 21st, 2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
This is actually a much more complex issue than my poll answer reflects. Generally, when I use "First World" colloquially, I'm talking about the industrialized core of Europe, Japan, and the United States, and "Second World" is generally elided. In a historical sense, "First World" does apply to Europe only, as America is the "New World" (or in some counting systems the "Second World", though as steepholm notes, this has also been commonly applied to the Socialist west). "Third World," initially a differentiator adopted by African independence fighters, is now a disparaging term for the developing world. And in conclusion, 1) I think someone is reading into the use of "First World" things that are not there, and b) This is why I prefer "Global North/South" rather than an ambiguous world-counting system.

Edited at 2011-07-21 12:21 pm (UTC)
Jul. 21st, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
In a historical sense, "First World" does apply to Europe only

Do you have a sense for *when*, historically, this applies to discussions using this phrase?
Jul. 21st, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
I think I meant a discipline-based sense rather than a historical sense; in some Latin American social sciences and political stuff I've studied, "first world" refers to Europe, "second world" to North and South America, etc. (It's distinct from the historical taxonomy of Old/New/Third world.)