Is Buenos Aires a Third World City?

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Joe

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I've seen numerous reference to BA as a Third World city. Reflecting on this I thought, I really don't know what the definition for Third World is. So a little research on the Internet and:

Unfortunately the term "Third World" dates back to the Cold War days when the First World were the Good Guys, the Second World were the Commies and the Third World were the Non-aligned. It just happened that most non-aligned countries were relatively poor so the term Third World gained the association of being backwards.

It's unfortunate that there is a not a new definition for Second World, I think BA would be a Second World city if there were a new classification made.

What would be your definition for a Second World city. Having traveled between Thailand (Second World IMO) and Laos (Third World in every one's opinion) I have some ideas:

Second World (SW) vs. Third World (TW)

- Streets are predominately paved in urban areas of SW cities, not in TW
- ATM machines are available in SW, not in TW
- McDonalds are available in SW cities
- No black market for currency in SW
- Bribes are not openly paid in SW
- International grocery stores exist in SW (e.g Carrefours, Walmart)
- First steps are being taken for pollution control in SW

With this definition of Second World, BA loses its Third World status. Which I think is fair, how can BA be lumped in with say Laotian or Central African cities - there is a big difference in standards of living between the two.

Aside: One thing that makes BA interesting is it clearly was once a First World city. There are so many grand buildings and apartments dating back to the time when standards of living were comparable to the US and Europe.
 

criswkh

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I think you have to make a distinction between BA and Argentina in your argument. According to others Argentina is a third world country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World
http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/third_world_countries.htm
There is a BLACK MARKET for currency..look at the coin issue, bribes are welcome, pollution control is limited in the areas of water and regulations of autos, streets outside of BA are not necessary paved. If you are only looking at BA then I would say it is 2.5 City.
 
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Bianca

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I've heard Buenos Aires referred to as "a first rate city in a third world country". Maybe I heard that here? Anyway, I never knew there was a classification for cities... I always assumed if the city were in a third world country, then the city was the same.
 

Moxon

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The terms were never useful. Third World morphed at some stage from signifying non aligned nations to impoverished nations. Like North and South (and The West and the rest) they were always hamstrung by never being purely economic definitions and have been abandoned for some time in development/NGO circles and terms such as developed, newly industrialised, heavily indebted poor country, and the highly optimistic 'developing' are currently in vogue.

Still this use of 'Second World' to signify some kind of middle income economy seems to be something I've only noticed recently, one of those erroneous assumptions that has been propagated and taken root courtesy of the internet - like the spelling of the word definitely.
 

bigbadwolf

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Sounds fine -- but bear in mind that ostensibly first-world cities like NYC and LA seem to be drifting in the direction of second-world cities, and cities like Detroit are becoming I don't know what. No hard and fast distinctions anymore.
 

elhombresinnombre

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Moxon said:
The terms were never useful. Third World morphed at some stage from signifying non aligned nations to impoverished nations. Like North and South (and The West and the rest) they were always hamstrung by never being purely economic definitions and have been abandoned for some time in development/NGO circles and terms such as developed, newly industrialised, heavily indebted poor country, and the highly optimistic 'developing' are currently in vogue.

Still this use of 'Second World' to signify some kind of middle income economy seems to be something I've only noticed recently, one of those erroneous assumptions that has been propagated and taken root courtesy of the internet - like the spelling of the word definitely.
At some stage I was taught that the First World was the world known to the ancients; the Second World was the discovered world and the Third World the developing world. Of course, now that I've tried to find some attributions for that I can't find a shred of evidence to support it but on a personal level I still find those are useful definitions. On that basis, Argentina and the USA are both Second-World countries and, if you are prepared to accept the CIA World Factbook as more-or-less impartial and if you have the time to scroll down and compare the pages for Argentina and the USA (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/AR.html and https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/US.html ) it is remarkable how much similarity you will find between the figures for each nation.

Argentina is a developed nation. That it has not chosen to develop totally along the US model is neither here nor there: plenty of other developed countries have set off in different directions too. That it has fallen back from its status as once one of the richest countries in the world doesn't relegate it to third world status any more than economic collapse forced the UK into third world status in the 1970s or the current recession is forcing the USA into third world status now. If you want to cite villas miserias as evidence of ThirdWorldliness, go look at the modern-day Hoovervilles in the USA. Resilience in the face of natural disaster: do you want to cite Misiónes or New Orleans? What about affordable medical care for all?

I don't think that it is very helpful that common usage seems to be moving the definitions of first, second and third worlds about and I don't suppose that people reading this post will find it helpful that I have added yet another, spurious definition for each. But I hope that we can agree that Argentina is not in the Third World.
 

BlahBlah

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Argentina is the only country ever that went from a developed nation to a developing nation in one generation
 

winston

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Argentina, not just it's capital city, is Third World in all of the term's negative connotations.

To visit for a few days or a week, it might not be so obvious, but when you live here it surely is. The endless headaches, the chronic dishonesty and corruption and almost no way to solve it, the pollution pouring out at street-level and greasy soot coating everything, the most polluted river on the continent and no way in decades of talking about it to solve it. I used to think "Third World" was an economic term, etc. After living here for years, Im positive its in their head. They have a 3rd world mentality and ,therefore, this kind of country and no doubt for generations to come.

Sometimes its small indicators. Why dont any towns or suburbs have trash cans outside? easy! because they would be stolen in a flash. When I watch an old Flintstones episode and see Fred putting the trash can out in the closing credits, I think, Hey, argentina hasnt even gotten to that point yet! And its the same for vehicle inspections. The corruption is so deep and so hard to control, that they cant even have vehicle inspection stickers. The result are cars tied together with coat hangers and rope.

I know some honest people here and even THEY do dishonest things to survive. Its the only way here, always was, and will be. So everyone has their own definition of 3rd world. In mine, argentina shows what Jefferson, rather innocently, meant when writing in a letter he referred to the newly independent nations to the south as being infected with "the virus of Spanish influence," i.e., endemic failure.
 
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