Friday, June 27, 2008

One world

I was surprised to hear Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples,
in a parliamentary speech, say that some New Zealand
children are suffering from “Third World diseases.”
Whatever they're suffering from, the term "Third World" is
is part of an historically loaded and ethnically skewed
worldview that also encompasses meaningless labels like
“the West” and “the developed world.” One might expect
the Gerry Brownlees of this world to toss off phrases like
“Third World,” but not Sharples. He would know by now
that, however clumsy the alternative terms might be,
anything’s better than a terminology that inherently ranks
people in European and Europeanized countries ahead of
those elsewhere on the globe. The poorest nations on
Earth (in terms, say, of income per capita, if we must talk
league tables) didn’t get that way in spite of the “Western
world” getting lucky but because of it. We're all one world.

1 comment:

Steve Withers said...

I share your aversion to these classic terms from a geo-political narrative that obscures reality.