ON THE INVENTION OF THE CONCEPT OF THE “THIRD WORLD”

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Chantebout Bernard

by Bernard Chantebout

2015-03-23
 
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In 1966, I had published an essay on the third world which received a “mixed” reception. Economists such as Daniel Cohen or editorial writers such as Alain-Gérard Slama gave it the thumbs-up, but others, known as “third-worldists”, criticised me for it, sometimes in extremely sharp and even offensive terms.[1] I was not surprised by their reaction because I was announcing the imminent disappearance of the concept of the third world.

Three years later, in 1969, my publisher was keen to publish a second edition of my book, believing that all that would be needed would be to change some figures. I made the mistake of agreeing. In fact, in those three years there had been such rapid change that I had to rewrite over a third of the book. The third world had already ceased to exist …

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