Changing world

International politics and relations are graveyards of words, and as the world moves on reorganising itself in political and economic terms, individual countries and groups define themselves in newer and newer ways. Old descriptions that do not match with new realities are discarded and dumped into the dictionary of history. This has happened with expressions like the Third World and NAM which were once potent carriers of political meaning. The recent declaration of World Bank president Robert Zoellik that the coinage Third World is dead, may not be as cataclysmic as philosopher Nietzche’s dictum that God is dead, but is a useful reminder of how the old world order changes, yielding place to the new.

If the Third World gave a conceptual framework for the developing countries’ bloc in the second half of the last century, distinguishing them from the capitalist and rich First World, led by the US, and the socialist Second World, led by the then USSR, the distinction has blurred now with the rise of countries like China, India and Brazil. It is a reflection of the changing balance in the world, and new names like BRIC, which denote combinations of countries based on new interests, are emerging.

Even on the other side of the divide, groupings have gone through a nomenclatural evolution, like the movement of G-somethings, which transformed themselves from G-10 through G-5, G-6, G-7 and G-8 to G-20, shows. G-20 may now represent the best of all the three old worlds, but the weighted balance may slowly shift in favour of the old wretched of the earth. It will take a long time, but the growing irrelevance of the old frames of reference is a pointer to the emerging perceptions about the future world.

Political thinkers and economists have tried to explain the world in various ways. But a history of the world through acronyms would be interesting. They may not always describe the world correctly, but catch popular imagination by combining reality with perception and possibility. Words are only approximations of reality and no country should feel flattered or disheartened by its place in the matrix of words in which it is placed. In the beginning was only the world, which became many a world, which the moving mind writes, and having writ, moves on from.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry