The terminologies of first, second, and third world countries are, in general, outdated.
The term was born to refer to second world countries. One of these second world countries was the Soviet Bloc. The Soviet Bloc, at the time, refers to the USSR, Eastern Europe, and the likes.
At the collapse of the Soviet Union, the term “Second World Country” was no longer in existence. And the terms “first world” and “third world” countries should also follow suit.
What I do not like about the term “third world” is its politically-minded vibe. It divides the world. It is stigmatizing.
And if you ask me, no country deserves this term.
For all we know, the classification was made popular by some journalists in the past.
What I prefer to use are terms that are more economically-oriented. These terminologies are:
- Developed Countries – these are the countries of the West. The United States, Western Europe, and some countries in Central Europe are in this group.
- Developing Countries – popular countries are China, Brazil, and India. Others are Russia and most of Latin America.
- Underdeveloped Countries – most of these countries are in Africa.
Other countries in this group are Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong. Then we also have South Korea, New Zealand, and Macau.
There are also a few countries from Africa that are in this group. South Africa, for example, is in this group. Most countries from Southeast Asia also belong to this classification.
The groupings may be less rigid. But in this groupings, Vietnam belongs to the group of developing countries.
As a developing country, you are neither rich nor poor. You are, in fact, on the right track. You are, in fact, doing everything right.
But if we go back to whether Vietnam is a third world country, no, it is not.
I hope we stop using the term. But if you insist, no, it is not.
In fact, it is way better than its two neighbors, Cambodia and Laos. Both neighbors are not as progressive as Vietnam.
List of Contents
What kind of country is Vietnam?
Vietnam is a communist country.
Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies. The country is working to be one of the most developed by the end of the year 2020.
The country had undergone more than three decades of many wars. First, the communist Vietnamese fought against the French.
As soon as the French left, the same communist Vietnamese fought against those from the South. The South was, at the time, getting full support from the United States.
Months before the fall of Saigon, something happened. It was the time when such conflict got the attention of the international community.
Up until this time, the Communist Party has control over the country’s media.
For a media man, you risk sanctions whenever you touch on sensitive topics. This is also the same when you criticize the government.
At the same time, your online content should be acceptable. Content that the party considers threatening the Communist rule does not get to see the light of day.
But regardless, Vietnam is a wonderful country full of beautiful people.
It may have gone through decades of war, but its people are warm and friendly. Not only that, but when it comes to food, the country has exquisite dishes.
Vietnam was able to combine the French with its Asian flavors. Banh mi, for example, is a Vietnamese sandwich made of French bread and a dollop of pate with Asian spices.
Its culture is rich. The food is amazing. The people are warm.
Despite its war-torn past, Vietnam is a country that has displayed resilience.
This makes the country worth a visit.
What is the biggest industry in Vietnam?
While we know Vietnam is famous for its tourism, there are a lot more industries aside from these.
There are a lot of large industries in Vietnam.
Its economy has a lot of state-owned industries. These industries include the textile industry. Another is food, furniture, and the manufacture of plastics.
Aside from the manufacture of plastics, they also make paper in Vietnam.
All these are on top of the telecommunication and tourism industries.
Another industry the country is famous for is agriculture. It composes about %15 of the country’s GDP. The agriculture industry employs about 40% of the country’s workforce.
Because of its high performance in agriculture, the country is one of the main exporters of rice. Aside from rice, there’s coffee, cashew nuts, and pepper. There is also the export of potatoes, peanuts, and cotton.
Aside from all these, the country is also popular for its production of rubber. And on a smaller note, the country exports tea as well.
What most people also do not know is that Vietnam has, in recent years, tapped on the oil industry. The country is new to the oil trade.
But even if the country is new in the industry, it is Southeast Asia’s third-largest producer.
Aside from oil, Vietnam also has an energy sector. This part contributes to about 34% of its GDP. The energy sector employs almost 26% of the country’s workforce.
In recent years, we have seen a huge amount of production in this sector. Coal, hydrocarbons, electricity, and cement kept Vietnam’s economy alive.
While you think you know all about Vietnam, there is still a lot this country can do.
Before 2019, the country set its sights on cars and electronic technologies. The manufacturing in these industries saw an increase of about 11% in 2019.
So, now I hope when you think of Vietnam, you only don’t think of tourism. It has sectors beyond tourism.
The next time you drive that car, think again. It may be from Vietnam.
What is Vietnam’s main source of income?
When it comes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Vietnam ranks as the 23rd largest globally. It is also the largest when it comes to its Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
In many ways, Vietnam has made its rapid move from being war-torn to the stable economy it has today.
Most of this is because of its many imports and exports.
Because of the rising costs, China has lost its rank for most of the international businesses. Vietnam, over the years, has been giving a good fight.
For the past few decades, most businesses have had to transfer their bases from China to Vietnam. This is because of China’s rising manufacturing costs.
Aside from its lower costs, Vietnam is also full of young and highly-skilled workforce.
Leading the pack of industries is the textile industry.
This is Vietnam’s industry that is growing at a rapid pace. Also, Vietnam is also getting its toes into technology manufacturing.
For example, Samsung and LG Electronics are making huge investments in the country. The same goes for other giant firms like Nokia and Intel.
Aside from these, Vietnam is also leading to exportS of other products. Some of these are phones and electronic goods, like computers. These two provided Vietnam with an export value of more than $71 billion in the past years.
Then, there is the matter of exporting textiles. This composes about $26 billion since 2017.
Subtle as it may sound, but Vietnam has also been exporting footwear in the past years. And aside from these, they have been exporting machineries as well.
Another industry to look out for when it comes to Vietnam is its pharmaceutical industry. Since 2018, the country has had a growth of about $5.2 billion in pharma. This is in line with the government’s aim for universal health coverage for everyone.
Over the years, we have seen Vietnam as a hub for tourists. Yes, the country may be touristy, but it has never been just the tourists that bring in the income.
I will not be surprised if years from now, Vietnam will be Southeast Asia’s richest.
Is Vietnam a developing country?
As you know by now, Vietnam is a developing country.
A developing country is just on the right track. Meaning, it has been doing everything well ever since. It is on its way to becoming a developed country in the years to come.
Since its unification in 1975, the country had been experiencing a lot of hurdles. It has gone through wars. Plus, there’s the French and the Americans to think of.
After all, is gone, Vietnam has seen a shift from a centrally-planned economy to what it is now.
After all the wars, Vietnam had been one of the poorest in the world. But even while poor, it has overcome a lot of challenges. The resilience made it to become the lower-middle-income country that it is today.
In fact, over the years, Vietnam has been doing so well. It is now one of the fastest developing countries in the region.
As of the beginning of October in 2020, the World Bank has given the country $24.94 billion in grants.
All these are for use in about 200 or so operations. These projects delve not only into urban development but in the rural areas as well.
A massive chunk of this will also be for the grid-connected hydropower plant. The plant has been in operation since 2017.
Such a power plant was of great help in reducing GHG emissions. It has also been of great help in making electricity more accessible. In recent years, electricity is accessible to about 30 percent more of its population.
Going back to the question, yes, Vietnam is a developing country. But such development will catapult the country into higher ranks anytime soon.
I said it before, and I will say it again. Mark my word. Vietnam will be the region’s richest in a few years’ time.
What makes a country a third world?
Here’s a common misconception: third world countries are poor countries.
This may be true in today’s world. Or should I say, this may be a popular misconception today. But let me tell you a thing or two about third world countries.
First world countries are those that aligned themselves with the United States. Aside from the US, some were with NATO during the Cold War.
These countries are Japan, the Western European countries, and some North American Countries. Another country in this category is Australia.
By definition, second world countries are those that have socialist societies.
These countries were allies of the Soviet Union years ago during the Cold War. These countries are Russia, Poland, and China. Other countries that belong to this classification are some Turk states.
And last but not the least, we have third world countries. By definition, these are the countries that did not pick sides.
Countries that are in this category are most of Asia and Africa. Then there are also a lot of countries in Latin America that belong to this classification.
You should note that the definition also includes countries that have stable economies. This definition, then, does not align with the common idea of a third world country.
In recent years, when we talk of a third world country, what comes to mind is a country with high mortality rates. We also think of countries with economies that are unstable. These are countries that are sinking into poverty.
I don’t know what happened to the term’s original definition. But over the years, the term has gone through a complete evolution when it comes to its definition.
It was a political classification during the Cold War. Whatever happened to that definition, I cannot say.
It could be because most of those that have been allies of the US and NATO countries fared well. And also, the third world group did not do well in the past decades.
Whatever the case may be, it is unfair to most in the third world group. Because if you come to think of it, there are healthy and stable economies that belong to this group.
So, next time you hear the term “third world,” think again. These countries are those that were neutral and did not take sides during the Cold War.
It has always been political. It was never about a country’s economic status.
Now, you know.