Lots of Americans and Westerners think that leaving their country and living abroad will result in a better life. Lower cost of living due to a beneficial exchange rate on the currency as well as other factors play into people trying to answer the question: Should I leave America/Europe/Australia/Canada?
Should I go live in a “developing nation” somewhere, i.e., what is often referred to as a 3rd world country? After all, if I am a minimalist and don’t require many things, don’t mind working from a laptop, living out of a backpack or suitcase, and like paying less for things, wouldn’t that be better?
What Exactly is a 3rd World Country?
The term “3rd world country” originated from the post-WWII era where the USA and the Soviet Union were the two main power blocs in the world. America and its allies like Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand as well as a few others were called “1st world” nations. Then, Soviet Russia was considered the “2nd world”.
Any countries that aligned themselves with the Soviet Union were considered “2nd world”, and any countries that didn’t associate with either were deemed “3rd world”. That would mean countries like Thailand which neither sided with Washington D.C. or Moscow, Russia.
Eventually the term took on a meaning of its own over the years where “3rd world” meant that a country had some serious issues in general areas, or acute problems in specific areas. High crime, corruption, pollution, civil unrest, sanitation and running water- all played into today’s definition.
This could be due to many nations that didn’t participate in the “Cold War” not actually being all that developed anyway.
All Nations are Technically Developing, Are They Not?
This is where the politically correct term of “developing nation” really does a disservice to language. It’s a “the glass if half-full” viewpoint.
Some countries may not in fact be making real moves to develop, so is it fair to give them unearned credit for something they’re not doing? Many “3rd world” countries have a reputation for being so because once you set foot there, it’s kinda hard to ignore: low-trust environments where corruption is commonplace or the norm, poor infrastructure, low innovation and group acceptance of mediocrity, water you can’t always drink from the faucet.
Stuff like that.
Some “1st world” countries may in fact be starting to resemble undeveloped nations in parts as well. We can’t think this concept of “American Exceptionalism” or the Western World Standard will just continue to exist without actual work and adherence to values and ethics.
Without that, every country is technically developing, but not actually developing.
Devolving. It’s technically a development, you know.
Another victim in the war on language and the battle against mediocrity.
And here, a memorial for its legacy.
Watch: How Much Food Does 20 Bucks Get You in the Third World?
So is 3rd World Living for Everyone? Or is it just for the 3rd world
This is an interesting concept I’ve considered throughout my time traveling and living in countries like Thailand and Serbia. Is the money you might save worth dealing with the daily challenges and struggles?
That’s something everyone has to decide for themselves. There’s definitely a list of pros and cons to consider, as well as unexpected realities awaiting the daring adventurer.
Can you change your environment without being changed yourself? And what if that change is not for the better? During my travels I’ve experienced the most anxiety and stress in 3rd world countries when it came to basic stuff like being able to trust others are not trying to rip you off. You might gain a financial benefit from lower living costs, but you might lose it in a police roadblock in Thailand one afternoon, or you might have someone try to take advantage of you, even if it foolishly loses them a potential long-term customer.
It only makes sense that you do good for yourself and others, and people will like you and trust you. In high-trust societies, this is why there’s low crime and corruption. These countries tend to have higher GDPs and greater economic and political freedoms.
One thing I have found to be quintessentially 3rd world and a little ironic, and that is all the resentment towards America while at the same time, so many of the same people trying to move there, or their extended family already did.
One of the most common observations I have on the ground in the 3rd world is a lot of excuses made by people as to why they don’t exercise, or why they work at a job they see as a dead-end, people who think of success in America as an automatic condition received at birth, or who want to move there or would rather live there themselves- both spend time playing games on their phones when they have free time.
I’m sure it’s fun, but if you have time to play video games, then you have time to at the very least be a decent person or pull out something to study that relates to your life goals. This is the actual “1st World” mentality that made the “1st World”, the “1st World”.