What is the first world, what is its craft? The first world or the west imitates a bubble of post-colonial theories or an unrealistic mind game. The way I see it, a capitalist economy with human rights intact, liberalization of policy, lesser influence of government and individualism are some of the most prominent features for a country to become a part of the first world e.g. United States and European countries. China has been thriving as a nation but due to prevailing communism and a rather controversial case of human rights violations it is not a part of the first world. Eurocentrism and capitalism are the most pertinent tools of the western craft in terms of economy, development policies and even lifestyle in general.
The third world on the other hand deals with the terrible economic conditions, illiteracy,
exhausted resources and lack of pathways to make use of available resources to the best of their capabilities due to lack of sensitivity towards their origin in the times of need. Resultantly, this made the west in charge. The concept of development and prosperity has been conveniently utilized for profit maximization and personal gain solely, from the very beginning by the western world. Arturo Escobar in Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World mentions how overpopulation, poverty and lack of technology were few of the most obvious concerns for development in 1945. Racial backgrounds, minorities, religious sectarianism and deteriorating ethnicity need special attention or the results might be worse political unrest than what already exists. Eventually all the information, facts and opinions develop the notion that the Western hegemons are not innocent and do not have any interest in the betterment or progress of the developing or underdeveloped world but the only ones to blame after resolving the internal mistakes of the non-west. Not considered capable enough by the west lead to an inferiority complex within the non-west and established the mindset of achieving exactly what they (west) have without the consideration of what is actually required to prosper.
Eurocentrism has also played a pivotal role in shaping the global dynamics of the third world. It refers to a tendency of the Europeans to interpret the histories and cultures of non-European societies from an inferior perspective, influenced by a small portion of their beliefs or rituals. Common features of Eurocentric portrayal of the Asians and Africans or the third world includes ignoring or undervaluing their culture and society. The most outstanding example was the age of imperialism and colonialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some examples of cultural practices that facilitate this mindset include “sati” or burning the widow of a dead man with his body in India etc. However, this is one dimension of the non-west that, the rest of the west chooses to highlight to justify its coercion. Capitalism or neo-liberal economic order are some identified tactics of west.
Capitalism has proven to be a profound trap; Less efforts to come out of its clutches means a slow or gradual death and more effort means an immediate collapse. Modern banking system is the backbone of capitalism; International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and Asian Development bank, etc. are examples. The third world turns to them for financial aid and they pretend to help in terms of loans but the part where they start running the poor countries through their capitalist policies seems to be ignored. Back in the days, foreign reserves were measured in gold but since the 1970's another awful method of looting the third world was enforced by Richard Nixon (37th US president), who introduced petrodollars. This meant that the standard payments of international trade and essentially the trade of oil would be in US dollars. The downfall of Soviet Union, which was more than 60 years old was also initiated with the restructuring and openness based policies reflecting hints of capitalism.
The multinational corporations (MNC’s) are the dark horse of the western craft. They seem to provide jobs and “exposure” to the host country. The truth is actually the opposite, they exhaust the resources of the host country since they operate in it and most of the profit is sent back for development in their country of origin. It is actually a dilemma; they are practically settled in the third world. The non-western countries like Pakistan are so deeply dependent on the MNC’s that if one of them stops operating, their whole economy might collapse. An example to measure the damage this might cause would be from the term of the former US president, Donald Trump, Google services were terminated from Huawei (Chinese company). The flourishing economy of China lost almost 17 billion dollars within the span of 7 days. International trade through multinationals and otherwise have been a consistent tactic of the west since centuries. In the pre-colonial era, the arrival of the East India Company in the subcontinent for the trade of spices literally colonized the subcontinent.
In my opinion, it is about time the third world wakes up. We need to question ourselves about what do we own in our own economies. To make some more sense of the context; Populist leaders like Hitler who had a cult following won over his followers against all odds. The followers do not have a political stance, they are just brainwashed to believe what the leader says. Symbolically, the non-west has been hypnotized by the west in a similar stance. George Orwell a novelist (well known for his novel Animal Farm) sketched a scenario with his words, of practical brain surgeries to insert chips as a metaphor to explain the rigidity of communism in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In between the judgement of communism, capitalism etc. the third world lost its culture, identity and uniqueness.
These realizations are definitely the first step towards change. Considering the fact that this issue has not been problematized previously, let alone for a solution to be proposed. The western living standards and pace of development as the ultimate “goal” should be halted for more relatable, development and other policies. As far as a way forward is concerned, I believe, third world countries like Pakistan, known for being agrarian should begin with fulfilment of domestic agricultural needs, which can be facilitated by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The next step could be tourism avenues through the God gifted landscapes and so on.