What’s the Fourth World?
An outmoded phrase, the Fourth Planet, refers to the poorest, most undeveloped, and most disenfranchised parts of the planet.
These nations are home to hunter-gatherers, nomadic tribes, and people without political connections. Despite being self-sufficient, they were given Fourth World status during the Cold War due to their economic performance.
Understanding 4th World
The Cold War classified each country as a specific world, although these categories have since changed. The First World refers to countries linked with NATO and capitalism; the Second World refers to countries supporting communism and the Soviet Union; and the Third World refers to neutral states. These countries comprised all African, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Asian states and destitute former European possessions.
The Fourth World refers to regions with low income per capita and few natural resources, emerging from the Third World.
The fourth world consists of outcasts. Example: Aboriginal tribes in South America and Australia are self-sufficient but not involved in the global economy. These tribes could operate without outside help, yet they were labeled fourth-world states globally. 4th-world states neither contribute nor consume globally and are untouched by global events.
No political borders define Fourth World regions. These nations referred to those who were “non-sovereign” because they frequently excluded people based solely on their race or religion from the political and economic systems. For example, First Nations communities in North, Central, and South America were left out.
Fourth World Term History
Mbuto Milando, the first secretary of the Tanzanian High Commission, may have coined the term “Fourth World” in Canada during a meeting with George Manuel, Chief of the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations). Milano said, “When native peoples come into their own, based on their own cultures and traditions, that will be the 4th World.”
After Manuel’s 1974 book, The Fourth World: An Indian Reality, the phrase became associated with stateless, impoverished, and peripheral states. Think tanks like the Center for World Indigenous Studies have used the term since 1979 to describe the connections between ancient, tribal, and non-industrial countries and modern political governments.
In 2007, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) established minimal requirements for the survival, dignity, and well-being of indigenous peoples worldwide. Since then, 4th World peoples have advanced communication and organization through international trade, travel, and security treaties.
- The 4th World refers to the poorest, undeveloped, and marginalized places and inhabitants.
- These nations are home to hunter-gatherers, nomadic tribes, and people without political connections.
- Referring to indigenous people as the 4th World is disrespectful and outmoded.