If anyone has heard the term far too many times, I’d like to ask how fed up they are at this term. “First World”is a term to describe the richest nations of the world with a strong democracy, high standard of living and overall sovereign stability. To the ire of sceptics, the usage of this term is bittersweet — the usage of this term serves as motivation for countries to take steps in improving their economic, political and social standards to match that of supposedly First World countries, but this hypocrisy is further accentuated when the United States and her allies are only considered First World while their problems are almost disregarded.
The age of Obama was one that promised American growth and further advancements as a civilisation, with decreased unemployment rates to 4.6%. During his time, environmentalism was preached as a means to ensure the sustainability of both politics and life. One of his acts of solidifying his advocacy of environmentalism was his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, thereafter preventing habitat loss and discouraging the over-reliance of non-renewable and detrimental energy sources. The establishment of Obamacare was weak, but it has been aimed to cover 15% of the American population, giving tax subsidies based on income to make healthcare affordable for poor Americans. This thus lowers US spendings on healthcare, which is currently spiralling at uncontrollable rate at 17.6% of the GDP, that percentage twice that of the average of OECD countries. Obamacare thus aimed to solve the contradiction that existed between the high expenditure on healthcare and the low number of people covered.
Yet his legacy is to be downplayed by the ascension of a new president who isn’t both self aware and aware. The new American Healthcare Act backfires any aims of Obamacare whilst maintaining the irony, that is, its heavy similarities to Obamacare. The Trump Administration encapsulates the proliferation of scientific denial and short-term economic goals with long-term debilitations. The revival of the Keystone XL Pipeline was one major dangerous policy inflicted upon environmentalism, stirring up anti-scientific sentiments against any potential strides in environmental protection. That severely cuts any hopes of making America first world for its politics remain sharply divided among the people — people choose far too often to religiously follow a particular political party, dividing themselves further. The economy might suffer because of extended environmental degradation and unsustainable policy making in the White House. Social standards might even follow suit.
This parallels what goes on in the United Kingdom, with the creation of Brexit. It is useless to say anything now that the Brexit process ensues, but if we look back into the UK once again, Britons have started to act more like Europeans, recognising the need for an accommodative regional integration now that they have come too far into it. The UK needs the European Union to sustain its society, much like the EU needs the UK to sustain regional amity. Euroscepticism should fall apart within the next few years as more people take action to prevent the regional disintegration that may very well happen with the fall of the EU. Hypothetically speaking, with the rise of right wing activities all across Europe, countries have become more nationalistic in nature. The ascension of a few right-wing political leaders can threaten the fabric of European peace, segregating Europe with obvious borders once again. Too much money will be spent on re-establishing borders and by the time borders are erected, there comes a time when Europeans bicker and set in stone what belongs to who. No more will we see peace in Europe, nor will we see trust in the democratic process that spark the downfall of Europe. If anything, European right wingers like Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Frauke Petry and Geert Wilders may pioneer another Pre-WWI and prior age, where Europe is left in a warring mess yet again. If so, can we consider them First World anymore?
The establishment of what was First World, Second World and Third World stemmed from Cold War politics. One thing civilisation has forgotten is that this is completely obsolete and useless to begin with, because the world looked up to countries which are on the brink of toppling but ignored many fast risers who should be considered First World. Countries like Japan and the United States are falling short of expectations in their societal cohesiveness while countries like New Zealand and Singapore are usually ignored from the globe despite their accelerated development.
If I were to use the term “First World”, it’d set rules of a country’s strengths in social cohesiveness, sustainable policy and sovereign stability. It must however be stressed further that it is impossible for any country currently to claim that position. The closest countries concentrate in Northern Europe. The fast risers concentrate in Asia. Those who should be dethroned are the US and the UK.
This term still forces countries to look up to supposed world leaders while ignoring the problems that continue to plague many regions, including those currently sitting on the throne. Maintaining national pride is one thing, but pride is useless if the things First World Nations pride themselves on do not exist currently. This voids any attempt at solving any issues, so rather than giving titles that do not prove anything, countries should focus on their tasks at hand — to save their arses.
First World or not, this segregation is needlessly stupid.
Image credits: NASA