Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
Oss0212, Sociology
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
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Compare and contrast the three categories of countries in the world.


OER Text Material

Global Classification

Immanuel Wellerstein’s World Systems Approach is used to compare and contrast core nations, peripheral nations, and semi-peripheral nations. Core nations are dominant capitalist countries, highly industrialized, technological, and urbanized. Peripheral nations have very little industrialization; what they do have often represents the outdated castoffs of core nations or the factories and means of production owned by core nations. They typically have unstable governments, inadequate social programs, and are economically dependent on core nations for jobs and aid. Semi-peripheral nations are in-between nations, not powerful enough to dictate policy but nevertheless acting as a major source for raw material and an expanding middle-class marketplace for core nations, while also exploiting peripheral nations.

Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

Global Wealth Inequality (Video)

80% of the world’s population barely have any wealth whilst the richest 2% have more wealth than half of the rest of the world. Thus, when the wealth of the world is considered, the vast majority virtually have nothing to educate their children, nothing to pay for basic medicines, etc. The richest 1% control 43% of the world wealth. The wealth of the planet is concentrated in the hands of a few people in a few countries.

Third World vs First World Countries - What's The Difference? (Video)

The Human Development Index is used to differentiate between the countries of the world from the top/best countries to the poorest countries. In the video, the presenter differentiates between first world and third world countries. In addition, a new category of countries – fourth world – is discussed.

The UN Least Developed Country Category (Video)

The 47 least developed countries (LDCs) are highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks and have low levels of incomes and human assets. The international community gives them exclusive support in the areas of development assistance, trade, climate financing and other areas.

Classifications of Countries Based on Their Level of Development: How it is Done and How it Could be Done

The paper analyzes how the UNDP, the World Bank, and the IMF classify countries based on their level of development. These systems of classification are found lacking in clarity with regard to their underlying rationale. The paper argues that a country classification system based on a transparent, data-driven methodology is preferable to one based on judgment or ad hoc rules.