Second World

DEFINITION of 'Second World'

1. A country that was once controlled by the Soviet Union. Second World countries were centrally planned economies, and also one party states. The use of the term to refer to Soviet countries largely fell out of use in the early 1990s, shortly after the end of the Cold War.

2. A country that is more stable and more developed than a third-world country but less-stable and less-developed than a first-world country. Examples of second-world countries by this definition include almost all of Latin and South America, Turkey, Thailand, South Africa and many others. Investors sometimes refer to second-world countries that appear to be headed toward first-world status as "emerging markets."

Some countries could be considered second-world by either of these two definitions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Second World'

1. Examples of second-world countries by this definition include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, China and others.

2. According to geo-strategist and London School of Economics doctorate Parag Khanna, there are about 100 countries that are neither first-world (OECD) nor third-world (least-developed, or LDC) countries. Khanna also points out that within the same country there can be a coexistence of first and second, second and third or first and third world characteristics. A country's major metropolitan areas may exhibit first-world characteristics while its rural areas exhibit third-world characteristics, for example.

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