chapter  1
22 Pages

Introduction

This is a textbook about the Global South – the parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia that are often referred to as ‘the developing world’. That should be a simple enough opening sentence, but it hides some contentious defi nitions that go right to the heart of our reasons for writing this book. Had we been writing thirty years ago, these might have been brushed aside more easily: in 1980, ex-German Chancellor Willy Brandt chaired a Commission whose report, North-South: A Programme for Survival presented a clear dividing line between a rich and powerful North, and a poor and marginalized South. Positioned outside the capitalist ‘First World’ as well as the Soviet ‘Second World’, the Global South or ‘Third World’ was seen as something of a residual category, in need of sustained international assistance to ensure its development. From today’s perspective, however, the world looks rather different. Rich and poor nations fall on either side of Brandt’s Line (Figure 1.1): the old Soviet Union has dissolved, leaving new low income countries (such as Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic) in its wake, economic development in some parts of the South has given countries unquestionable ‘High Income’ status (such as South Korea, Singapore and Kuwait), and still others (such as Brazil, India and China) have become regionally or even globally powerful in their own right.