7 Reasons Why Greece Is Not A Third World Country

Ask someone to think of a ‘third world’ country and they will likely point to a place racked by poverty and that experiences severe humanitarian crises. Actually, the phrase ‘third world’ was originally used to describe countries during the Cold War that were not allied to either America or the Soviet Union. However, since the 1990s, ‘third world’ has been used to describe extremely poor countries.

Greece is one of the poorer countries in the European Union. Although millions of people go on holiday to Greece each year, some see it as poorer than their home countries. So, if ‘third world’ is used to describe countries that are poor, could Greece be called a third world country? Actually, no… and we’ll explain why…

1. Greek People Are Rich By Global Standards

A first reason why Greece is not a third world country is because Greek people are wealthy by global standards.

Countries in the third world are racked by poverty. Large parts of their populations live in destitution and millions struggle on low incomes. Generally, people in third world countries are regularly unable to meet their basic needs. Third world countries lack a decent standard of living for their citizens. Greece is not a third world country because Greek people are comparatively well-off.

People in Greece earn, on average, 30,620 USD a year. This means Greece’s per capita income is significantly higher than those of poorer nations. This is major reason why Greece is not a third world country.

It’s important to note that not everyone in Greece is wealthy, and there are people in the country who live in poverty. However, Greece lacks the widespread and extreme poverty found in the third world. The Greek state can provide a degree of social security and support to people living in destitution. This further shows that it is not a third world country.

2. Greece Has A Developed Economy

A second reason why Greece is not in the third world is because it is a developed economy.

Third world countries lack development. They have limited economic growth and their economic outputs remain stunted. Third world countries do not have advanced industries or quality manufacturing sectors. Their economies are often based on agriculture or resource extraction.

Greece has the 54th largest economy in the world. This may not sound like much, for a relatively small country with a population of only 10 million people, it is actually quite impressive. Compared to third world countries, Greece is a wealthy nation.

The economy of Greece is diversified. This means there are a number of key economic sectors that generate income in the country. Greece does not rely almost entirely on one major industry. Economic sectors including tourism, shipping, manufacturing, agricultural production, petroleum, textiles, and chemical engineering make up the Greek economy. The diversity of the Greek economy is another major reason why it is not a third world country.

Third world countries do not have developed economies. The size of the Greek economy, and the development of advanced industries within the country, mean that it is not a third world nation.

3. There Is A Good Infrastructure In Greece

A third reason why Greece is not a third world country is because of the nation’s good infrastructure.

Third world countries lack quality infrastructure. Their roads, railways, airports, tele-communications, and utilities are outdated and in poor condition. Third world countries generally lack the infrastructure needed to move goods, people, and information around their countries and internationally. This holds back their economic growth and is a key reason for their widespread poverty.

There is good infrastructure in Greece. The country has a road network connecting all major towns and cities. There is also a rail network connecting major population centres. Ferries connect to almost every island in Greece. The country has 15 international airports and 20 domestic ones. Greece has good utilities, including water, gas, electricity, tele-communications, and the internet. The quality of infrastructure In Greece is a major reason why it is not a third world country.

Although many Greeks would complain their infrastructure needs updating – as it does in many rich countries, in fact Greece generally has good infrastructure throughout the country. This differs from many third world nations.

4. Greeks Can Access The Healthcare They Need

Another reason why Greece is not a third world country is because Greek people can access quality healthcare.

Third world countries lack the financial and material resources needed to provide good healthcare to their populations. Governments in the third world cannot raise the funds needed to ensure everyone in the county can get the healthcare they need. This means many people in third world countries must pay for their own healthcare. Poor people, and those in remote areas, often do not have access to medical assistance at all.

The healthcare system in Greece is ranked 27th in the world – impressive for a small country. People across Greece are able to get the medical care they need when they are ill. Even in remote and poorer communities, generally Greek people are able to access healthcare. The quality, and the ability of people to access, healthcare in Greece is a major reason why it is not a third world country.

Greece has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, at 81 years. Compare this to many third world countries where life expectancy is usually below 65 years. Greece also has a low infant mortality rate, at 3.6 deaths for every 1000 births. This is much lower than in third world countries where is it often nearer to 37 deaths in every 1000 births. Both of these factors show the quality of the Greek healthcare system and further demonstrate why the country is not in the third world.

5. Greek Children Go To Good Schools

A further reason why Greece is not a third world country is because Greek children go to good schools.

As well as not having the financial and material resources to ensure their populations have access to quality healthcare, third world countries also struggle to provide schooling to their young people. Millions of children living in the third world do not go to school. Those that do often receive poor quality education. Like with healthcare, people living in poverty, or in remote areas of third world countries are more likely to go without schooling.

The Greek education system is ranked 41st in the world – again, impressive for a relatively small country. All children in Greece go to school and receive a high-quality education. Children in Greece receive free schooling from ages 6 to 18. This is a big reason why Greece is not a third world country.

Alongside being able to provide quality primary and secondary education, Greece is able to offer a good standard of higher education to its young people. 37.5% of Greeks attend university. The country also has some of the top universities in the world, including The National Technical University of Athens, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The fact that all children in Greece receive a good education for free, and that many young people in country go on to study at high quality universities, shows that Greece is not in the third world.

6. Greece Is A Democracy

An important reason why Greece is not a third world country is because it is a democracy.

Countries in the third world are generally not democracies. Although there are some democratic states in the third world, many of these are flawed democracies. Many third world countries struggle with coups, seizures of powers, rigged elections and dictatorships. Political systems across the third world lack transparency and accountability. This is a factor that keeps the third world poor.

Greece has been a democracy since 1967. Although the country has had dictatorships in the past, today Greece has a strong democratic tradition. People in Greece are able to vote for their government. The political leaders in Greece is generally accountable to the people and the political system in the country functions as it should.

The fact that Greece is a democracy is a one key factors in why the nation is not in the third world.

Third world countries struggle with corruption. Although Greece also has issues with corruption, it’s extent does not prevent the functioning of the state. This is another way that Greece differs from third world countries.

7. Greece Is A Relatively Stable Country

A final reason why Greece is not a third world country is because of its relative stability.

Third countries are often very unstable. They experience political and economic shocks that they often struggle to recover from. Third world countries are also more at risk of conflict and humanitarian crises. When hit by crises, third world countries lack the resources to help those affected and often must rely on international assistance. Countries in the third world also struggle to maintain internal security and are at risk of foreign interference.

Although Greece does have crises in its recent history – most notably the Eurozone Crises from 2009 and the ongoing refugee/migration crisis, compared to countries in the third world it is highly stable. Major crises such as these have resulted in Greece calling for international assistance. However, these crises were unprecedented in their scale. Generally, Greece is able to support itself, and this is why it is not a third world country.

Greece has a large and modern military. The country is also a member of NATO. Greece is able to meet its own defense needs and does not struggle with internal security issues. This is also why it is not a third world country.

There is no risk of Greece falling into civil conflict or of the Greek state collapsing entirely. Although Greece often sees protects and strikes, these are within the boundaries of a functioning nation. Greece is able to provide a generally high degree of stability for its population, allowing the average person to live their life and run their business with predictability. This is an important reason why Greece is not in the third world.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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