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'Developing world': the wrong terminology

I think SciDev.Net’s prominent use of terminology such as the "developing world" is unfortunate. It wouldn't be so bad to think of the whole world as developing, but contrasting "developing" nations with "developed" ones is just wrong.

Referring to the West as "developed" – that is, the finished product that the rest of the world is aspiring to – is offensive (as well as depressing in a certain sense). It ignores the urgent need for various sorts of improvement in "developed" countries, and it implies an intolerantly universal vision for a very diverse world.

(I would use "Global South" and "Global North", or even "poor" and "rich", over the currently accepted terminology you endorse.)

A response from SciDev.Net:

In using the terms "developed" and "developing", we are well aware of the short-comings of such descriptions that Tim Huegerich points out. The difficulty faced by anyone seeking to come up with an acceptable terminology, however, is that every attempt at characterisation raises problems. How should one describe a country that is culturally "rich" but economically "poor"? Can countries in the Northern hemisphere (such as China or Bangladesh) be legitimately included in the "Global South"? Is the description "less developed" any less judgemental than the description "developing"? And so on.

Given that no single nomenclature seems to be problem-free, we have decided to adopt a pluralistic approach, using a range of descriptions – and seeking to remain aware of the limitations of each – rather than adopting a rigid house style to be applied in all circumstances. We do this in the hope that readers will be aware of the dilemma faced by anyone seeking to find a single, accurate and value-free characterisation. But we welcome other reflections on this topic.