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Different people have tried to classify countries into different groups. This is usually done either by looking at how rich people are, on average, in different countries, or how well-developed the political system is. Most of the time there are two groups, namely developing countries and developed ones. Sometimes there are three groups, in which case the third group is between developing and developed countries, and is usually called emerging countries.
These definitions are problematic, because a high standard of living does not just mean that people make a lot of money. The main problem is that things cost different amounts in different countries. Just because people earn more money in one country does not necessarily mean they are better-off; they might earn more simply because the cost of living is higher. This means they need to spend more money just to buy those things they need every day.
For this reason, there are different definitions of developing countries. The level of economic development also changes a lot from one developing countries to another. There are developing countries that have a high standard of living.
Words used to describe these countries
There have been many other names used to describe these countries, including:
- Third World: this name is because the members of NATO and their allies, which mostly had democracy and capitalist systems, counted themselves as the first world; communism (led by the USSR) was considered the second world; and the countries which did not take sides in this way were counted as a "third world" category.
- The Developing World
Less Developed Countries or "LDCs" is often used now because it seems less insulting.
- Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 471. . http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ3R9&PMDbSiteId=2781&PMDbSolutionId=6724&PMDbCategoryId=&PMDbProgramId=12881&level=4.
- "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings (footnote C)". United Nations Statistics Division. 17 October 2008 [revised]. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm#ftnc. Retrieved 2008-12-30.