Global Stratification & Poverty: Crash Course Sociology #27

Global Stratification & Poverty: Crash Course Sociology #27

You’ve heard of “First World Problems,”
right? Someone cracks the screen on their iPhone or gets the
wrong order at Starbucks, and then they go on Twitter
and complain about their hashtag First World Problems. So, you’re heard the phrase, but have you
thought about the implications of talking
about countries as First or Third? Where do these names even come from? These terms are outdated, inaccurate, and
frankly insulting ways of talking about global
stratification. So how should we talk about global stratification? [Theme Music] First, let’s deconstruct the idea of the
first, second, third world hierarchy; see where it came from;
and learn what its implications are. The terms date back to the Cold War, when Western
policymakers began talking about the world as three
distinct political and economic blocs. Western Capitalist countries were labeled
the “First World”. The Soviet Union and its allies were termed
the “Second World”. And then everyone else – got grouped into
“Third World.” After the Cold War ended, the category of
Second World Countries became null and void, but somehow the terms First World and Third
World stuck around in the public consciousness. Third World Countries, which started as just
a vague catch-all for non-aligned countries, came to be associated with impoverished
states, while First World was associated with
rich, industrialized countries. But in addition to being seriously outdated,
these terms are also inaccurate. There are more than 100 countries that fit
the label of “Third World,” but they have vastly
different levels of economic stability. Some are relatively poor, but many aren’t. So, lumping Botswana and Rwanda into the same
category, for example, doesn’t make much sense,
because the average income per capita in Botswana
is nine times larger than in Rwanda. Nowadays, sociologists sort countries
into groups based on their specific levels of
economic productivity. To do this, they use the Gross Domestic Product
or GDP, which measures the total output of a country, and the Gross National Income or GNI, which
measures GDP per capita. High income countries are those with GNI above
$12,500 per year. There are 79 countries in this group, including
the US, the UK, Germany, Chile, Saudi Arabia,
Singapore, and more. As the name suggests, standards of living
are higher here than the rest of the world. High income countries are also highly
urbanized, with 81% of people in high income
countries living in or near cities. Much of the world’s industry is centered
in these countries, too – and with industry,
comes money and technology. Take cell phones, for example. 60% of those in low income countries have
a cell phone. But in high income countries, not only does almost
everyone have a cell phone, but for every 100 people in
high income countries, there are 124 cell phone plans. The next category is the upper middle income
countries, defined as those with GNI between
$4,000 and $12,500 per year. There are 56 countries in this group, and they tend to have advancing economies with both manufacturing and high tech markets, such as China, Mexico, Russia, and Argentina. They’re also heavily urban, have access to public
infrastructure like education and health, and have
comfortable standards of living for most citizens – not too different from what you’d
expect in a high income country. Now, you might notice that I keep talking
about how “urban” these types of countries are. Why does it matter how many people live in
cities? Well, if you’re used to media depictions
of poverty in the US, you might think of it
as an inner city problem. But poverty worldwide is mostly rural. Agricultural societies produce less than
industrialized ones. Which brings us to our next grouping: lower
middle income countries. These have GNI between $1000 and $4000 per
year, and they include such countries as Ukraine,
India, Guatemala, and Zambia. Unlike the previous groups, only 40% of
people living in lower middle income countries
live in urban areas, and the economy is based around manufacturing
and natural resource production. Here, access to services, like quality health
care and education, is limited to those who
are well-off. For example, the maternal mortality rate is
5 times higher in lower middle income countries
than in upper middle income countries, and one-third of children under the age of
five are malnourished. Our final grouping includes the 31 countries
designated as low-income, which have yearly
GNI less than $1000 per year. These countries are primarily rural. Most of the world’s farmers live in these
countries, and their economies are mainly
based on agriculture. Not only do these countries face income poverty,
they also have greater rates of disease, worse
healthcare and education systems, and many of their citizens lack access to
basic needs like food and clean water. Here, 8% of children die before the age of
five. And among older children, more than one-third
never finish primary school. This type of poverty is very different than
the type of poverty that we see in high income
countries like the United States. That’s why, when talk about social stratification
on a global level, it’s important to remember the
distinctions between relative and absolute poverty. Relative poverty exists in all societies,
regardless of the overall income level of
the society. But absolute poverty is when a lack of resources
is literally life-threatening. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble to talk about
two groups that are particularly vulnerable in
low-income countries: children and women. The results of child poverty range from
malnutrition to homelessness to children working
in dangerous and illegal jobs. UNICEF estimates that there are 18.5 million
children worldwide who are orphans, and an
estimated 150 million are engaged in child labor. Child malnutrition is worst in South Asia
and Africa, where one-third of children are
affected. And half of all child deaths worldwide are
attributed to hunger. Women also make up a disproportionate number
of the globally poor. 70% of those living at or below absolute poverty
levels worldwide are women. Some of this is a result of women being kept
from working, due to religious or cultural beliefs. Some of it is because many women who do work
don’t get to control the fruits of their labor. Quite literally. Even though women in low income countries
produce 70% of the food, men own the land
that the women’s labor is done on. 90% of the land in poor countries is owned
by men. And the poverty of children and the poverty
of women are connected, specifically by
reproductive health care. Poor access to reproductive health care is
part of the reason that birth rates are so much
higher in low income countries. And less money plus more mouths to feed equals
more child poverty. Thanks Thought Bubble. Women and children may be the most vulnerable
to global poverty, but poor societies have many
problems beyond malnutrition and poor healthcare. Including slavery. You might think of slavery as a problem from
long ago – I mean, the US was slow to abolish
slavery compared to other Western countries. But slavery is very much alive around the
world. The International Labor Organization estimates
that there are at least 20 million men, women,
and children currently enslaved. Now, all of these symptoms of global poverty
might make you think: What causes it? One likely cause is simply the lack of access
to technology. And I’m not talking about, like, self-driving
cars. Being able to use simple things like fertilizer
and modern seeds, for example, can make huge
differences for families in low-income countries. Also, cell phones. The growing number of cell phones in Sub-Saharan
Africa has increased access to educational tools,
banking services, and health care resources. Another major cause of global inequalities
is population growth. Even with the higher death rates, the high birth rates
in lower income countries mean that the populations
in poor countries double every 25 years, further straining those countries’
economic resources. And this is directly related to a third reason
for global poverty: gender inequalities. The same cultural and social factors that prevent
women from working also tend to limit their access
to birth control, which in turn, increases family sizes. And that contributes to population growth
and slows economic development, as resources become strained. Social and economic stratification, both
within countries and across countries, are
also part of the story. Unequal distribution of wealth within a
country makes it hard for those stuck in
poverty to get out of poverty. And inequality across nations means that countries
with more economic power have historically been
able to subjugate less powerful nations through
systems like colonialism. Colonialism is the process by which some
nations enrich themselves by taking political
and economic control of other nations. Western Europe colonized much of Latin America,
Africa, and Asia starting more than 500 years ago. And as a result, much of the wealth and resources
flowed out of those regions and into European coffers. And colonialism isn’t some distant past. Most African British colonies gained their
independence in 1968. In other words, the Baby Boomers that you
know were alive when the UK still had colonies. So, it’s no wonder that so many colonized
countries remain low or lower middle income, when they’ve only had a little over a half century
to begin building their own independent countries. And as colonialism fell, new power
relationships emerged that have made it harder
for poor countries to develop further. Neo colonialism doesn’t involve direct political
control of a nation; instead it involves economic
exploitation by corporations, for example. Corporate leaders often exert economic pressure on
lower income countries to allow them to operate under
business conditions that are favorable for the companies, and often unfavorable for the citizens that
work for them. This is all difficult stuff to talk about, but there
is good news: global poverty is getting better. Life expectancy is improving rapidly in low
income countries. Between 1990 and 2012, life expectancy in
low income countries has increased by 9 years. And child mortality rates halved worldwide
in the same time period. How do we keep up this progress? If we want to tackle global poverty, addressing
the social, cultural, and economic forces that keep
countries mired in poverty will be the first step. Today we discussed the terms First and Third
World countries and the reasons why these
terms are no longer used. We also went over four types of countries: high income, upper middle income, lower
middle income, and low income countries, and
the lifestyles of people within those countries. We talked about some of the consequences of
global poverty, including malnutrition, poor education, overpopulation partially due to poor
reproductive healthcare, and slavery. Finally, we discussed some explanations for global
poverty, including technology, gender inequality, social stratification, and global power
relationships like colonialism. Next week, we’ll discuss the main theories
behind global stratification. Crash Course Sociology is filmed in the Dr.
Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT, and
it’s made with the help of all these nice people. Our Animation Team is Thought Cafe and Crash
Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for
everyone, forever, you can support the series
at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows
you to support the content you love. Speaking of Patreon, we’d like to thank all
of our patrons in general, and we’d like to
specifically thank our Headmaster of Learning
Ben Holden-Crowther. Thank you so much for your support.

100 thoughts on “Global Stratification & Poverty: Crash Course Sociology #27

  1. >critiques neocolonialism
    >critiques patriarchy
    >repeats neoliberal talking points like “things are getting better”


  2. Religious fundamentalism is also one of the causes of poverty because it's against gender equality and birth control. Not just in poor countries either. The states in the US that have strict anti-abortion laws have seen an upswing in infant and mother mortality rates.

  3. To solve this problem i don't think we can depend upon government to help humanity.
    I would like to see a grass roots system of people rise up, that realizes that government and politicians can't save them.

    Something like this maybe
    Remove the spiritual side and it could still possibly be a good system but problems will arise if it isnt built on equality in status. In this system there is no human leader only guides, known as 'pastors' who job was to keep the peace. Not to make a profit off the congregation.
    This was their system…
    44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;
    45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

    ¶And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
    33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
    34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales
    and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

    You could argue the apostles were getting rich off the system, but they were not supposed too and the apostles were not meant to be leaders over the people. They were equal. Jesus commanded "do not call yourself leaders for their is one leader, Christ.

    Few if any Christian follows these teachings anymore.

  4. Well I often say that the United States has a 3rd world power infrastructure. And maybe where I live at least a 2nd world transit system.

  5. History of Colonialism continues to hold thise countries back? Sound like cherry picking imo. Honk kong is an economic powerhouse, and russia isnt doing terribly awful after their failed experiment with planned economies that only ended in the early 90s.

  6. I wish I had the confidence and authority of the presenters on the show. And I wish I had the snappy dress sense.

  7. Global Stratification basically because the wealthy countries took all the resources and dump all the trashes to the poor countries. Plus poor countries have less stable political atmospheres, less regulations to corruptions. Simply everything goes wrong without a stable political atmosphere.

  8. Third world didn't come to be associated with poorer economies magically. This is a gross negligence of the colonial histories of first world countries and the robbing of the third world of its resources. First and third world are terms that are accurate of colonial histories. It was never about standards of living.

  9. In the real world, the meaning of the terms first, second and third world have changed from their cold-war meaning to simply sorting them into three categories by national income. I personally refer to my country as second world because it's not rich enough to put into the same category as countries like the US, but not poor enough to qualify for third world.

    I'm personally not a fan of World Bank classification, the cutoff income puts countries that have GNI of 4-5 times less than the US in high-income category, while as you can imagine, the disparity between them is clearly apparent.

  10. GDP and GNI don't accurately represent a country's microeconomy, since in countries like Mexico the 10% controls 50% of the income, and that 10% boosts up the GDP per capita

  11. Second world problems: "I forgot to get my ration card stamped. Now I won't be able to get bread from the bakery this week. Eh, beats waiting in a mile long line."

  12. This video is full of inaccurate information & false premises. I like CrashCourse, but this is embarrassing. GNI falsely labed, inaccurate maps, wrong economic data. It greatly hurts the credibility of this channel as a a reliable source of information.

  13. Latvia is not a high income country. On your map it is marked as one. the Average salary here is 600 euros per month that's 7200 per year.

  14. 1:53 Correction

    Gross national income (GNI) is defined as the sum of value added by all producers who are residents in a nation, plus any product taxes (minus subsidies) not included in output, plus income received from abroad such as employee compensation and property income.

    Per capita GDP is a measure of the total output of a country that takes gross domestic product (GDP) and divides it by the number of people in the country.

  15. I find that crash course economics has already talked about somr of the topics that crash course sociology covers, often I think the lense offered by economics is more useful as well. Here is basically the equivalent crash course economics episode

  16. Orwell wrote that it is hardest to see what's most obvious/right in front of your face.
    That the poorest countries have the highest amount of black africans is not a coincidence. How many great black african inventions do you know? How many great black african scientists do you know about? How many advanced/impressive black african cities do you know about?

    I am sure I will be accused of hating black people. I don't, in fact I look up to Neil deGrasse Tyson!

    Also you are overestimating the effects of malnutrition. The same holds true for black africans living in developed countries. East asian babies adopted get a higher result on intelligence tests on average than adopted black african children. The studies are out there, it is not like it has never been tested.

    Ask yourselves: what if serious studies proved that black africans have lower intelligence on average because of genetics, how would those studies be received even if they were correct?
    Really, how would they be received?

  17. Interesting to know that India (a major leader of the non-aligned movement emerging in the aftermath of our Gandhian-philosophy-driven independence struggle) found no place in any world according to the maps presented here.

  18. Development Economist here with a few thoughts related to my field:

    GNI does not measure GDP per capita. GDP per capita measures GDP per capita. GNI is GDP plus incomes earned in foreign economies by domestic residents minus incomes earned in the domestic economy by non-residents. The idea is to capture the total income that is claimed by residents of a country as opposed to simply the total output of the domestic economy. The numbers that you were quoting were GNI per capita. Not really GDP related, directly.

    Also, you are mischaracterizing the population growth issue in developing countries. Explosive population growth is a standard part of development and it has very little if anything to do with lack of access to contraceptives, although they often do lack access to contraceptives. The issue is that countries, at one point, have high death rates, low life expectancies, and high infant mortality rates. When your country is like this, you have to have high birth rates or your population will collapse, so that gets built in to cultural practices. As their access to medical care and nutrition and education improve, all of those things decrease. When you have fewer infant deaths and everyone alive starts living longer, but cultural practices around reproduction do not change, population goes crazy. This always happens, especially when a country develops relatively quickly. Eventually, cultural practices change for various reasons, birth rates fall dramatically, and population stabilizes. You see this in countries like Japan, Korea, and China to a certain extent. Giving people better access to contraceptives and reproductive healthcare doesn't fix this unless your goal is to manually shape their cultural practices from the outside, but this has tons of undesirable ethical implications.

    Also, child labor is not as cut-and-dry an issue as your off-hand comment made it seem. There are kinds of child labor that are unequivocally bad like when children have to work long hours in some production facility or are pressed into illegal trades to the detriment of their own personal development, but there are some kinds of child labor that are not so clearly bad. For instance, there are many places in the world where children often assist their families in economic activity of various sorts in such a way that the family's ability to sustain itself is affected dramatically but the child is still able to get an education and everything else that is important for child development. These instances are often lumped in with the more severe cases of child labor, but it is not clear that the situation would be improved by ending these less negative instances of child labor.

  19. "western Europe colonized much of Latin America, Africa, and Asia …" Surely western European powers colonized all of North, Central and South America, most of Africa, and some of Asia. Why exclude high income post-colonial countries like the US, Canada, Barbados, and Hong Kong from your analysis?

  20. If you really need to divide the countries of the world into the dominant/rich ones and the poor ones, there's the Global North and Global South.

  21. Corperations "exploit" people in poorer countries, global poverty is declining. If this doesn't look like double-think you need to logic, bro

  22. I never usually use this for revision now, it's too fast. Even if I think it's better for being a re-revision because I don't learn much.

  23. Your data on GNI per capita is outdated – Russia was below $10K mark more than 15 (!) years ago. Since 2011 it has been at over $22K.

  24. You forgot to mention, in relation to Neo-Colonialism, how USA has toppled multiple foreign Governments that have attempted/threatened to nationalize their natural resources instead of letting American Corporations exploit them!

  25. Why are (mostly) african countries so bad of in comparision to for example some asian countries which where also colonised?

  26. 90 percent of what she said was mind-numbingly stupid. Yeah, let's blame global poverty on gender inequality and exploitation by corporations (cause they're not giving income to people right?). It will also help them if we stop using the term "third-world" cause that's offensive. Face-palm.

  27. She said colonial money flows into European pockets. No mention of America. She gives 3 possible causes of global poverty, 1) lack of access to fertilizers and modern seeds, Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont I suppose, and lack of cell phones, 2) population growth, she might as well have said that the poor are poor because they breed so much, 3) gender inequality, laws don't allow for free access to birth control, essentially it's the politicians' and the lawmakers' fault. Only one short mention of neocolonial economic exploitation by corporations, 'for example". For example? Who else exploits nations economically? Are there other culprits? No there are not. Corporations are directly responsible for neocolonial, neoliberal, expansion. Corporations need to be regulated. I'm starting to believe that CrashCourse is funded by large transnational corporations. This video is a good example of a subtle and well-crafted attempt at misdirection by well-established ideological forces. Nice work.

  28. You say access to "modern seeds and fertilisers" makes people richer. Let us not to insinuate GMOs and chemical fertilisers make people richer. Agroecological techniques like Pierre Rabhi's really make agricultural communities flourish and rich through food security. Check out more at this link if this is interesting to you: .
    Check out the rice farmer's testimony at page 3 and share your thoughts! Take care!

  29. You're wrong, and that's odd.
    South America was NEVER considered First world. It was never an alingment thing. But you do you I guess.
    Also I find it odd that you "forgot" to mention the elderly as a group of people at risk in poorer countries.

  30. I don’t particularly see the connection between poverty and “poor reproductive healthcare” but I see a strong connection between poverty and lack of sexual education. It something that we can observe in every single city of this planet … less intelligent individuals tend to make more children. You can give them a lifetime free supply of condoms that they won’t ever use once. Let it tell by someone who has no problem to tell which one of his friends are more stupid than the others …. All the people I know that dropped out of school is now a parent. Argue as much you want, but it not a case: stupid people are dangerous in bed. End of my comment !

  31. Fun fact: '3rd world' actually predates the terms 1st or 2nd world. It was originally used by a French dude to reference the fact that this was the area of the world best poised to shake up the world order, much like the 3rd estate of French society in the French revolution. Later, the term was appropriated with its new meaning as the 3rd best world, but I still like the original meaning, especially when you look at how in the Cold War many of these countries formed the non-aligned movement that did indeed try to shake up the world order by defying the Cold War paradigms of east vs west, capitalist vs communist.

  32. I have life in Ghana the past six years and the main reason Ghana is poor and corrupt is because Europeans still maintain 97 percent of Ghana resource

  33. Most countries including the poorer ones are always trying to attract capital investment from Corporations today. Russia and Venezuela invited oil companies to help extract their oil reserves . But Venezuela then confiscated and nationalised the infrastructure. .

  34. live in an ex-British colony myself, Queensland Australia ,I migrated from NZ. Despite that fact I didn't at least feel poor in either country.

  35. Nice job. It is worth noting that poor areas are not well equipped to handle the consequences what what we consider modern pesticides, or the debt and insecurity of high input monocropping practices.

  36. Well, now I think I can guess the contents of the upcoming episode.Dependency theory, Cumulative causation and economic development theories could be discussed in the next episode.

  37. After skipping 24 episodes I thought I would try this one just to see what kind of cool facts and figures it might have and all I got were some unlabeled maps that I had to pause to read. -_-

  38. Its insulting to use? Ok, didn't know this was a moral lesson. I prefer that guy on crash course who doesn't try to lecture me morally before even teaching me anything.

  39. Sounds like absolute poverty would be solved by simply not allowing Monsanto to own corn genes, corn subsidies thanks to Monsanto lobbying, energy/pesticide prices thanks to OPEC, and even the insulin after we inject corn syrup into everything else we produce… Stop Monsanto and absolute poverty is eradicated in a year.

  40. You included North Korea in the group of nations which is the lowest income and then talk about how these nations have basically no education… yet there they are, doing literal rocket and nuclear science. Something tells me your grouping is flawed.

  41. The comment section in CC sociology is always so butthurt sigh… I'm gonna spread some love for the great work of this team ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  42. Thank you for all the informative videos and knowledge you provide! Truly appreciate the effort.
    One question though on this video: It is said (5.22) that many women are kept from working due to religious beliefs. What religious belief system prohibits women from working? As I know none and in the video it is mentioned that indeed there are religious beliefs which do just that, I would appreciate further background on that!

  43. Crashcourse. it bothers me that you treat slavery as a problem of the 3rd world but not America. We have millions of americans right now doing free labor for private corporations and they're called prisons. Whatever you think of the people in there, they are enslaved. They are working for nothing, under penalty of physical violence. We are the most incarcerated nation in the country. Slavery is state-sponsored in the US.

  44. Wikipedia has a different map of the first world, second world, third world. I saw it under the Wikipedia article “First World.” They don’t have Libya, Ethiopia, Burma… how come those are considered first world?

  45. I don't get how not having "reproductive healthcare" (liberal code for abortion and the pill) is gender inequality. Men also tend not to have contraception when women don't as far as I know.

  46. This is the one reason i left my religion.
    The worse thing than slavery is when slave start loving his chains or even start considering them his fate. or a test by Allah or any shitty sky daddy

  47. So… Puerto Rico is still a US colony. That would have been a great example of traditional as well as neo colonialism.

  48. What about differences in income equality between countries? The US and Sweden are both equally rich, but only one looks like a 3rd world county.

  49. This seems to imply that without colonialism everyone would be in a similar bracket. Respecting different cultures requires that you regard them as different enough to generate different results. They have different priorities and may have different ideas (of time, of the individual, or being part of a greater world) percolating. The west producing the current culture implies a deep cultural alignment with the culturally specific version of civilization (full of its assumptions, weird values).

    I think a lot of histories of the west would imply that the west had dozens of advantages/lucky breaks, such that western nations might well have infrastructure advantages even dating back 2000 years. It's not like everyone started from the same point.

  50. I've seen somewhere that, even though colonies were exploited by the colonizers, they end up faring better than neighboring regions that didn't have this "advantage", as it brought some wealth and infra-structure necessary for the whole colonial deal, and possibly even institutions from where locals could eventually benefit from, as moral evolved and so forth.

  51. 90% percent of all fights between male lions and female lions result in a male lion victory, something needs to be done about this. Gender inequalities are running rampant.

  52. How do we keep up this process?

    Chillax, I’m joking. Why bother with neo-liberalism when you can just invade the shithole, put a puppet leader on top, and steal the oil.
    Now you’re thinking!

  53. One thing I learned that don't trust comment section on YouTube comments section, anyone regardless of who side they on they trend to be incorrect and false.

  54. Hey Crashcourse! Absolutely love your videos! They're amazing! I was looking for a video on Universal Basic Income (UBI) and couldn't find any in your resources. Any chance we'll get one?

  55. Hate to break to you but most Brazilians do not have comfortable standards of living. People die in lines waiting for emergency care and children in the Northeastern part of the country don't have drinking water. Define 'comfortable ' again?

  56. That's not right about Ukraine. GDP per capita there is about 8000 and has never been lower 4000, so it's an upper middle income country.

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