The time frame since the early 20th century to its middle is the period of all-embracing world development by means of socio-political and cultural transformations. Often, those were not peaceful got characterized with bloodshed, which can never be justified. In any case, nations worldwide tried to rebuild their societies and their obsolete structure. Some of them, such as Russia and China, rebelled against the odious ruling, while others, such as India, Argentina, South-African countries, etc., put their efforts into finding ways on how to make their economies and peoples’ well-being grow, being free of colonialism. Overall, both aforementioned groups of nations did not create their unique ideological pillars for the progress of society but adapted those from the more advanced states (e.g. Marxist theories from Germany), refined them, and made their country-specific. Furthermore, the First World, involving the USA and Western Europe, and the Second World, the new-emerged USSR and People’s Republic of China (PRC), polarized the Third World emerging from the colonialism ruins. The latter is to be referred to as “the political platform,” which comprised of the new nations in the previously colonized African and Asian regions (Prashad, 2007, p. 17). Consequently, the more powerful nations, whose ideologies developing states tried to adopt, attempted to dictate the less-advanced ones the way they should follow by all means possible. Thus, the paper will consider how the two contrast ideologies – the First World’s capitalism (imperialism) and the Second World’s Communism and its variations – had influenced the development of the Third-World nations.


Discussion of the Issue

Before analyzing the Third World nations’ situational conditions, it is necessary to trace the evolution of the Marxist approach to society-building on the example of modified USSR and PRC’s states. Although these countries had experienced revolutionary transformations, after the establishment of their own renewed ideological background, they became the major force able to assist underdeveloped communities in resistance to the Western authoritative influences. To be more precise, they also promoted their revolutionary path to the better future for the underdeveloped world, making the region caught up in the crossfire between the opposing East and West.

Evolution of Marxism in the Second World

Being armed with mottos like “richer and fuller life for all” (D’Mello, 2009), Marxism spread through the rebelled Eurasian countries and took their nation-adapted, most famous forms, such as Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism, by the names of their initial theorists and promoters. Karl Marx, who had theorized the socialist approach towards the way how the world may be changed, was the main inspirer for these state coups d’état. One of his remarkable expressions – “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one” (Biao, 1965, p. 44) – has become the central credo for numerous nations worldwide, aimed to follow the Communist ideas. This tendency had been supported not just because it was unique to some extent. The point is that it was different from the capitalist position, which was often associated with the new face of imperialism.

Leninism. Since re-division of the world resources between the underdeveloped nations and “the accumulation of the capital in the center” (D’Mello, 2009) were the prime principles of Leninism; the Third-World countries were involved in this class struggle as well. The Marxist ideology on its Leninist stage has not only followed the proletarian dictatorship strategic direction but also tried to establish the new social class – “aristocracy of labor” (D’Mello, 2009). More so, Lenin’s followers supported and implemented the fight with bourgeoisie – the ruling elite, in order to ensure better living conditions for ordinary workers and poor society layers. This aspect recalled with urgent and burning needs of the Third-World countries’ population that suffered the similar fate. Therefore, the Communist approach seemed to be favorable for this region and evoked the nationalist ideas promoted by socio-political activists.

Stalinism. The primary focus of the Stalin regime was the establishment of dictatorship of the party and the state over the entire society, involving even proletariat. The influence of Stalinism expanded on numerous countries within the USSR itself and its capturing impact on other vulnerable underdeveloped nations that had just wakened up their national consciousness. Stalinism was another step of the Marxist worldview progression, which was most succinctly described through the overwhelming cult of personality of the leader. This branch of the Communist theory was shaped by more aggressive approach to ruling the state in its way to the light Communist future. Particularly, fear, terror, and literary destroying of the potential state enemies became usual policies during that period, reflecting “an obsessive focus on the supreme leader’s will” (D’Mello, 2009). However, one of the winning factors for Stalin as a leader was his origin: he was viewed as a real leader since he was born and brought up in an ordinary, poor family. Nevertheless, the iron fist of the strong Soviet Union state under the Stalin’s law and order had much influence on the world politics, the East-West confrontation, and dictating directions for development of the newly formed independent countries. Collectivization and industrialization, although being forced and badly planned, were also sufficient movers and examples for these nations. Specifically, they were in urgent need of the intra-national support for their domestic industries and agriculture. Of course, reinforced means to achieve such goals were not very welcomed within the states which were practically squeezed by the colonized yoke. Nonetheless, the fact that the modified Marx’ theory in Stalin’s interpretation had some success that made it possible to believe that Communism is a realm that can be pursued. This way, because of certain successful economic events in the Stalinism era, it was possible for underdeveloped countries to assume that Communism may be favorable for their domestic growth.

Maoism. Maoism is one more Communist approach to state-rebuilding that was also influential and exemplified factor, which encouraged the darker nations to keep up with this ideology, as compared to capitalism/ imperialism. As it has been noted by Meisner (1977), Mao Tse-tung developed a socialist society in China or, in any case, outlined the ways and means to achieve it (p. 1017). Moreover, in his position, socialism was viewed as the transitional society to the future prosperous Communism. Apart from the class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie, the Maoist China had two revolutions – a bourgeois and a socialist. Furthermore, the transition to Communism in the PRC can be boldly called a theorized change, since the central figure in this process – Mao Tse-tung – provided a thorough theoretical justification and explanation to this process. For instance, he wrote, “The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution” (Biao, 1965, p. 44). Certainly, the Communist ruling and policies implementation in China was as harsh as in the USSR – for instance, the Cultural Revolution that took many lives of the innocent intelligence. However, the Maoist approach to the society reconstruction had certain specifics. For example, the inspired theorist and leader of this movement and political regime, Mao Tse-tung, believed that within the socialist society as the transitional link from the that time China to the Communist prosper country, there had to be the capitalist economic relations as a necessary component. Only this way, it would have been possible to establish a well-organized transition to the prosperous future. Therefore, the accomplishment of the PRC in the Communist field became another factor that facilitated the popularity of the socialist ideas within Third-Word countries, in spite of Maoism’s reinforced character.

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Communism vs. Imperialism/ Capitalism in the Third World Arena

Nations of Asia and Africa that intensively freed their spaces from the colonial dependence were in search of the proper ideological and political inspiration aimed at creation of better living conditions for their people and countries in general. The beginning of the 20th century was the time when an acute demand for redistribution of the world’s resources had been observed (Prashad, 2007, p. xvii). The latter was in line with the Communism-based ideologies, requiring equality between people and nations. On the other hand, the advanced states, such as ones of the Western Europe and the USA, emphasized that it was overpopulation, but not imperialism that caused hunger in the formerly colonized region (Prashad, 2007, p. 12). Hence, they were able to assist poor populations. In this regard, the Third-World countries were not sure what path they should choose.

The so-called Western capitalism through the specified organizations – the League of Nations, the United Nations Organization (UNO), etc., offered their aid in case the underdeveloped nations will allow the West to establish its political and economic strategies in the area (Prashad, 2007, p. 12). These after-colonist nations needed to maintain their own, self-sufficient domestic economies to learn to operate separately from their previous masters. As an Argentinean activist, Prebish, has asserted, new nations needed to transit their society from the production of raw materials to their proceeding and manufacturing of ready-made goods (Prashad, 2007, p. 107). The ultimatum from the West to the Third World was accepted with fear. Particularly, the aid from abroad was really necessary for these states. Nevertheless, an attempt to dictate their actions was considered to be modern colonialism, as the form of intellectual and economic control (Prashad, 2007, p. 57). The point is that Westerners seemingly supported the Max Weber’s the darker nations’ modernization theory. It stated that those had no overall frugality concept within their culture and, as a result, it was their own will to be poor (Prashad, 2007, p. 110). With respect to the aforementioned claim, the capitalist way of life and implemented policies were regarded as means to expand the Western influence in the region. This was done in order to contradict and counteract the emerging Communist superpowers – the USSR and the PRC – rather than provide sufficient assistance to the underdeveloped nations. Moreover, such respectable researcher of this historical aspect as Andrew Frank has asserted that both the world and national capitalism were the causes of underdevelopment, either in the past or today (Kay, 2005, p. 1178). As a result, those countries preferred the way of life promoted by Communism. What is more, the Bandung Conference was an event that enabled the participants of the Third-Word countries’ meeting with their voice, stressing their immense desire to develop on their own. Namely, it demonstrated to the world community that poor countries “had the right to return to their own burned cities, cherish them, and rebuild them in their own image” (Prashad, 2007, p. 54).

Communism seemed suitable for the newly built states, since it was different from capitalism, often associated with the veiled colonialism. In any case, each of the darker nations had developed their country-specific approaches to the local needs and problems. For instance, Sukarno, an Indonesian leader, following his nation-centered socialism, underlined the importance of nationalism as the central concept to the prosperity of his nation. His ideas sounded resonantly to the people’s urgent needs and gained a lot of popularity among the residents. Sukarno believed in his statements and Indonesians followed him, but he acted spontaneously, having no clear plan or strategy for the social development of his people. Furthermore, he promoted overall justice and freedom, but not general revolution against the old social classes (Prashad, 2007, p. 60). The socialist ideas themselves sounded favorable for Indonesia and other states in the region. However, the pressure from the powerful Communist countries was evident. The ideologists and politics from the USSR and PRC were confident that these nations were not capable to ensure the development of their countries on their own and had to be “entrusted to the advanced nations” (Prashad, 2007, p. 35). What is most important, during the Brussels’ Congress, the representatives of new states emphasized their right to rule themselves (Prashad, 2007, p. 37). Conversely, Communists did not support this idea. They were against movements for the national liberation because they were not in line with the dictatorship of the proletariat promoted by Communism. Consequently, although the Third-World nations were inspired by this ideology in general, they did not support the pressure from its promoters. Thus, they chose their adapted variants of socialism to follow.


To conclude, the current paper has considered how the two contrast ideologies – the First World’s capitalism (imperialism) and the Second World’s Communism and its variations – had influenced the development of the Third-World nations. Specifically, it has been clarified that both the rebuilt countries of the Communist-orientated East and the advanced Western nations tried to impose their political views on the emerging states. Regardless of those who were supportive to the socialist approach, they chose their adapted, country-specific doctrines to ensure their self-sufficient development, without pressure from the outside. Therefore, both ideological worldviews impacted the Third-Word countries’ progress.

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