Underdevelopment is not the absence of development, because every people have developed in one way or another and to a greater or lesser extent. Underdevelopment only makes sense as a means of comparing levels of development. It is very much tied to the fact that human social development has been uneven and from a strictly economic view-point some human groups have advanced further by producing more and becoming more wealthy Our main pre-occupation this time around is with the disparity in wealth between Europe and North America on the one hand and Africa, Asia and Latin America on the other. In comparism with the first, the second group can be said to be backward or underdeveloped. The idea behind underdevelopment is therefore a comparative one. Underdevelopment can also be explained in terms of relationship of exploitation of one country by another. All the countries classified as underdeveloped in the world were exploited by others. The underdevelopment with which the world is now preoccupied is a product of capitalist, imperialist and colonialist exploitation.
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE STATE
The State as an institution came into existence as part of a historical process. In the third world, decolonization shaped the state, giving it specific characteristics. The boundaries existing at the time of colonization were modified in some cases; in other cases entirely new states were carved out. The territorial boundaries of the state did not always coincide with the Nation; that is, often people belonging to different ethnic groups, nationalities were brought together and the boundaries of the colonies were traced, delimited according to the needs of the colonial powers. African states are the best examples to indicate the artificially of the state. Nigeria for example was entirely a British creation. The Third World States became states before they became nations. This, is to a large extent, is responsible for territorial conflicts and for problem of national integration. A number of Third World Countries face ethnic and secessionist movements in the post-colonial era. British colonial policies and the dynamics of nationalist movements led to the creation of Pakistan’s secessionist movement which is turn led to the creation of Bangladesh. The artificiality the colonial boundaries, the impact of colonial legacy and the dynamics of decolonization processes explain the complexity of the Third World State.
The third world state has the following distinct features.
1. It is an over developed state;
2. It enjoys autonomy from the dominant classes;
3. It protects the interests of the metropolitan bourgeoisie also.
An ‘Over-developed State’
In the Western capitalist countries the modem nation-state has emerged due to internal dynamics of society. It came into being in the course of a historical transition to capitalism. The rising capitalist class took the initiative to establish a nation-state. In the third world the motive force for change in the political institutions came from outside. During the colonial period the third world was dominated by the western capitalist countries. The colonial rulers had created political institutions in their own image to facilitate domination over the native classes and economic exploitation of the colonies.
To perform these functions the colonial rulers have related an elaborated legal-institutional structure to control the colonies. The many and the bureaucracy who manned these institutions played a vital role in managing the affairs of the colonial rulers. Even after independence the elaborate structure remained in existence. There are two salient features of this state: one that it is not formed by the local classes nor is it established as a consequence of social change, two, and the native ruling classes had no control over the state.
An over developed state weakens democratic institutions. Even in those third world countries where democratic institutions exist and the elected representatives control the state agencies, bureaucracy retains its domination over the state. However it exercises control in league with politicians. In countries having democratic control politicians occupy central place. Politicians articulate the demands of the people to cultivate support. They formulate policies to fulfill the demands of the people. In this process politicians provide legitimacy to the political institutions. However, the power is hemmed in by bureaucratic procedures and controls. Politicians are converted into brokers between the state and the people.
The western countries are dominated a single well-formed dominant class. In all the western countries the capitalist class is the dominant class. The third world is marked by the existence of multiple dominant classes. The landlord class, i.e. local bourgeoisie of the metropolis control the third world. An alliance consisting of all these classes dominates the state. The alliance is called historic bloc. The historic bloc arises because the social formation in third world consists of elements from both capitalist as well as pre capitalist social relations. The capitalist class is weak and incapable of fighting against the pre-capitalist relations in society.
The capitalist class is weak because it exercises limited control over the economic activity. A large part of the economic production is controlled either by the metropolitan bourgeoisie or by the local landed gentry. No class is enough strong to exercise control over the state.
Control of the Metropolis
The third world state is subjected’ to control by extraneous forces. The under-developed nature of the economy and the nature of the ruling elite classes renders the state dependent on foreign aid and capital. The ruling elite by acting as mediators between the state and the external capital amass profits. This process does not help development. The gap between the ruled and the rulers and between the rich and the poor widens. It is far-fetched to argue that €he third world state is completely under the control of imperialist rulers. Independence from colonial domination has eliminated the scope for the bourgeoisie of the imperialist powers to exercise direct control over the third world state. However it influences the third world state indirectly. The over-developed third world state by dissolving the national boundaries, creates favorable conditions for the world market to penetrate into the third world.
The Third World states are to a large extent colonial creations in the sense that their boundaries, the nature of their regimes have been deeply influenced by colonial policies. The nature of the Third World state is analyzed in liberal democratic, Marxist and new Marxist works. The Third World economies are integrated into the World economy, which is guided by the principles of free market, and represent the interests of the dominant sections of the society. While they are dependent on the former colonial power, they also exercise a certain independence and mediate between the state and the metropolis. The Third World state is desired as ‘over developed’, as one with ‘relative autonomy’, as ‘dependent’ state. We have considered the issues of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment in Third World Countries and have discussed how unfavorable global rules and lack of proper implementation of state policies have been the major causes of problems. The globalizing world does not seem to favor Third World to Developing countries. The advanced North has continued to dominate the rest of the world; the South on the other hand, has been at the receiving end of inequalities. This situation is antithetical to development in the South. In the 21st century, much more focus has to be placed on charging the political and economic behavior of the world.