The Global North-Global South Relations and their reflection on the World Politics and International Economy


  • Nika Chitadze


The concept of Global North and Global South (or North-South relations in a global context) is used to analyze a grouping of states along with socio-economic development and political parameters. The Global South represents a term frequently used to identify the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. It is one of a family of names, including “Third World” and “Periphery”, that determine territories outside Europe and North America, in most cases (though not all) low-income and often politically or culturally marginalized countries on one side of the so-called divide, the other side being the countries of the Global North (often equated with developed countries). As such, the term does not inherently refer to geographical south; for example, most of the Global South is geographically located within the Northern Hemisphere, and on the contrary, some countries from the Global North – particularly Australia, New Zealand, and the South African Republic are located in the Sothern Hemisphere.
The determination as used by governmental and developmental institutions was first introduced as relatively open and value-free alternative to “Third World” and similarly, potentially “valuing” terms like developing countries. The States of the Global South have been described as newly industrialized or in the process of industrializing, and most of them appeared on the world political map as independent states as a result of the process of decolonization, which occured during the cold war period in the second half of the XX Century.
In its turn, Global North correlates with the Western world—excluding Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Israel (among others)—while the South is largely associated with the developing countries (previously called «Third World”) and the Eastern world. The two groups are often defined in terms of their differing levels of wealth, economic development, income inequality, democracy, political and economic freedom, as defined by freedom indices. Countries, that are generally considered as part of the Global North tend to be wealthier and less unequal; they have developed states, with strong democratic institutes, which export technologically advanced manufactured products and where the biggest part of the economically active population is employed in the service sector. Southern states are generally law-income developing countries with younger, more fragile democracies heavily dependent on primary sector exports and generally, they share a history of colonialism imposed on them by Northern states. In most of those countries, the biggest part of the economically active population is involved in the sector of agriculture. Nevertheless, the divide between the North and the South is at times challenged.

Based on the socio-economic parameters, as of the two decades of the 21st century, the share of the North—with one-quarter of the world population— comes four-fifths of the income earned anywhere in the world. 90% of the manufacturing industries are owned by the companies that are located in the North. Inversely, the South—with three-quarters of the world population—has access to one-fifth of the world’s income. As nations become economically developed, most probably they will be associated with the concept of “North”, regardless of geographical location; similarly, nations that do not qualify for “developed” status are in effect deemed to be part of the “South”.