A Note on “Third-Worldization”

The US-as-a-third-world-country argument has brought me to etymology territory, via the term “third-worldization,” which Chomsky uses to describe the increasing inequality in the US (but note that continental Europe is following a similar trend now, deregulating incessantly and throwing people off welfare).

For some reason, I hate excessive use of Latinate words, especially Latinate suffixes. Generally, the ending for “to make” I always think about isn’t “-ify” or “-ize” but “-en”: third-worldening, worsening, etc. This is true especially when the root is Germanic, as in “world” but not in “Germanic” (“Germanicize”).

I’m not sure why it’s so – maybe it’s because I tend to borrow expressions liberally from the language I have created/am creating. In that futuristic English, the immediate source of borrowings is older forms of English, or new coinages from existing words, and the affix en-/-en is used far more often. Tolkien had to write an entire pulp book to have a setting for his language’s expressions; I just tend to use them in this world and hope people don’t notice.

4 Responses to A Note on “Third-Worldization”

  1. SLC says:

    Mr. Levy just doesn’t understandhow things work in the USA.

    1. The US has the best medical care in the world, if you can pay for it. Evidence for this came up at the O. J. Simpson trial, of all places, when defense wittness, Dr. Robert Huisenga testified that his clinic charges $1000. for a routine checkup and doesn’t accept Medicare or private insurance (e.g. Blue Cross).

    2. The US is run by a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

    3. Public office in the US is usually won by the candidate witht he most money to spend on television advertising (see item 2 above).

  2. anon says:

    SLC’s description sounds exactly like the third world: specifically like the old “banana republics” where the rich strongmen had everything and everyone else had nothing.

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Although being insured in the US means you get decent health care, you’re still worse off than people in France and Sweden, and probably Japan.

    As for television advertising spending, apparently Freakonomics shows that it’s not important, and the arrow of causation is the opposite of what people think it is, with money flowing into likely winners instead of vice versa.

  4. scot hinson says:

    Actually the US. ranks a whopping 35 of all nations in the world by the World Health Orginazation.

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