First world problems

I’ve been thinking about the phrase in the title recently, and it struck me as a misnomer.

You see, the “1st world problem” phrase was something the Americans used to ironically pull when talking about things such as having to wait in line for a fancy new iPhone or Starbucks not offering their favorite flavor of oversweetened junk anymore, meaning “we are so privileged to live in such a wonderful place, while elsewhere people don’t have food or water or sanitation”.

Enter 2022, and the problems in the West are fuel prices, gas shortages, inflation, expected food and electricity shortages, empty shelves, violent riots and so on.

Excuse me, but those no longer sound like 1st world problems to me. Those sound like the kind of problems I used to have in 1980s socialist Yugoslavia, which was by definition 3rd world (both politically and by industrial development, because it was placed right in between the socialist bloc and the capitalist West by all metrics). In Yugoslavia, the problems were self-inflicted due to a bad political and economic system. In today’s West, it appears to be the same. In both cases, it seems to be caused by ideological rigidity of the ruling uniparty (because all “electable” parties in the West are basically the same flavor of “watermelon” (green on the outside, red on the inside)), opposition of any kind is demonised to the point of total social exclusion, and the economy is controlled by political edicts.

Basically, there is no more 1st world, unless we’re talking about Russia and China. America and Europe are fast approaching Africa in standard of living, which is not unexpected considering how much of Africa they recently imported, and considering how their ideas about economy and politics don’t differ greatly from those prevalent in the banana republics.