First World Problem

my super sweet 16

The term First World Problems refers to issues perceived as difficult to those residing in the more developed nations in the global arena (i.e., the First World), but which are banal when compared to the difficulties encountered by those in the less developed Third World. First World Problems is often used in a derisive manner towards those who complain about the problems they experience in the ‘First World’ on a regular basis. However, it is also routinely used by scholars and economists in studying the relationship between the Third World and the First World.

The exact provenance of the term is uncertain, although some believe that it originated with comedic author David Rakoff, whose 2005 book ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ is subtitled ‘The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems.’ Many computer games, notably, provide a fascinating degree of First World escapism via a simulation of Third World Problems. For example, the infamous 1980s ASCII-based dungeon crawler ‘Rogue’ provided those First World denizens who had overcome the First World Problem of not owning a computer to experience such Third World Problems as starvation, existential ennui, and life-or-death hand-to-hand combat.

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