Three World theory is a theory developed by Mao Zedong that suggests that the world is politically and economically divided into three world. Mao's theory differs significantly from the traditional ideal of "third world". According to Mao the first world is made up of the superpowers, the second world of the wealthy allies of the superpowers, and the third world of the nonaligned nation. It is notable for grouping the USA and USSR together as exploiter nations. Deng Xiaoping brought this view before the world in his 1974 speech to the United Nations.

From an interview with Mao Zedong:

Mao: Who belongs to the First World?

Kaunda: I think it ought to be world of exploiters and imperialists.

Mao: And the Second World?

Kaunda: Those who have become revisionists.

Mao: I hold that the U.S. and the Soviet Union belong to the First World. The middle elements, such as Japan, Europe, Australia and Canada, belong to the Second World. We are the Third World.

Kaunda: I agree with your analysis, Mr. Chairman.

Mao: The U.S. and the Soviet Union have a lot of atomic bombs, and they are richer. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada, of the Second World, do not possess so many atomic bombs and are not so rich as the First World, but richer than the Third World. What do you think of this explanation?

Kaunda: Mr. Chairman, you analysis is very pertinent and correct.

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