It’s interesting that, with the end of the Cold War, the Second World seems to have split quite neatly along the border of the old Soviet Union. Ex-Soviet Republics seem to fit neatly into the traditional Third World, with terrible crime rates, hyperinflation, and viscious border wars. The Central European countries, possibly excepting Rumania and Slovakia, seem like ordinary First World nations.
So now, I might still divide the world into three big groups, but I wouldn’t slap ordinal numbers on them any more. Now, I’d say you’ve got the Techno-Industrial countries (European Union, G7, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.), the Transitional countries (Russia and most ex-Soviet Republics, PRC, ASEAN, South Africa, wealthy Arab countries, and maybe some of the Latin American countries like Chile and Argentina), and the rest (and I can’t think of a name for them that would be both informative and PC).
By calling the intermediate group “transitional”, it leaves it to your imagination to decide what kind of transition is going on…
Any similarity in the above text to an English word or phrase is purely coincidental.