For those of us new to the idea of a first-world problem, it is a problem that only exists to those of us privileged to have consistent running water, electricity, etc.

People who get caught up in first-world problems are often the subject of ridicule because studies show it's mostly just not that deep.

So if we use creative third world thinking, perhaps we can solve these problems.

u/ThomasAmesM410 asked:

What are some 1st world problems that could be solved with 3rd world thinking?

Here were some of those answers.


Some issues just do not matter


Yes! As someone who's from a "third world" country, some issues that people in "first world" countries worry about just seem so trivial to me.


Making It Work

Fix things that break


I live in East Africa, I can confirm this. Motorcycles and cars are driven for hundreds of thousands of miles, phones are repaired until they turn to dust, and if something is truly beyond repair, it's put to other uses.

Recently worked in mosquito net distribution, and one family had the same nets for 10 years, which is about 6 years longer than recommended. Turns out, the recently deceased grandmother made it her passion to keep those nets repaired for years. First case of malaria in the family since she passed a year or so ago happened about 9 months back, it was two young girls around 4-7 years old. Luckily I was visiting the family two days into their fevers, 103 Fahrenheit each.

I sensitized and handed out nets to the family, and they took those old nets and turned them into everything imaginable. Bedding, dishwashing, they even used them for fishing. It was amazing to see how inventive they are to turn those nets into so many useful items.


Duct Tales

Duct tape can go a long way in fixing many problems if you are very creative.


Well, this is like the time where the roof in my room literally collapsed. The outer roof didn't, but the inner one that you can see if you looked up did. My brother took a trash bag, duct tape, and a bucket. We couldn't fix the roof until a professional came, but we stopped the leak from the roof from spilling everywhere. I know tons of people who can't think that way and I really don't know why. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box.



First World Problem - people honking .00001 seconds after the light turns green

Third World Solution - In Colombia (I saw in Bogota, I'm sure it's country wide) traffic lights turn yellow for 2 seconds before turning green. The thinking behind this is relatively simple, the overwhelming majority of cars are manual transmission, so the yellow light is your signal to shift from neutral to first so you can go as soon as it turns. Also has the side effect of keeping traffic flowing.



Most solutions in this thread actually highlight the ignorance of the First World about the Third World.

Most of these solutions in the Third World countries happen not out of any grander idea, it's simply because these things are cheaper. It's all about economy. As soon as the people in those countries can afford the problems that are mentioned here, they will. So expecting the First World countries to adopt these solutions is simply not practical.

Source: am from the Third World.


Self Fulfilling Prophecies

If we stopped building houses out of the most flammable materials available, we could prevent house fires and most insurance claims. Masonry construction rules.


High Speed

Rail Travel.

Imagine being able to ride the train for cheaper then riding a bus, and you can go anywhere in the country.

India's rail network has some really cheap train fares. If they can manage to do it wonder why the rest of the world's rail fares are so expensive.



People in a lot of Caribbean nations are quite poor, but report generally being some of the happiest people in the world. They just don't get caught up in the rat race of reality TV mansion envy the way Americans do.


Planning Models

Curitiba, a third world city, has seemingly solved a lot of first world problems with traffic, pollution, and the environment, through innovative city planning. City planners throughout the world visit to see their solutions.


A Different Way Of Living

Zoning laws. Maybe not entirely... There still needs to be some regulation, but the way that areas are decided into commercial and residential in North America is really detrimental to communities and quality of life. Living in Istanbul, I lived in a neighborhood of apartment buildings where the first floor was always commercial and all everything above that mixed and residential. I would spend just a few hours a week doing errands, cuz everything was 'just downstairs': I'd walk a block to the green grocer and on the way back drop shoes off and the shoe repair, pick up my laundry, and finish up at the drug store literally at the bottom floor of the apartment. It meant more free time for me, no need for a car, AND I knew and often had a commercial relationship with my neighbors.


Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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