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A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Insofar as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap. A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively within criminology.

More broadly, and especially within structuralist thought, a society may be illustrated as an economic, social, industrial or cultural infrastructure, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than "other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social environment.

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Cold War alliances mid-1975
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that the United States was aligned with. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a new meaning that was more applicable to the times. Since its original definition, the term First World has come to be largely synonymous with developed countries or highly developed countries (depending on which definition is being used). First World countries in general have very advanced economies and very high Human Development Indexes. On the other hand, the United Nations defined the First World on the wealth of the nation's gross national product (GNP). The definition of First World is now less concrete than during the Cold War. Global dynamics between the First World and the other Worlds were essentially split into two. Relationships with the Second World were competitive, ideological and hostile. Relationships with Third World countries were normally positive in theory, while some were quite negative in practice (such as with the practice of proxy war). Present inter-world relationships are not so rigid, although there is a disparity in terms of the First World having more influence, wealth, information and advancements than the other worlds. Globalization is an increasingly important phenomenon which has been fueled largely by the First World and its connections with the other worlds. An example of globalization within the First World is the European Union which has brought much cooperation and integration to the region. Multinational corporations also provide examples of the First World's impact on globalization, as they have brought economic, political and social integration in many countries. With the rise of the multinational corporation, the problem of outsourcing has risen in many First World countries.

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Times SquareCredit: Photo: Matt H. Wade

Nighttime photo of the northern section of Times Square in New York City, featuring billboard ads for various Broadway shows. Formerly named Longacre Square, it was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to One Times Square. Times Square is the site of the annual ball drop on New Year's Eve.

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Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed to be the author of The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. Sun Tzu, also known as Sun Tze or Sun Wu in other translations, was a historical figure whose authenticity is questioned by historians. This is a Chinese name which would usually mean the family name comes first however "Zi" (子; "Tzu" in Wade–Giles transliteration) was used as a suffix for the family name of a respectable man in ancient Chinese culture. In this case, 子 "Tzu" is not the personal or family name. It is a rough equivalent to "Sir" and is commonly translated into English as "Master". Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn period of China (722–481 BC) as a military general serving under King Helü of Wu, who lived c. 544–496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity place the completion of The Art of War in the Warring States period (476–221 BC), based on the descriptions of warfare in the text, and on the similarity of text's prose to other works completed in the early Warring States period. Traditional accounts state that his descendant, Sun Bin, also wrote a treatise on military tactics, titled Sun Bin's Art of War. Both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese writings, and some historians believed that Sun Wu was in fact Sun Bin until Sun Bin's own treatise was discovered in 1972. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Sun Tzu's The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society. His work continues to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics.

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Brewster Kahle
Brewster Kahle, 2004

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