Capitalism in Disguise: A Critical Investigation of the Recent Influx of Fast Food Chains in Trinidad and Tobago and Its Socioeconomic Effects

Luanne Edwards

Abstract


With its thriving economy, multicultural composition and fairly open trade regime, Trinidad and Tobago has substantiated that it is an excellent and steady market for US foods and beverages. The growth of the island’s economic sector has attracted over 185 fast-food eateries which have created both positive and negative outcomes for the nation. Using the capitalist and dependency theories this paper hypothesizes that while the rampant arrival of fast-food restaurants to Trinidad and Tobago has produced some economic growth, it has also made the country more susceptible to detrimental socioeconomic effects. In order to produce solid economic growth, the country must employ more viable economic practices. Although these chains have assisted the unemployment rate in the country, they have also contributed to the unhealthy dietary habits of Trinbagonian citizens. Obesity in Trinidad and Tobago has increased at an alarming rate, which has surpassed that of the United States, with over 31.4 % of the population being overweight (Hope, 2010). The influx of US fast-food restaurants also contributes to the economic destabilization of the country. The heavy reliance on North American industries has destructive repercussions with the incessant recession and recent debt crisis that continues to plague the US economy. A domino effect is likely to hit Trinidad’s economy if American stocks drop and the fast-food chains go out of business. Synchronic and qualitative data were collected from both primary and secondary sources by employing the document analysis and expert interview techniques. The substantive findings generated after the triangulative data analysis seem to support the proposition that Trinidad and Tobago should essentially invest more on using substantive indigenous economic practices.

Keywords


Trinidad and Tobago; Capitalism; Fast-Food

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