Issue

Global Goods, Local Costs

Behind almost every product we buy and the GDP numbers we worry over, there is a story whose trail crosses the globe. Every physical product starts as raw material somewhere, from the gold in our jewelry to the shrimp at our favorite restaurant and the minerals within our mobile phones and laptops.

The rapid industrialization of countries like India, China and Brazil and a voracious consumer culture in Europe, the United States and Japan mean ever greater demand for these raw materials—and ever greater pressures on the individuals, communities and environments that bear the cost of providing them.

These local costs too often remain hidden. They are obscured by companies and governments that put a premium on production and exports. They are little understood by consumers, whose concept of "price" and "value" does not include damage done to people and places far away.

Global Goods, Local Costs is an effort to make those connections plain, to show the true costs of producing the commodities that have become essential to our lifestyles but that we mostly take for granted. These reports touch on goods and challenges across the globe that share a common theme: the implications of a vision of endless prosperity set against the reality of a finite planet.

Global Goods, Local Costs

The Deadly Global War for Sand

Concrete. Glass. Silicon. Our civilization is built on the most important yet most overlooked commodity in the world: sand. And we are starting to run out.

Lifting the Veil on Polluters in China

In Beijing a tiny NGO is taking on global corporations and harnessing people power in a campaign to clean up polluting factories in China.

Costa Rica: Bribri Culture Under Threat

In the mountains of Costa Rica, the indigenous Bribri struggle to maintain their culture as an influx of technology transforms their community.

Hunting the Ghost Fleet

PRX reporter Sarah Blaskey and photojournalist Ben Feibleman dive into one of Central America's largest shark-fishing operations in this episode of Reveal.

Meet the Journalist: Karim Chrobog

Pulitzer grantee Karim Chrobog reports on South Korea's innovative food recycling program–and compares it to the US, where 30 to 40 percent of what is grown and raised in the United States is wasted.

This Week: Rohingya, The Lost Genocide

This week: As the world looks upon the Rohingya's plight, a refusal to acknowledge genocide; the fight to list mental health as a global health challenge; and the arduous process of finding schools for special needs children while abroad.