Issue

Trade

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 restaurants 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.

Trade 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.

Trade

A Mirage of Luxury Built on Sand

Magnum nominee Sim Chi Yin’s ongoing project, Shifting Sands, examines the global hunger for sand, and the ill-regulated, under-documented industry it has fed. 

IN PHOTOS: No Man's Land

Palm oil is a multibillion-dollar industry for Indonesia. But the people responsible for its production are not the ones reaping the riches.

The Black Death of Kabwe

Years of unmitigated contamination from Zambia's largest lead mine have created a toxic nightmare for the residents of Kabwe, the country's second largest city.

Exploring Myanmar's Conflicted Future

As Myanmar emerges from half a century of isolation to join the globalized world, Doug Bock Clark and Corey Pattison will report on the forces struggling to shape the country's future.

India: Migrating Into Slavery

Each winter hundreds of thousands of Indians migrate north to man the world's second largest brick industry. They're promised opportunity, but many are bonded into debt.

Organic Farming Is Making a Comeback in India

A country that was once the prized gem of the Green Revolution, feeding the subcontinent and exporting massive quantities of food, is now undergoing a new organic revolution.

Ecuador: Health Consequences of Ceramic Glazing

An Andean village has battled severe lead toxicity from ceramics production, and now residents face the challenges of alternative glazing compounds or abandoning their cottage industry altogether.

This Week: Kingdom of Women

This Week: A village in China where women rule, an island off British Columbia was supposed to be an economic salvation, and illegal mining is causing problems for Venezuela.

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.