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

The Fight Over Chile's Marine Resources

Chile's coastal waters are among the richest in the world, but years of exploitation have exacted a toll on resources. As Congress debates a solution, fishing outfits scrap for their survival.

China's Bloody Frontier in Zambia

China's investment in Zambia holds promise: billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. But after violent conflict between Zambian miners and their Chinese supervisors, does it also pose a threat?

The Cost of Gold: Child Labor in Burkina Faso

In just a quarter century, one of the world's poorest countries has transformed itself into Africa's fourth-largest producer of gold. But at what cost to the children who labor in the mines?

Congo: Consequences of a Conflict with No End

With suffering in Congo unabated, a series of multimedia projects examines a ‘conflict-free’ tin mine and investigates the mass rape of civilians during the November 2012 rebellion.