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

America’s Medical Supply Crisis

Why was the United States left scrambling for critical medical equipment as the coronavirus swept the country?

Mercury: Chasing the Quicksilver

Five hundred years after Spanish conquistadors arrived, gold is still a driving economic force in South America's Guiana Shield. But the industry depends on another element, one with deadly side effects for miners and rainforests: mercury.

Inside America's Medical Supply Crisis

The Pulitzer Center is providing curricular resources for a unique collaborative investigation into the world's medical supply chains in the COVID era.

Survival in the High Seas

Filipino sailors understand the mystic lure of the ocean. They also know its dangers firsthand. These are their stories of survival.

Buried Hopes: Stories from Kachin's Jade Mines

A multifaceted look at jade mining in Kachin State, Myanmar, where despite longstanding calls for reform, July saw another deadly landslide in the weakly-regulated industry.

Mercury Alert

Mercury, the toxic quicksilver that pumps through the veins of gold miners is a necessary evil to extract gold in the Amazon. In this series, we take you on a trip through the underworld of the trade.

Maranhão à Venda | Maranhão for Sale

How Flávio Dino's administration has violated the environmental rights of traditional communities in favor of commodity exploration and extraction with Chinese capital.

Meet the Journalist: Sim Chi Yin

Photographer Sim Chi Yin speaks on the thinking and impulse behind making the latest chapter of her ongoing project "Shifting Sands," a visual investigation of the global depletion of construction sand.

Meet the Journalist: Melissa McCart

Restaurateur Mike Chen legally hired expert noodle-pullers from Taiwan to create an authentic noodle house in Pittsburgh, until the Trump administration’s immigration policy changes put an end to it.

Meet the Journalist: Lizzie Wade

Lizzie Wade traveled to Colombia to document how the country’s peace deal with FARC, a guerrilla group at war with the Colombia state from 1964 to 2016, is opening up new opportunities for field work.