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 Moving Meridian

How do farmers and rural towns in the Western United States reimagine their lives and businesses as the line dividing wet from dry marches east from the 100th Meridian, bringing arid land conditions with it?

From the Amazon Forest to the Industry

Surrounded by the Amazon rainforest, some 400 families from the Middle Juruá Extractive Reserve transform the andiroba and murumuru that they collect from the forest into raw material for industry.

Haiti at 2020 - 10 Years After the Quake

One decade after the deadliest natural disaster of the century, Pulitzer grantees return to examine aid, trade, and a new city created by the catastrophe.

If This Hair Could Talk

Women in some of the most impoverished areas of Cambodia sell their hair as a means of survival. But are they being exploited for vanity an unregulated hair industry?

Meet the Journalist: Vince Beiser

"The most important solid substance on earth," Vince Beiser tells us, is sand—used to build skyscrapers and shopping malls from Boston to Beijing. But the world is running out.

Exploring Other Countries

In this lesson, students use the Pulitzer Center website to research a specific country before giving an oral presentation. 

The Country a U.S. Corporation Left Behind

Students explore the impacts of the century-long relationship between Alcoa, an American corporation, and Suriname. They then debate the terms of Alcoa's exit from the country.

U.S. Responsibility for China’s Workers

This is a multi-week unit on U.S. companies and the welfare of international workers. Students will examine how U.S. companies manufacture their goods and how they care for their workers abroad.

The World's Disappearing Sand

Students analyze how an author structures and supports a story about disappearing sand reserves, then create visual campaigns that increase awareness about sand depletion.

This Week: Child Labor and Your Smartphone

This week: cobalt mining comes from one of the planet's poorest countries and all too often it is mined by children, skepticism about Kosovo's deradicalization and rehabilitation programs for returning jihadists, and Pulitzer Center welcomes new Executive Editor, Indira Lakshmanan.