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

Civil War in Kachin State

Many different factors lead to civil war in Kachin State, Myanmar, but Doug Bock Clark finds popular opinion blames the Myitsone dam.

Where the Rohingya Refugees Call Home

The UN runs several refugee camps for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in Bangladesh, including Kutapolong. However, most refugees live in informal squatter camps. This is a look at life in both camps.

South Africa: A Minefield of Hope....and Violence

The abandonment of South African gold mines—coupled with a high commodity price—has created a network of criminal syndicates operating in abandoned mines around Johannesburg.