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

Crude Awakening

The World Bank-supported Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline has been operational for over six years, but the controversy surrounding the so-called oil for development project has hardly died down.

The 1070 km (670 mile) pipeline transports oil from the Doba fields of southwestern Chad to a marine loading terminal off the Atlantic coast near Cameroon. From one end of the pipeline to the other, project partners raised the hopes and expectations of local populations.

But today, for those who had no real choice or say about the project, the disappointment is profound.

Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls the sexual violence in eastern Congo "one of mankind's greatest atrocities." An update on the security crisis and what the U.S. and other nations can do to help stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Guests

John Prendergast, co-chair of the ENOUGH Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity

Mvemba Dizolele, former Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grantee and national fellow, Hoover Institution

The New Law of the Jungle

Chevron is accused of having dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforest, and local residents are determined to hold them accountable.