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

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.

How the Global Recycling System Collapsed

Vivienne Walt and Sebastian Meyer reported from the U.S. and Malaysia in their investigation of the failure of global plastics recycling.

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?

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: 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.