Issue

Global Goods, Local Costs

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 restaurant 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.

Global Goods, Local Costs 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.

Global Goods, Local Costs

China's Footprint in Pakistan

Will China's investment in Pakistan deliver the broad-based growth, prosperity, and jobs it promises? How will it reshape local politics, infrastructure, and the environment?

The Race for Cobalt

Vivienne Walt and Sebastian Meyer traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to most of the world's cobalt, to see how huge global demand can be met without rampant child labor and corruption.

Venezuela’s New Gold Rush

For many people, gold fires the imagination, but can it resolve a crisis? Venezuela finds itself in distress and is going all-in on gold mining—an industry tainted by conflict.

Paradise Papers

ICIJ's global investigation that reveals the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

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.

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.