China makes way, way too much steel. In 2015, it produced nearly 500 million tons more than it needed. Production of that steel was subsidized by the Chinese government in ways that violate international trade rules, so the price was artificially low. And China suppresses the value of its currency, further falsely reducing the cost of the steel.
The fair trade movement and concern about ethical sourcing asks consumers, all of us, to think more carefully about what we buy, and to ask hard questions about how producers behave. Air travelers who believe they are people of good will, people who embrace the Golden Rule, should ask the same question when booking a trip.
I live in one of the most romantic towns in the world, San Miguel de Allende, and I had not had a single date since I arrived 15 years ago. I arrived depressed, hoping to disappear into the life of an expat in Mexico, after closing my beloved independent bookstore in Berkeley and filing for divorce.
The systemically low prices in cocoa have drastic consequences for farmers and their families. More than 2 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are being deprived of their childhoods, either working in extremely hazardous conditions or working in lieu of going to school, so that we can get our chocolate fix.