Understanding what happens between trade partners
While much research on trade is site specific -- understanding soybean farming in Illinois, or understanding soybean farming in China -- my goal has been to take a holistic look at understanding the dynamics of both, and how they affect each other.
I am a part of Michigan State University's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability -- and we are serious about the systems integration part. That means looking at how the two places interact with each other and to the systems around them. That's the telecoupling part, a way to study systems that are distant, as well as ones nearby or even connected. We believe looking at all the parts that encompass soybean trade between the United States, China, and another huge player -- Brazil -- is the way to sustainability. This method is more complicated, but is better at revealing hidden consequences or synergies.