Synopsis

Support us at https://www.upstreampodcast.org/support and subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/upstream/id1082594532?mt=2Upstream is a radio documentary series that invites you to unlearn everything you thought you knew about economics.

Episodes

  • Nafeez Ahmed on a Systems Perspective on our Current Crisis (In Conversation)

    Nafeez Ahmed on a Systems Perspective on our Current Crisis (In Conversation)

    28/07/2020 Duration: 39min

    Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is a journalist and researcher who uses systems thinking to support the just transition to a more equitable and sustainable future. We contacted him after we came across his article, "White Supremacism and the Earth System," connecting the worldview that underpins capitalism to the racism that the Black Lives Matter movement is working to address, as well as the climate chaos and environmental devastation that we are experiencing globally. In this conversation, we spoke about why systems thinking is a useful practice, the connection between capitalism and white supremacy, and the great potential we are in for a global phase shift to a post-capitalist world. Nafeez is the executive director of the System Shift Lab and a research fellow at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems. He currently writes for VICE and he is the author of "A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save it," and "Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence

  • Jason Hickel on International Development and Post-capitalism (In Conversation)

    Jason Hickel on International Development and Post-capitalism (In Conversation)

    28/05/2020 Duration: 56min

    Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this Conversation, we spoke with London-based economic anthropologist Jason Hickel. Jason in the author of The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions, Jason’s new book, “Less is More,” is being published in August by Penguin. We spoke with him about international capitalism during the pandemic, new opportunities for degrowth economics, and how to fundamentally move to a post capitalist world — which will take more than just a shift in economic policy, but a fundamental shift from the world view of capitalist thought. Upstream's theme music composed by: Robert Raymond. Upstream is a labor of love — we couldn't keep this project going without the generosity of our listeners and fans. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation — Thank you! www.upstreampodcast.org/support For more from Upstream, visit www.upstreampodcast.org and follow us on social media: Facebook.com/upstreampodcast Twitte

  • Doug Henwood on the coronavirus and the rot of the American ruling class (In Conversation)

    Doug Henwood on the coronavirus and the rot of the American ruling class (In Conversation)

    28/04/2020 Duration: 40min

    Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this conversation we speak with Doug Henwood, an economist and host of the radio show and podcast Behind the News. Doug is a regular guest on our show, and in this conversation he helped make sense of much of the economics surrounding the coronavirus, explaining the failure of the government's response, the different possibilities of how we might come out of this pandemic in the long run, and what coronavirus has taught us about the failures of capitalism. The interview was conducted by Upstream producer, Robert Raymond. Upstream's theme music composed by: Robert Raymond. Thanks to Haley Heyderickx for the intermission music. Upstream is a labor of love — we couldn't keep this project going without the generosity of our listeners and fans. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation — Thank you! www.upstreampodcast.org/support For more from Upstream, visit www.upstreampodcast.org and follow us on social media: F

  • Julia Salazar on the coronavirus, feminist economics, and democratic socialism (In Conversation)

    Julia Salazar on the coronavirus, feminist economics, and democratic socialism (In Conversation)

    21/04/2020 Duration: 57min

    Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this conversation we speak with New York State Senator, Julia Salazar, who represents New York's 18th district in northern Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Cyprus Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and East New York. This pandemic has hit New York City harder than any other city in the world, and the neighborhoods represented by Senator Salazar are some of the hardest hit in New York City itself. We spoke with the Senator about how she got into organizing and politics, democratic socialism, feminist economics, and the economics of the coronavirus pandemic. This interview is part of a series of Upstream conversations about the coronavirus, capitalism, and potential systemic interventions and solutions during this challenging time. Upstream's theme music composed by: Robert Raymond. Thanks to Will Stratton (willstratton.com) for the intermission music. U

  • An Epidemic of Insecurity: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed (In Conversation)

    An Epidemic of Insecurity: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed (In Conversation)

    07/04/2020 Duration: 20min

    It’s unfortunate that it’s taking a global pandemic to reveal it, but the unprecedented crisis catalyzed by the coronavirus has exposed our capitalist economy for what it is: an economic system that puts profit over people (and the planet). This pandemic is an unprecedented event, but it’s the sharpening of class divides, the gutting of our social safety net, and the mentality of selfish individualism encouraged by capitalism which have turned this pandemic into an unimaginable crisis. In this conversation we speak with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed about our current epidemic of insecurity and how it has unfolded through this current crisis. El-Sayed is a doctor, an epidemiologist, a candidate in Michigan’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary election, and the author of "Healing Politics, A Doctor’s Journey Into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic," just out this month (April 2020). Senator Bernie Sanders has referred to El-Sayed as "One of the brightest young stars in the future of the progressive movement." Th

  • Extinction Rebellions Gail Bradbrook (In Conversation)

    Extinction Rebellion's Gail Bradbrook (In Conversation)

    18/02/2020 Duration: 41min

    In recent months, thousands of people from coast to coast have confronted politicians and asked them to take action on climate change. Few of these political leaders seem to be listening, however, and so, in the face of this inaction, and with a renewed sense of urgency, people of all ages and backgrounds have begun taking directly to the streets and participating in mass disruption events in the United States and beyond. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is on the forefront of these actions. XR is a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid ecological collapse. Growing out of the United Kingdom in 2018, XR now has an international presence. You may know them through their provocative style of direct action which includes intentional arrests, public swarms, banner drops, die-ins, gluing themselves to prominent structures, and more. Gail Bradbrook is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion. We spoke with her in southwest England. Up

  • Robin McKenna - Gift Economies (In Conversation)

    Robin McKenna - Gift Economies (In Conversation)

    03/12/2019 Duration: 41min

    What do an indigenous ceremony in Canada, Burning Man, and an occupied salami factory in Rome have in common? They are all expressions of the gift economy featured in a new documentary by Robin McKenna, the guest of this Upstream conversation. Robin McKenna has worked in film for twenty years on several projects, including The Take with Naomi Klein (a film about workers who take over the means of production in Argentina in the wake of an economic collapse). Drawing inspiration from Lewis Hyde’s book, The Gift, Robin McKenna set out to chronicle gift cultures around the world that are challenging the logic of global capitalism. The result is her first feature-length documentary — GIFT, which is out now in theaters across the United States and Canada. Gift-giving is a radical act of resistance to the status quo. It requires trust, being open to receiving, and confronting traditional notions of wealth, ownership, and property. In this conversation we share stories of gifting, imagine what a more gift-oriente

  • Helena Norberg-Hodge — Is Localization a Solution to the Crisis of Capitalism? (In Conversation)

    Helena Norberg-Hodge — Is Localization a Solution to the Crisis of Capitalism? (In Conversation)

    29/10/2019 Duration: 52min

    It's often said that the economic system is rigged. The truth, however, is that the system is working exactly as it was designed to. Those in power, whether they hold public office or whether they sit in the boardroom of a multi-billion dollar international corporation, have taken great lengths to set up a system of rules that benefit them and maintain the status quo. Helena Norberg-Hodge, a pioneer of the New Economics movement, has spent many years studying the driving forces behind why our economies are failing us, and what we can do about it. Helena’s perspectives are informed by a systems thinking and colored by the many years she spent in Ladakh, part of the larger region of Kashmir, where she watched global capital completely transform entire communities. Helena Norberg Hodge is the Founder and Director of Local Futures, producer and co-director of the documentary films The Economics of Happiness and Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh and Right Livelihood Award Laureate. We spoke with her in her

  • Keith A. Spencer - A Peoples History of Silicon Valley (In Conversation)

    Keith A. Spencer - A People's History of Silicon Valley (In Conversation)

    26/10/2018 Duration: 58min

    The dark shadow of Silicon Valley is growing longer everyday, covering more and more of the globe and spreading not just technology, but a particular value set as well. By this time many know about the hyper-exploitative business models of companies like Uber or TaskRabbit. Or about how AirBnB has heavily reduced housing stocks in cities worldwide. But in his new book, Keith A. Spencer goes further than just picking on a few high profile companies. He lays out an argument for why Silicon Valley, at its core, is a highly exploitative and problematic industry. With a look at the tech world from the vantage point of the marginalized and oppressed—those who have not benefited from the incredible wealth bubbling up in the valley—”A People’s History of Silicon Valley: how the tech industry exploits workers, erodes privacy, and undermines democracy,” presents a damning thesis for why this new world of addictive gadgets and union-busting is increasingly undemocratic and dangerous. A People’s History of Silicon Va

  • Ep 8.2: Worker Cooperatives — Islands within a Sea of Capitalism

    Ep 8.2: Worker Cooperatives — Islands within a Sea of Capitalism

    12/06/2018 Duration: 57min

    In the second episode of the series on worker cooperatives, we build on the conversation that we began in Episode one, which explored how cooperatives can serve as a force to widen the spheres of democracy in our society. This second episode shifts the focus outward, exploring how cooperatives confront global capitalism. "Islands within a Sea of Capitalism" takes a deep dive into the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation—the largest network of federated cooperatives in the world. We take listeners on a journey through the Basque region of northern Spain where Mondragon is located, and explore Mondragon's successes and challenges through candid conversations with several worker-members at Mondragon headquarters and at various cooperatives within the federation. After presenting an in-depth exploration of the recent and mixed history of Mondragon from multiple perspectives—including a Marxist analysis—we travel across the Atlantic to Jackson, Mississippi, where an ambitious initiative is just getting underway. C

  • Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

    Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

    24/04/2018 Duration: 58min

    The 21st century has seen an explosion in Worker Cooperatives—particularly since capitalism's 2008 crisis. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we'll explore how worker co-ops present a radically different kind of ownership and management structure—one that has the power to bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole. We'll take a deep dive into the cooperatively owned and run bike/skate shop Rich City Rides, exploring how they have created a community hub that puts racial & economic justice front and center. We'll also take a trip to the Basque Country of northern Spain to explore how their rich cooperative environment compares to that of the United States and the San Francisco Bay Area specifically. Featuring: Richard Wolff - Economics professor emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Amherst,founder of Democracy at Work, and host of the weekly radio show Economic Update Gopal Dayaneni- Co-founder of Cooperation Richmond & Staff Member at Movement Generation Doria Robinson- Founder of

  • Lisi Krall - How Agriculture Turned Humanity into a Superorganism (In Conversation)

    Lisi Krall - How Agriculture Turned Humanity into a Superorganism (In Conversation)

    01/02/2018 Duration: 57min

    For the last 150,000 or so years of human evolution, not a whole lot changed. That is, until about 10,000 years ago, when in the blink of an eye we began organizing societies in very, very different ways. We went from small bands of hunter-gatherers to massive state societies; from having a relatively low ecological impact to devastating the natural environments we existed in; from relatively horizontal organization to extreme hierarchy and finely articulated division of labor. These now all-too-familiar traits have culminated in our modern capitalist era, where individual humans have become alienated cogs in a vast industrial machine that seems hell-bent on destroying everything in its path.  How did we get here? What happened 10,000 years ago to put us on this path of expansion and ecological devastation? This is the question guiding the research of Lisi Krall — an economics professor at Cortland University whose research blurs the lines between anthropology, economics, and evolutionary biology. She believ

  • Alex Vitale - The End of Policing (In Conversation)

    Alex Vitale - The End of Policing (In Conversation)

    10/10/2017 Duration: 57min

    In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with author Alex S. Vitale about his new book, “The End of Policing,” which was published by Verso Books on October 10th, 2017. Alex Vitale’s work is based on a deep examination and structural critique of the fundamental nature of policing. Vitale stresses that it’s not enough to enact superficial reforms to a system of policing which was, at its core, designed to maintain systems of oppression and inequality. Vitale argues that instead of our current approach of inhumane and ineffective punitive force, we should be going upstream to focus on the root causes of problems, focusing our attention on addressing inequality and providing community and social programs for those in need. In the first half of our Conversation, Vitale walks us through the dark origins of policing, beginning with the eras of colonialism, slavery, the early industrial capitalism. How did early policing grow directly out of the militias and military units that were used to exterminate and expropri

  • Ep 7.2: Universal Basic Income - A Bridge Towards Post-Capitalism?

    Ep 7.2: Universal Basic Income - A Bridge Towards Post-Capitalism?

    24/09/2017 Duration: 58min

    It has been said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. That might have been true a decade ago, but today, the end of capitalism is becoming more and more plausible — at times it feels inevitable. In fact, at least half of Americans think that capitalism is a fundamentally unfair system, and over a third have a positive view of socialism. These numbers are rather strange for a society where just uttering the word “socialist” in public a generation ago could cost you your job or get you onto some government list. And when you look at younger generations, it gets even more interesting. A Harvard University survey showed that the majority of millennials do not support capitalism. And in the United Kingdom, similar surveys have found that people are more likely to have an unfavorable view of capitalism than of socialism. More and more people are falling out of love with capitalism. And is it really all that surprising? Capitalism has failed to achieve most of it

  • Ep 7.1: Universal Basic Income - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

    Ep 7.1: Universal Basic Income - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

    15/08/2017 Duration: 58min

    What if you were paid just for being alive? Just imagine, you are given a check every month for the rest of your life, enough to cover all of your basic needs. You wouldn’t be driving around in a Ferrari or eating avocado toast every day, but you’d be receiving enough to live relatively comfortably. And there’s absolutely nothing you would have to do in order to receive it. How would that change your life? What would you do differently? Close your eyes and just try to picture that for a second. Okay, if you’re reading this sentence, that means you’ve stopped dreaming and have come back to reality. We have no idea how long you were gone, but don’t worry if it was for a little longer than you had expected. It happens. We understand. There’s a lot to think about there. What a crazy question anyways, right? Getting free money? For the rest of your life? Just for being alive? Crazy. Or is it? The idea that we’ve been describing has actually been under discussion for centuries, and it has even been experimented

  • Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

    Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

    15/05/2017 Duration: 29min

    In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with Jason Hickel, an anthropologist formerly at the London School of Economics and now at Goldsmiths University of London. Originally from Swaziland, Jason's research has focused on a critique of development and globalization. He has also written on the topics of inequality, climate change, basic income, and soil regeneration. Jason argues that we cannot begin to seriously tackle the climate crisis until we take a hard look at the growth-dependent economic system that drives fossil fuel production and consumption. He believes that simply regulating fossil fuels is not enough, and that in order to truly address climate change we'll need to move away from our current capitalist economic model, a model which can only function properly when it is growing exponentially. We also spoke with Jason about his fascination at capitalism's extraordinary ability to co-opt and commodify its own critique. How does Tom's Shoes allow you to purchase your redemption from being a consum

  • Beer: Crafting a Better Economy

    Beer: Crafting a Better Economy

    09/05/2017 Duration: 58min

    Once an important life-force of early civilization and an ancient crafter of community, beer was, like many things under our current economic system, disfigured and twisted by the forces of the market and the drive for profit. In this episode, we take a close look at this story, starting in ancient Mesopotamia and tracing the history of beer up through the giant consolidations of the 20th century to the birth of the craft beer revolution in the 1970s and 80s. Brew expert and award-winning author Randy Mosher guides us through this history, telling great stories and exploring ancient beer mythology along the way. But the story doesn't end there -- the beer revolution is really just beginning. Craft beer has begun to bring back many of the most important values and characteristics of beer that were lost for so long, going far beyond just taste. How is the new economy embodied in a pint of beer? This is an important theme that Rob Hopkins, the co-founder of the Transition Town movement and founder of New Li

  • Ep 5: The Call For A New Economy

    Ep 5: The Call For A New Economy

    20/03/2017 Duration: 56min

    Bellowing out in the songs of eco-village choirs and reverberating down city streets through the chants of the 99%, the call for a new economy echoes out over the dying gasps of late capitalism. From energy co-operatives in Spain that are literally bringing power to the local level, to a small school hidden deep in the English moors that is redesigning the study of economics, to a vast coalition in North America that is challenging domination by the 1%, this episode of Upstream explores the movement for a new economy. Our story begins in 1984, just outside of the G7 World Economic Summit in London, where a small group convened a counter summit to challenge the ideas and theories that dominated mainstream economics. We follow the ripples of this seminal event as they radiate out through the world and on into our current era of Trump & Brexit. This lineage traces back to the work of the renegade economist E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977). You'll hear from him, as well as many of the other people and organizati

  • Kate Raworth: Doughnut Economics (In Conversation)

    Kate Raworth: Doughnut Economics (In Conversation)

    08/03/2017 Duration: 52min

    When you think about economics, what images come to mind? Maybe a supply and demand graph? Or a blackboard with complex equations scrawled across it? These images are based on a 19th century view of economics, one that is outdated and even dangerous, as we're beginning to see more and more. In this Upstream Conversation, we explore why the economy should look more like a doughnut. In her new book, Doughnut Economics, renegade economist Kate Raworth explains why it's time to explore new images that tell different stories about the economy. Kate walks us through the many aspects of her proposal for a new picture of economics, while discrediting some of the old assumptions and exploring new solutions. Our conversation moves readily from economic history to complexity, from system design to wealth inequality, and from poverty to…doughnuts. Upstream is a labor of love — we couldn't keep this project going without the generosity of our listeners and fans. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Upstrea

  • Trebor Scholz: Platform Cooperativism (In Conversation)

    Trebor Scholz: Platform Cooperativism (In Conversation)

    05/02/2017 Duration: 53min

    In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with scholar and activist Trebor Scholz, who is an Associate Professor of Culture & Media at the New School for Liberal Arts & co-editor of the book, Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet. Trebor has a very wide breadth of knowledge in the field of digital labor, and is able to articulate a very strong critique of the modern day digital landscape. He walks us through how the internet has hit rock bottom, exemplified as it is these days by extreme power concentration, high levels of worker exploitation, and a lack of privacy. But Trebor is also able to draw a very compelling picture of how things could be different. What would #Uber look like if it had cooperative values? What if residents owned #Airbnb? And what role might a universal basic income play in the near future? Darkness and uncertainty loom ahead. Trebor's insights are a flash of light that illuminate and begin to guide us throu

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