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Upstream: Economics for Transition

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Upstream is a show about economics that might make economists anxious. Through the perspectives of visionaries and leaders of global movements, we explore stories from the frontiers of alternative paradigms. Blurring the lines between economics and our daily lives, Upstream invites listeners on a journey to the heart of things.

Upstream is a show about economics that might make economists anxious. Through the perspectives of visionaries and leaders of global movements, we explore stories from the frontiers of alternative paradigms. Blurring the lines between economics and our daily lives, Upstream invites listeners on a journey to the heart of things.
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Upstream is a show about economics that might make economists anxious. Through the perspectives of visionaries and leaders of global movements, we explore stories from the frontiers of alternative paradigms. Blurring the lines between economics and our daily lives, Upstream invites listeners on a journey to the heart of things.






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

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...


Alex Vitale - The End of Policing (In Conversation)

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, 2018. 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...


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

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...


Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics. 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...


Upstream Beer Episode

Once an important life-force of early civilization and an ancient crafter of community, beer has been, 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...


Ep 5: The Call For A New Economy

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...


Trebor Scholz: Platform Cooperativism (In Conversation)

In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with scholar and activist Trebor Scholz, Associate Professor of Culture & Media at the New School for Liberal Arts & co-edited 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. In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with scholar and activist Trebor Scholz. Trebor has a very wide breadth of knowledge in the field of digital labor, and is able to articulate a very strong...


Episode 5: The Solidarity Economy

In this episode we explore a phenomenon that has existed throughout centuries both within and alongside Capitalism. Wherever relationships have been based on reciprocity, sustainability, and democratic governance you'll find the Solidarity Economy. We learn of it's origin and about how it is strengthened by countermovements and during times of crisis. We follow its presence throughout the history of a particular marginalized community in the U.S., celebrating the courage of African...


Sneak Peak: Jessica Gordon Nembhard

You're listening to a Sneak Peak of our Solidarity Economy episode with scholar & activist Jessica Gordon Nembard, Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College in New York City. Professor Nembhard is the author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. She will be featured in our upcoming Solidarity Economy episode in collaboration with STIR Magazine, to be...


Doug Henwood (Conversation)

In this Upstream Conversation we spoke with author and journalist Doug Henwood. Doug wrote a book about Hillary Clinton called My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency, which is a critique of Hillary Clinton and her policies from the left of the political spectrum. We spoke with him about the response to his book, his thoughts on the Democratic Party and the election, the economic forecast of the Trump administration, the state of the economy, and much more. For more from Upstream,...


Richard Wolff: The Recession isn't Over, but is Capitalism?

Unemployment is down and the stock market is up. So we're in a recovery, right? Many politicians & economists would like us to think that, but in this exclusive Upstream Conversation Professor Richard D. Wolff explains how this couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only is the recession that started in 2008 far from over, but we might actually be witnessing the collapse of capitalism as we know it. Professor Richard Wolff studied economics at Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. He is the author...


Liz Ziedler Interview

Liz Zeidler is the Co-founder and Director of Happy City Happy City is about giving people more of what we all want, but our current economic system fails to give us: happiness. We interviewed her for part 3 of our 3-part series "Welcome to Frome".


Welcome To Frome: (Episode 3) A new cultural vision

In this final episode of our 3-part series, "Welcome to Frome", we explore possible futures for the small Somerset town of Frome. ​ In this episode, we'll talk to some of the leading experts on why GDP and economic growth are flawed measures of wellbeing. Then we’ll travel to a small kingdom in south Asia, an indigenous village in the sierras of Peru, and the headquarters of Happy City in Bristol. We'll talk to the visionaries of new cultural paradigms. and ask them the reveal the secrets...


Rich And Kate Interview

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are the authors of the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. The Spirit Level not only changed the way we understand and view inequality, it inspired the creation of The Equality Trust, an organization that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality. We interviewed them for our 3-part series "Welcome to Frome". Parts of this interview are featured in the series.


Crisis Theory (A Marxist Video Game)

Crisis Theory is a new video game developed by David Cribb. In this game, you play as the spirit of capitalism. Your one job is to keep the game from falling into crisis for as long as possible. Is it possible? We spoke with David to find out. Crisis Theory was inspired by Marxist geographer David Harvey's lecture series on Capital. It uses concepts like labor power, means of production, primitive accumulation, rate of profit, etc, etc, to help explain Marx's theory of capitalism. It's a...


Why we need a 21st Century Labor Movement

Inequality reduced dramatically from around the 1930s to the 1980s, when it suddenly started rising again to levels not seen for almost a hundred years. What happened? Richard Wilkinson and Kate Picket, authors of the influential book The Spirit Level, explain what happened and how worker-owned cooperatives can serve as a countervailing force to neoliberalism.


Joseph Choonara Interview

In this interview we hear from Socialist Worker's Party member & Lexit Campaign Spokesperson Joseph Choonara. We spoke about the movement on the radical Left that pushed successfully for Britain to leave the European Union. We also spoke about the larger split between the movements on Left, the abandonment of the working class by Labour, the anti-immigrant nature of the EU, and how we can start to work more effectively across class divides to build a stronger, more viable Left.


Why the Radical Left Voted to Leave Europe

"Neoliberalism has become embedded in the very DNA of the European Union." It was not just the Right in the UK that voted to leave the EU. Listen to our interview with Joseph Choonara of the Social Worker's Party to hear why some factions of the radical Left in Britain decided that they've had enough of the European Union.


Richard Seymour Interview

In this interview we hear from activist and writer Richard Seymour. We spoke about the Orlando shootings, Brexit, Corbyn & the Labour Party, Trump, the decline of unions, and where the Bernie Sanders movement can go now that the nomination seems assured for Hillary Clinton. Intermission music by Witchdream Mansion.


Greek Financial Crisis Explained (Maria Scordialos Sneak Peak)

In this Upstream Sneak Peak, we spoke with Greek activist and co-initiator of The Art of Hosting Maria Scordialos. She will be featured in our upcoming episode on the Solidarity movement and financial crisis in Greece.

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