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Upstream

Upstream

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Upstream
Upstream

Upstream

Upstream

4
Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

Upstream is a radio documentary series that invites you to unlearn everything you thought you knew about economics. Blurring the line between economic analysis and storytelling, we look beyond the numbers to explore a wide variety of themes pertaining to our tumultuous and thrilling 21st century economy.

Latest Episodes

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

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. W...

52 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Helena Norberg-Hodge — Is Localization a Solution to the Crisis of Capitalism? (In Conversation)

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

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 Pe...

57 MIN2018 OCT 26
Comments
Keith A. Spencer - A People's History of Silicon Valley (In Conversation)

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

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 ...

57 MIN2018 JUN 12
Comments
Ep 8.2: Worker Cooperatives — Islands within a Sea of Capitalism

Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

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 ...

58 MIN2018 APR 24
Comments
Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

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 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 evolut...

57 MIN2018 FEB 6
Comments
Lisi Krall - How Agriculture Turned Humanity into a Superorganism (In Conversation)

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, 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...

57 MIN2017 OCT 10
Comments
Alex Vitale - The End of Policing (In Conversation)

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 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 ...

58 MIN2017 SEP 26
Comments
Ep 7.2: Universal Basic Income - A Bridge Towards Post-Capitalism?

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

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, an...

58 MIN2017 AUG 15
Comments
Ep 7.1: Universal Basic Income - An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

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 redemp...

29 MIN2017 MAY 23
Comments
Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

Ep 6: Beer - Crafting a Better Economy

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...

58 MIN2017 MAY 10
Comments
Ep 6: Beer - Crafting a Better Economy

Latest Episodes

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

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. W...

52 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Helena Norberg-Hodge — Is Localization a Solution to the Crisis of Capitalism? (In Conversation)

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

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 Pe...

57 MIN2018 OCT 26
Comments
Keith A. Spencer - A People's History of Silicon Valley (In Conversation)

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

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 ...

57 MIN2018 JUN 12
Comments
Ep 8.2: Worker Cooperatives — Islands within a Sea of Capitalism

Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

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 ...

58 MIN2018 APR 24
Comments
Ep 8.1: Worker Cooperatives — Widening Spheres of Democracy

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 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 evolut...

57 MIN2018 FEB 6
Comments
Lisi Krall - How Agriculture Turned Humanity into a Superorganism (In Conversation)

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, 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...

57 MIN2017 OCT 10
Comments
Alex Vitale - The End of Policing (In Conversation)

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 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 ...

58 MIN2017 SEP 26
Comments
Ep 7.2: Universal Basic Income - A Bridge Towards Post-Capitalism?

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

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, an...

58 MIN2017 AUG 15
Comments
Ep 7.1: Universal Basic Income - An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

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 redemp...

29 MIN2017 MAY 23
Comments
Jason Hickel: The Divide (In Conversation)

Ep 6: Beer - Crafting a Better Economy

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...

58 MIN2017 MAY 10
Comments
Ep 6: Beer - Crafting a Better Economy
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