Upstream is a quarterly documentary and bi-weekly conversation 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 21st century economy.

Upstream is a quarterly documentary and bi-weekly conversation 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 21st century economy.


United States


Upstream is a quarterly documentary and bi-weekly conversation 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 21st century economy.






Liberation Psychology with Daniel José Gaztambide Nuñez and Harriet Fraad

Mainstream psychology has been complicit — whether intentionally or not — in the establishment of colonial, white-supremacist, capitalist hierarchies of oppression around the world. Individualizing pain lets the systemic causes for our suffering off the hook and places the responsibility for healing and wellbeing on individual will. In the 1970’s in El Salvador, confronted by these dangers of western psychology — during a civil war — psychologist Ignacio Martín-Baró started to develop an...


The Value of a Whale with Adrienne Buller (In Conversation)

Awareness of climate change has never been higher — outright climate denialism seems to be a thing of the past. Business leaders and the corporate media no longer shy away from terms like global warming or climate change like they used to, and policymakers from all sides of the political spectrum are claiming to be climate leaders. So why, then, do things seem to be getting even worse? Why are the actions of those in power so out of line with what scientists and experts at the IPCC are...


A Left Answer to Inflation with Hadas Thier (In Conversation)

Far from being some kind of transcendent economic phenomenon originating from higher realms of monetary physics that are indecipherable to us mere proletarian mortals, the economy is actually pretty straightforward and easy to understand — it’s mostly just politics. And that’s still true when it comes to purposefully mystified topics like inflation — particularly to how policymakers respond to inflation — it’s all just politics. Decisions made by those in power. But the thing is right now...


Decolonizing Archaeology with Dr. Paulette Steeves (In Conversation)

Colonialism and white supremacy have shaped the field of archaeology from its inception — and to this day continue to dominate the cultural and scientific paradigms of this field of study. One of the most significant ways that this has shown up in the discipline is through the hegemony of a single theory — the Clovis First Hypothesis — which claims that the Americas were populated roughly ten to twelve thousand years ago — and not earlier. In her book, The Indigenous Paleolithic of the...


Ep. 15: The Green Transition – A Green Deal for the People Part 2 (Documentary)

When it comes to climate policy, it probably won’t come as a surprise to most that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is one of the weakest bills that has ever been passed. Not only does the bill actually lock us into more fossil fuel production — it’s really just more weak neoliberal policy that will lead to more inequality. The bill is also an incredibly anti-democratic piece of legislation. It provides tax breaks to businesses to incentivize renewable infrastructure — but it says nothing...


Terra Viva with Vandana Shiva (In Conversation)

Vandana Shiva is an activist and tireless advocate for food sovereignty for farmers’, peasants’, and women’s rights. She’s a world-renowned ecofeminist, anti-globalization thinker and scholar, a Right Livelihood Award Laureate; and the author of several books including Reclaiming the Commons, Earth Democracy, Oneness vs. the 1%, Stolen Harvest, and most recently a memoir, Terra Viva: My Life in a Biodiversity of Movements. In this conversation, Vandana Shiva weaves together stories of her...


Ep. 14: The Green Transition – The Problem with Green Capitalism Part 1 (Documentary)

It’s clear that we need to decarbonize our economy as quickly as possible in order to avoid the worst of climate change — but carbon isn’t the only problem we’re facing. As the world moves towards renewables and away from fossil fuels as an energy source, we can’t forget that the technology and minerals behind this green transition need to come from somewhere — and that somewhere is primarily countries in the Global South. The supply chains which carry the lithium, copper, cobalt, and other...


Revolutionary Leftism with Breht O'Shea (In Conversation)

There are many traditions or tendencies among the left. In fact, sometimes just trying to wrap our heads around all of the rich theoretical frameworks and various anti-capitalist thinkers can be dizzying. But it's also exciting — the richness of leftist history and theory is vital to learn and to build our work from. In this episode we’ve brought on someone who knows a thing or two about leftist theory — in fact, he's got multiple podcasts that go into depth on historical figures, theory,...


The War on Cash with Brett Scott (In Conversation)

Is the growing ascendance of digital money simply an organic evolution away from the purported inconveniences of physical cash? Or is this transition actually a nefarious, corporate-engineered, neo-enclosure of money by Big Finance and Big Tech? In his latest book, Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto, and the War for Our Wallets, author, journalist, and financial hacker Brett Scott lays out an extremely compelling case arguing that corporations are engineering an enclosure of money —...


The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class with Catherine Liu (In Conversation)

Traditionally within Marxist thought, there are two major classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, or workers and capitalists. Within these two classes, however, there are many strata — and in this episode we take a deep dive into one particular stratum. The professional managerial class, or the PMC, is comprised of highly educated, often centrist or liberal leaning individuals who tend to uphold the systems and institutions of capitalist society while at the same time viewing itself as...


How Degrowth Will Save the World with Jason Hickel (In Conversation)

It may not come as a surprise to most of you to hear that capitalism is the root cause of climate change. But if we unpack this a little bit, we see that it’s a specific component of capitalism that’s mostly responsible: the need for exponential and perpetual expansion. Growth isn’t just a byproduct of capitalism, it’s an imperative — an imperative to which we are all hostage. That’s why, according to our guest in this week’s Conversation, unless the climate movement centers degrowth in its...


The Problem with Economic Thinking with Jonathan Aldred and Elizabeth Popp Berman (In Conversation)

The logic of orthodox economic thinking has come to dominate and permeate every aspect of our lives, from the deeply internalized capitalism which shapes our thoughts and hopes and dreams, to policy decisions that shape our lives, constrain our possibilities, and steal public goods out from under our noses. How did we get here? How did economic rigidity gain such supremacy? Are the principles of orthodox economics really value neutral, as its champions claim? And if not, what moral...


A Socialist Perspective on Abortion with Diana Moreno & Jenny Brown (In Conversation)

The US Supreme Court has just overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights which had set the precedent for almost 50 years, throwing authority over abortion down to the states to decide. As of now, a dozen or so states have trigger laws which will outlaw abortion fairly rapidly, and many others will likely follow suit in the coming weeks and months. In light of this, we're interrupting our regular 2 week episode release schedule to bring you a special extra episode. There’s...


The Limitations of Black Capitalism with Francisco Perez (In Conversation)

There’s a broad conflation within our present day capitalist society between the success of individual members of certain oppressed and marginalized groups and their collective success and liberation. This is particularly true when it comes to Black people and their liberatory struggles. Too often, the successes of individual people — Oprah, or LeBron James, for example — or their rise to certain leadership positions, take Barack Obama — are seen as collective successes, whereas, when it...


Decolonizing Conservation with Prakash Kashwan (In Conversation)

What if what we thought we knew about environmental conservation is wrong and it’s not the ethical and regenerative movement we thought it was? Turns out the philosophy and practices of conservation — pioneered by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir — are intimately intertwined with colonialism, imperialism, and racialized capitalism. And, unfortunately, this isn’t just a historical analysis — it’s a legacy that has continued well into the movement’s modern day...


Fully Automated Luxury Communism with Zarinah Agnew and Eric Wycoff Rogers (In Conversation)

Fully automated luxury communism. Fully automated luxury gay space communism..? Fully automated, queer, neo-decadent, meta-modern communism? Okay so, what does all of that mean? You’ve probably heard the phrase fully automated luxury communism before, whether in a podcast like this, or in a meme maybe, but what exactly does it mean? Maybe the phrase conjures up images of a utopian, moneyless society where all of our jobs have been taken by robots and we just frolic and play all day? Perhaps...


When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley with Carolyn Chen (In Conversation)

More than just a region, Silicon Valley has also become a concept — and what that concept represents means a lot of different things to different people. Some might think of it as a techno-utopian dreamland where billionaires are made. Others, perhaps a soul-sucking dystopia driven by a never ending rat race — also where billionaires are made. Whatever you may think, one thing that's hard to disagree with is the idea that work dominates Silicon Valley, and while some here are simply working...


A Changing Climate with Amy Westervelt (In Conversation)

The latest installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC report, released this month, gives us three years to drastically cut emissions. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees,” the authors of the report warn. But in reality, it's more likely that we’ll double that number. If you haven’t already seen the headlines, the report indicates that we’d need to cut emissions by almost half by 2030 and be at negative emissions by 2050 — that...


A World Without Profit with Jennifer Hinton (In Conversation)

“The pursuit of private financial gain is what drives inequality and ecological harm.” This is the perspective of Jennifer Hinton, a leading proponent of the not-for-profit business, which is differs in fundamental ways from a traditional nonprofit organization and, of course, from for-profit businesses. Not-for-profit businesses models are often invisible in the many movements to reimagine our economic system, but the idea is starting to gain momentum. Jennifer offers a vision of an...


Ep. 13: Stories of Indigenous Resistance and Regeneration (Documentary)

Standing Rock was a pivotal moment in regards to Indigenous resistance — but it was just one in a long line of battles that Indigenous peoples have been fighting against the twin forces of colonialism and capitalism since first contact. In this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into Indigenous resistance against colonialism, capitalism, and climate change — from the Amah Mutsun’s fight to save their most sacred site in California to the Wet’suwet’en’s battle against a gas pipeline on...