The Myth of Freedom Under Capitalism by Bethan Mure

Although its intellectual handmaidens love to insist otherwise — capitalism is not a system that truly embodies freedom. We all feel it, of course — that nagging sense that we lack any agency over the choices that shape our lives, the frustration we feel at our bosses, the tension we feel with our landlords, the sense that we’re all just stuck in a rat race. We might lack the language to articulate it or a framework within which to situate it, but we all know, deep down, that this ain’t it. That there’s something deeply wrong.

In this feature-length audio documentary, the Upstream team explores why this is — why, despite what we’re constantly being told — that we currently live under the freest system ever — that we’re not actually free — and why we’re all imprisoned within capitalism.

We start with a brief history of how we got here, what different conceptions of freedom have meant historically — and how they can be applied to our current condition, and then we take a deep dive into the mechanisms this system uses to keep us all imprisoned, and how we can break free.

David Bollier — Activist, scholar, author, and blogger focused on the commons, and author, most recently, of The Commoner’s Catalog for Changemaking: Tools for the Transitions Ahead

Matt Christman — Co-host of Chapo Trap House

Ayesha Khan — Infectious diseases scientist, germ doctor, grassroots organizer, writer, astrobiologist, and educator

Corey Mohler — Creator of Existential Comics

Jessica Gordon Nembhard — Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College of the City University of New York and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice

A full transcript of the episode is available for your viewing pleasure here.

Check out more Upstream conversations and previous episodes:

Robert Raymond


Robert Raymond

Robert R. Raymond is the content director at Shareable, founding producer of Upstream, and a producer of The Response podcast. He is passionate about exploring the intersections of



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Upstream is a radio documentary series offering episodes that explore a wide variety of themes pertaining to our 21st century economy. Episodes range from Craft Beer to Universal Basic Income,