By: Isabel Nuesse

Are you ready to unlearn everything you knew about economics?

One of our 36×36 womxn, Della Duncan, hosts a truly revolutionary, informative and visionary radio documentary – Upstream – that offers themed episodes exploring a wide range of topics related to our current economic system.

Season 4 of the podcast just launched. In their first episode, Homo Economicus, or economic man, Upstream questions our core assumptions about who we are as people, and how we’re seen in the current economic system. Does the story that we’ve been told about how we interact with our economic system truly reflect us as people?

One of the interviewees Bayo Akomolafe speaks to the image of the atlas man.

He says, this image is homo economicus – “This is man hard at work, spinning wheels.” He states that, “It is a rude suggestion that this universe depends on this activity,” and the thinking that increased productivity and rational solutions are what is needed to fix things.

The podcast draws on various perspectives of the embedded problematic nature of thinking that we are inherently selfish, greedy individualists. Upstream then shares the reasoning why this is wholly untrue.

David Sloan Wilson who is an evolutionary biologist says “What sets us apart from other primates is that we’re so cooperative…our ancestors found ways to suppress disruptive behaviors within groups.” He highlights how this attribute sets us apart from other mammals – and our cooperation is what has enabled us to evolve to the species that we are today.

Upstream then travels to meet with George Monbiot who immediately shares his outrage in how much we’ve been lied to about what we’ve been told about human beings. He says, “We’ve been shown a dark view of humanity – which is a totally false one.” He emphasises how spectacularly unusual humans are in relation to other animals – particularly when it comes to altruism.

Throughout the podcast, Upstream shares a wide range of perspectives and research on this topic of homo economicus. This journey shares a new way of thinking on how we relate to one another – and what our most human traits actually are. Do check out the podcast here, and follow their incredible Instagram account if you’re looking for memes that call it how it is.

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