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Parecomic: Michael Albert and the Story of Participatory Economics Paperback – May 7, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: Parecomic
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609804562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609804565
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This graphic novel challenged me to think through new ideas as well as the world we live in. Even better it did so in a way I didn’t find boring or grating to read, much like some of the works referenced within it. Parecomic is a fine example of how far the comic medium has come. It’s no longer ruled by only heroes in tights, it’s now a tool in our greater understanding of the world and further education."
—Graphic Policy

“This is an accessible and serviceable introduction to the principles of parecon and the vision of one of its founders. Recommended for readers interested in alternative economic models and the legacy of the radical 1960s.”
—Library Journal

"As a primer on the history and theory of participatory economics, this title is never short on ideas, tracing the development of Michael Albert’s theories on self-management, social justice, and internationalism, and their origins in the civil disobedience and consciousness-raising movements of the late ’60s and early ’70s. As a student at MIT, Albert was inspired by the culture of activism to found Z magazine, ZNet, and the International Organization for a Participatory Society. Some readers may wonder why Wilson (AX: Alternative Manga) and Thompson (the webcomie Green Benches) have chosen Albert’s story for treatment as a visual narrative, and that treatment definitely makes some of book’s issues more palatable to a wider audience. Artist Thompson is also very adept at marrying the literal and the symbolic to allow Wilson’s prose, and therefore Albert’s ideas, to resonate with readers. There are moments, though, when the book stalls and readers find themselves wading through lengthy, text-heavy panel sequences featuring shots of Albert discussing a given issue. Still, Thompson and Wilson can be very inventive with their effects. Parecomic is inspired at times, and as a treatise on participatory economics, it’s pretty great. As a comic, though, it’s just pretty good."
Publisher's Weekly

About the Author

SEAN MICHAEL WILSON is a comic book writer from Scotland, currently based in Japan, who has written fourteen books of comics and manga. His work includes a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (with artist Mike Collins); Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; Oscar Wilde’s A Canterville Ghost; The Japanese Drawing Room (with RING horror manga artist Sakura Mizuki); and the documentary book Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover (with artist Lee O’Connor).
CARL THOMPSON is a cartoonist based in Minneapolis. A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, he has worked with writer Sean Michael Wilson on the political comic strip “Green Benches,” published monthly in the British magazine Blue and Green Tomorrow.

More About the Author

Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer from Scotland, who now lives in Japan. He has had more than a dozen books published with a variety of US, UK and Japanese publishers. Although also writing 'western' style graphic novels, such as adaptations of classical novels, he often works with Japanese and Chinese artists on manga style books. He is currently the only British creator writing books for big Japanese publisher Kodansha. He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed collection 'AX:alternative manga' (one of Publishers Weekly's 'Best ten books of 2010' and nominated for a Harvey Award) and writer of the Stan Lee Award nominated adaptation of 'Wuthering Heights'. He has given talks on Gekiga style manga and AX in the USA, UK and Japan, to try to increase knowledge of mature, literary style manga. He has received several grants from both the English arts council and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation in support of his publications. In general, Wilson has attempted to do comic books that are different from the normal superhero/fantasy brands, working with a variety of 'non-comic book' organisations in the process. His book with War on Want, 'Iraq:Operation Corporate Takeover' was reported on by a variety of mainstream agencies - such as Reuters, CCTV in China and several Middle Eastern magazines. His main influences remain British and American creators - such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Eddie Campbell and Harvey Pekar.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brett H Schenker on August 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Parecomic is a graphic novel about something that affects us all: the system we live in-what's wrong with it, and how we might be able change it for the better. Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, Parecomic is about Michael Albert-the visionary behind "participatory economics"-and his life's struggle as a left-wing activist in the US.

The graphic novel is interesting in that it has two distinct parts. The first half is about Albert's life and his experiences within the left wing of American politics. We go through his growth and evolution of his philosophy on participation as well as economics. It's the origin story to his idea of "participatory economics." The story begins with the beginning in the heady days of 1960s student demos and lifestyle rebellions; following the developments of the antiwar, civil rights, woman's, and Black Panthers movements; to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and ZNet.

The second half is the dissection of "participatory economics." In various ways the graphic novel explains about this economic idea, how it differs from socialism, Marxism, capitalism and some examples of how it works in modern society.

But what is "participatory economics?" Proposed as an alternative to capitalism, participatory economics (parecon, for short) values equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self-management. In Albert's vision, workers and consumers councils use self-managed decision-making, balanced job complexes, renumeration according to duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued labor; and participatory planning.

What particularly struck me about this graphic novel is it's unwillingness to dumb down it's subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Walker23 on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
Kim in Norway on how much he likes Parecomic, despite it being 'only' a comic:

"Sean, I read the book immediately after it was published (as an e-book). I loved it! I was afraid it would be too shallow (it is "after all" a comic book), but to my pleasant surprise, I found it was none of the sort. :) Thanks! "

James in Australia's view:

"Really enjoying reading it. I think comics bring something different to the experience. I was sitting in a cafe with my wife yesterday reading a comic book at 51yrs! Holding and reading a comic book makes you feel different... I guess comic book form has to be succinct and particular in what it chooses to impart to the reader. A difficult job I would gather. But truly enjoying it... I think you have done brilliantly and I will definitely be recommending the book to friends, even those not interested in activism."

John from the USA:

"As a Kickstarter supporter I received my complimentary copy of "Parecomic" and read it through over the weekend. Congratulations, you and Carl Thompson created a very readable, comprehensive and inspiring book. Presenting Michael Albert's background and the historical development of parecon and paresoc, and its relation to Marx and others, turns a subject that can be often perceived as dry and impenetrable into one that is fresh, comprehensible and insightful. Your graphic book is an accessible introduction into the important ideas of parecon and paresoc. Thanks!"
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By matthew a mecs on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
I kinda reminded me of logicomic in that in uses graphics to get across complicated ideas, but the character is not likable, even though I am a liberal. The Marxian stuff is beyond boring, and just kinda pompous. Makes me want to run a factory and NOT read Chomsky who gets way too much time in this book.
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