Parecomic: Michael Albert and the Story of Participatory Economics
Sean Michael Wilson
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Parecomic is a graphic novel about the system we live in—what’s wrong with it, and how we might be able change it for the better. The recent upsurge in popular protest around the world shows that people are not happy with the state of capitalism and desire an alternative that will work for the 99%, not just the 1%. Parecon is one such alternative, and Parecomic brings this to life in illustrated form.
Parecomic is about Michael Albert—the visionary behind “participatory economics”—and his life’s struggle as a left-wing activist in the US, beginning with 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; and the development of the participatory economics model.
bathroom, yet corporate owners routinely exercise such power. Corporations bear the same resemblance to democracy that killing fields bear to peace. Capitalism is inefficient. Market profit-seeking squanders the capacities of about 80 percent of the population by training them to endure boredom and to take orders, not to fulfill their greatest potentials. Market profit-seeking also wastes inordinate resources on producing items that aren’t beneficial, and by enforcing work assignments that are
do we want instead? PARECON Participatory Economics, or parecon—the replacement for capitalism that I advocate for—is built on four institutional commitments. Parecon is therefore not a blueprint for a whole economy. It is a description of key features of a few centrally important aspects of an economy. Parecon provides just enough of a guide for people to manage their economic lives for themselves. Workers and Consumers Councils The first feature of participatory economics is nested workers
economy were to remove private profit, install equitable remuneration, and incorporate self-managing councils, but were to simultaneously retain the current corporate division of labor, its commitments would be inconsistent. If you look at workplaces here, around the world, or for that matter in twentieth-century socialist economies, you will find a startling commonality. The way work is parceled out into jobs is very consistent. One job has only empowering tasks. The next four jobs have only
instituted democracy and even elements of self management. Time passed. We made a success of the workplace, but now, I hate to say it, all the old crap is coming back. Our democracy is becoming sham. Incomes are diverging. Alienation is setting in. Maybe it is just impossible.” So I spoke about the effects of the corporate divisions of labor they had retained, and why that was the explanation for the coordinators accruing more power and eventually also more income. Due to about four-fifths doing
congressional liberals, and quite generally. That persisted for some time. The second International Day of Protest was in March 1966. We tried to have the demonstration in a downtown church—which was also attacked. Those were the general circumstances when Mike arrived at MIT. MIT undergraduate life was relatively insulated from the turmoil beyond. That persisted—on the surface at least—for several years. In 1968, after the January Tet Offensive, the government launched a campaign to “make