Slavoj Zizek on the General Intellect as a Global Accounting Apparatus

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Tere Vadén and Juha Suoranta:

"Based on a close texrual reading — a 'short-circuiting' — of Lenin, Zizek refers to the idea of general intellect as a huge 'accounting apparatus' without which, says Lenin, socialism is impossible. In the words of Lenin, to make socialism happen is to make this massive apparatus 'even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive. ... This will be country-wide book-keeping, country-wide accounting of the production and distribution of goods, this will be, so to speak, something in the nature of the skeleton of socialist society' (Zizek, 2006a.) For Zizek, this marks 'the most radical expression of Marx's notion of the general intellect regulating all social life in a transparent way, of the postpolitical world in which "administration of people is supplanted by the administration of things'". Zizek further notes that it is easy to criticise Lenin by referring to the horrors of the real socialist experiment in the Soviet Union, especially during Stalin's era, and the apparatus of social administrations which grows 'even bigger'. But as Zizek asks, 'Are, however, things really so unambiguous.' What if one replaces the (obviously dated) example of the central bank with the World Wide Web, today's perfect candidate for the General Intellect.?' (ibid.) What, indeed, if one replaces the example of World Wide Web with the world of open and free collaboration, including the servers and the power plants.' "