Social Credit

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I’m often asked about China’s “social credit system”, a plan to implement a national ranking system for Chinese citizens and companies which monitors behaviour and allocates/deducts points, and Visual Capitalist have done a good job of explaining how it all works in this Infographic

As explained, under the heading “The Game of Life”, “in the pilot system, each citizen is assigned 1,000 points and is consistently monitored and rated on how they behave. Points are earned through good deeds, and lost for bad behavior. Users increase points by donating blood or money, praising the government on social media, and helping the poor. Rewards for such behavior can range from getting a promotion at work fast-tracked, to receiving priority status for children’s school admissions. In contrast, not visiting one’s ageing parents regularly, spreading rumours on the internet, and cheating in online games are considered anti-social behaviours. Punishments include public shaming, exclusion from booking flights or train tickets, and restricted access to public services”.

Of course, China’s attempts to place more responsibility on their citizens to live a “good life” and make “good choices” will raise lots of important questions about surveillance, control and the erosion of personal freedoms, and this debate will rage on for years to come. But don’t be so sure that a system like this, albeit necessarily watered down to reflect local conditions and politics, isn’t coming our way soon. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that all Governments are thinking about what they might be able to get away with! Time to go and visit your ageing parents?

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