It’s an idea that is four or five years old now, but the Chinese government is finally taking baby steps towards putting its “social credit” system into production. What is social credit, you ask? Well, it’s a system by which ordinary citizens are rated for their behavior. You can lose points for breaking minor laws, speaking out against the government, or for associating with people who do those things.
Users with high social credit get preferred placement on dating apps, free loaner bicycles, and other benefits. If your social credit is low, on the other hand, you might find yourself unable to buy a business-class travel ticket… or you might find that you have no ability to buy a ticket at all. Your children might be denied access to good schools, and you might be removed from lists of applicants for available jobs. Participation in the system is mandatory for Chinese subjects, er, citizens.
So-called “heritage Americans” rightly view this sort of thing as an utterly horrific abomination, particularly since it is backed by the government itself, but the Chinese don’t share our mistrust of social conditioning or coercive behavior. Look for Social Credit to be a massive success, both for the compliant citizens who score highly under the system and for high-ranking members of the Chinese government who will benefit from its chilling effect on potential critics or activists.
And we could leave the whole subject there, except for one little thing.