Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Do you know your civil society score?

In the USA, three big credit rating companies keep track of people's incomes, debt levels, use of credit, and punctuality in making payments. Plans seem to be afoot in China to rate everyone of those kinds of things and their political and civil society behaviors.

China’s plan to organize its society relies on ‘big data’ to rate everyone
Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how “trustworthy” you are.

In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticizing the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points.

And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are — determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant — or even just get a date…

[I]t could be China by 2020…

A high-level policy document released in September [2015] listed the sanctions that could be imposed on any person or company deemed to have fallen short. The overriding principle: “If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everywhere.”…

The ambition is to collect every scrap of information available online about China’s companies and citizens in a single place — and then assign each of them a score based on their political, commercial, social and legal “credit.”…


The Sesame Credit app, available in China, offers a financial credit score and your ratings on five other measures of "social credit."

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