China is in the beginning stages of a plan that will eventually see its 1.3 billion citizens being ranked on not just their economic standing (not an odd scenario from those used to Western systems and credit scores) but their social interactions and overall “trustworthiness.” It’ll potentially be like Yelp for individuals, but one of the many concerns being voiced about this Social Credit System is that businesses want their name and reputation out in the public. Private citizens? Not so much.
And the SCS goes far beyond banks making sure someone can handle the monthly payments for a car loan. As first outlined in 2014’s ‘Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System’, China’s population will be tracked and scored based on several criteria. These include whether or not those car payments are being made, if they’re spending too much time on their Playstation (couch potatoes can’t be trusted, after all) and who they’re chatting online or texting with (hanging out with individuals with a low ranking doesn’t look good on you).
Reaction to the ranking system outside of China has not been positive, with obvious concerns being brought up about China making a major leap to becoming a police state with this policy. Others flat-out say it’s George Orwell’s 1984 come to life. Orwell’s novel makes for some good reading, but it’s probably safe to say it’s not something anyone would want to call their real (and rank-able) life.
Story by Jay Moon