China's social credit system?

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,971
This thread seems more philosophy/sociology than current events. However, let's consider that the Chinese state has a long term problem delivering on all its promises. The Chinese economy, although impressive from the outside, has a very thin underpinning of strength in reserve. The Chinese real estate debt bubble has yet to be dealt with, and the credit system domestically appears to be smoke and mirrors. The Chinese economy remains more vulnerable to any serious global economic disruption such as recession/depression than do others.

A "social credit system" is a euphemism for control mechanisms (along with the Chinese fascination for facial recognition) that can be a powerful weapon to contain unrest and to suppress opposition in case of (likely) longer term discontent from economic disappointment. China still has a billion paupers, and promises not kept, where they cannot be kept, is a concern to the Party as long as they continue to exert control over the economic surplus and over politics.

China's recent series of crackdowns - on corruption; information; social media; dissident opinion, aso - as well as a president-for-life strongman government model, could be seen as indications that the Party is not as comfortable as it once appeared. Social control is more important to the authorities than economic benefit "trickling down." If a capitalist simulacrum won't work well enough, authoritarian government can be Plan B. China isn't shy about that.
 
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Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
This thread seems more philosophy/sociology than current events. However, let's consider that the Chinese state has a long term problem delivering on all its promises. The Chinese economy, although impressive from the outside, has a very thin underpinning of strength in reserve. The Chinese real estate debt bubble has yet to be dealt with, and the credit system domestically appears to be smoke and mirrors. The Chinese economy remains more vulnerable to any serious global economic disruption such as recession/depression than do others.

A "social credit system" is a euphemism for control mechanisms (along with the Chinese fascination for facial recognition) that can be a powerful weapon to contain unrest and to suppress opposition in case of (likely) longer term discontent from economic disappointment. China still has a billion paupers, and promises not kept, where they cannot be kept, is a concern to the Party as long as they continue to exert control over the economic surplus and over politics.

China's recent series of crackdowns - on corruption; information; social media; dissident opinion, aso - as well as a president-for-life strongman government model, could be seen as indications that the Party is not as comfortable as it once appeared. Social control is more important to the authorities than economic benefit "trickling down." If a capitalist simulacrum won't work well enough, authoritarian government can be Plan B.
True, that China is more economically unstable than commonly thought. Although on the other hand, the Chinese are also increasingly world leading in a number of technologies (like 5G networks for example). They also sit on basically all the world's rare earths, which sounds like a banal thing but isn't, as currently most of the world's electronic components are dependent upon them.

I agree otherwise broadly, speaking. It's the "game:ification" aspect of the social credit system it that I find most unsettling, almost like a thing out of Brave New World. The jackboot is to me less dishonest and perverse than behavioural modification though a million little nice, colourful and friendly incentive that intrigue the eye.
 
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Sep 2017
69
Anywhere
Companies like Apple Inc., Amazon Inc., and Microsoft Inc. would totally benchmark and adopt China's social credit system for better customer management.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,946
Australia
On the surface it might be a good idea but, in practice, it can't work. There are too many ways for people to falsely be given poor scores. Once this happens, it is incredibly difficult to redress the situation. It also seems very easy for the wealthy to buy themselves out of trouble so, as usual, only the poor are subjected to the full consequences of these schemes.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,830
On the surface it might be a good idea but, in practice, it can't work. There are too many ways for people to falsely be given poor scores. Once this happens, it is incredibly difficult to redress the situation. It also seems very easy for the wealthy to buy themselves out of trouble so, as usual, only the poor are subjected to the full consequences of these schemes.
I'm not sure how these scores can be "false"? And if the wealthy, powerful and connected can distance themselves, that's only a problem if the system is intended to be fair and produce justice. It need not, if the intention is to produce stability and control. The score is the score. The disturbing aspect of it is rather that if this is implemented, and ends up operating as is seemingly intended, it will externalize the rationale of individual behaviour to things that are amenable to getting a high score, in ways designed to get a high score.

It's a distant analogy, and not a perfect fit, but there is something like that going on in modern scientific research with the systems for quantifying "impact" in scientific research by looking at publication citations. The problem with that is that the selection of what counts as high impact is decided post-fact, i.e. it's not research so new we don't yet know it's important, but rather research that confirms what we already know we think is important. Transposed to what Chinese authorities seem to want to do, its likely a tool for massive conformism and conservatism.

The other aspect of it – as recognized by the citation study stuff in research – is that it leads to people (researchers in this case) internalizing the selection criteria that gives high impact, but relatively losing the ability to recognize novel ideas and research on their own. The end up needing the system to tell them of their research is useful/interesting/worthwhile because they have no real fram of reference beside it.

If there is a system like this, comprehensive to the extent that is planned, with the kind of wide-ranging impact on peoples' lives, I think it needs to be assumed we are likely going to be treated to the spectacle of the Chinese nation ending up relating less to each other, and more to what the system favours – which would seem to be precisely how the Chinese Communist Party would like it, since they decide what to favour.