Is China’s Social Credit System Too Much?

Is China’s Social Credit System Too Much?

If you’re not familiar with this system yet, just imagine you’re living in an episode of “Black Mirror.” Your behavior and actions are judged, resulting in a social credit score. The higher the score, the more perks you have. However, what happens if your score is low? Let’s find out all about this social credit system and what it would mean to end up blacklisted.

China’s Social Credit System

What we’re going to talk about seems like it came directly out of a movie. We’re talking about movies where technology determines how one society will function. Does that confuse you? Well, think of the TV show “Black Mirror.” If you’ve never seen it, talking about China’s social credit system is pretty much what it’s like. The only difference is, this is what a lot of people have as their reality. 

China’s social credit system is what it sounds like. It’s a system of points given/taken depending on how you’re behaving as both an individual and a member of society. It came up as an idea back in 2007. Trials began only two years later, and in 2014 China launched a pilot with eight different firms. That was only the beginning. 

Some people praise this system, claiming it will encourage others to behave well, as well as uphold traditional morals and values. Others, however, see it as a system that is bound to ruin how a normal society functions. Still, what if this system establishes itself and it becomes the new normal of many? We can only wait and see what the future of China’s social credit system holds.

How Does It Work?

Even though this system is still optional, there are so many things going on that you need to know. Since some people believe this system will make a whole society act properly, we’re sure you can guess how it works. However, if nothing comes to mind, we have an easy way of explaining it.

It’s a system that rewards and takes away points, all based on your behavior. This behavior isn’t only limited to the public eye. You will also gain and lose points if you’re behaving badly in your private life as well. Well, what you consider bad might not be the same from the government’s point of view, and what the government thinks is all that really matters. 

So, what can you gain and lose points for? Well, many things, of course. If you donate blood or money to charity, it’s only natural that you gain points. However, jaywalking, not paying bills or tickets on time, even not visiting your old parents can result in you losing some of the points. If you like playing video games, we’ll have you know that playing them for too long (or cheating) will cause you to lose points. On the other hand, simply being a parent will bump up your social credit score.

If you have a high social score, there are some perks for you, of course. However, if your score is low, you could lose opportunities, establishments can deny you service, and so can public transportation. All of this only goes to show that being a decent human being pays off. Still, that’s only if you act the way the government wants you to. If not, you can end up getting blacklisted. Yeah, it can be just as stressful as that sounds.   

[READ: The West may be wrong about China’s social credit system]

What Happens If You’re Blacklisted?

To be blacklisted, all you have to do is be dishonest. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lie, even though we’re sure that wouldn’t go well either. We mean, you simply need to go against everything that the government considers improper behavior. Yes, no matter how big or small that might seem to you. 

To put things in perspective, let’s say you do anything that shows you have a negative opinion of the government. That can easily result in your blacklisting. There will be no notification to let you know of this. The government will simply cut you off from things you once used on a daily basis. You will no longer be able to purchase transportation tickets or take a loan from a bank. You did read that correctly. You cannot take public transport anywhere. Let’s say you have a car and you want to go to a restaurant. They can easily deny you service once you’re there, all because of your status. 

It’s true that you don’t have anyone to complain to about this situation. However, there are still things you can do about your blacklisting. It doesn’t need to last forever. You can either appeal to a court or pay a fine that will remove you from the list of dishonest people. Even good deeds won’t help you much. This is the only way for you to merge yourself back into society.

Does China Really Need This?

China’s social score has both good and bad sides. That means that even though there are some punishments and repercussions for misbehaving, there are also rewards and perks for having a high credit score. There are a lot of benefits for an individual with a high score, so let’s talk about those for a moment.

Some places give their citizens a certain number of points that they start with. From that point, they can either add up or drop. The maximum amount of points you can have is 1.300. What perks does that high score get you? 

  • Priority for employment and school admissions
  • Easier access to loans and credit
  • Free gym
  • Cheaper public transportation tickets
  • Discounts at hotels
  • Shorter wait times at hospitals
  • Faster promotion at work
  • Tax breaks
  • Jumping the queues

And those are only some of the perks you can have. On the other hand, being at the very bottom of the credit score list can even result in public shaming. Even though there are many perks for an individual, are there perks for a county these big? Some might think so. This system could motivate people to be and act better. In turn, this will result in the country itself being better and stronger. 

Still, not everyone is happy about this. There are campaigns against the system implementation, with people claiming that this system can be a serious breach of privacy. That’s definitely not all. People simply don’t want someone watching and judging their every move.

Could This Be the Future of How Society Works?

If China’s credit score system proves itself to be effective, we’re sure other countries will try to adopt it as well. Either that or they will come up with a system of their own that will draw inspiration from what China has going on. 

Either way, this could definitely be the future of society. However, we don’t believe it will only have positive effects. Sure, people will start acting properly. There might even be a drop in crime rates. What about the fact that this system will only divide us further, though? There are already so many different classes and boxes that people are put on. This system will only create more of them — those with high and those with low scores. So, that’s yet another upper/lower class division in society. 

Is that something we really need right now? More unfairness, more of those who are entitled and privileged. This system could be good and effective for the time being. That’s until people start acting correctly. If it stays in effect for a long time, we fear that it could actually cause serious damage to society as a whole.

[READ: Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system]

Conclusion

China is definitely on to something great with this social credit system. However, one bad move and everything can go wrong. That’s why people are so divided in their opinions of it already. This can either be something that will help form a better society or something that can quickly turn into a horror story we will struggle to get out of.


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