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Political Information Last Updated: Feb 17, 2020 - 6:19:31 PM


Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system
By Nadra Nittle with comments by Ron
Feb 17, 2020 - 9:02:28 PM

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https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/2/18057450/china-social-credit-score-spend-frivolously-video-games

Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system

People who waste money on non-essentials or behave “badly” are penalized under the controversial new ranking.

[Ron: Given the constant virtue signalling by the save the planet brigade, what is wrong with the Chinese government docking people for extravagant spending? Unnecessary spending means a waste of resources and the energy used to create superfluous items. Also, excessive consumerism results in excessive waste disposal costs. The real issue is what is meant by "penalized" and what is the actual detriment sufferred by excessive consumerism and consequent pollution? OR to put it another way, WHY should Chinese people or anyone be able to exercise consumer addictions without suffering any negative consequences? Anyone who criticises community disapproval of excessive consumerism is 'pissing in the wind' IF they pretend to be concerned about alleged global warming or the rising cost of living etc.].

By Nadra Nittle Nov 2, 2018, 6:50pm EDT Share this story

Critics of China’s controversial new social credit system say it will create a two-tiered society.China’s controversial new social credit system punishes consumers for both spending habits and “bad” behaviors. Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

This story is part of a group of stories calledThe Goods

In 2020, China will fully roll out its controversial social credit score. Under the system, both financial behaviors like “frivolous spending” and bad behaviors like lighting up in smoke-free zones can result in stiff consequences. Penalties include loss of employment and educational opportunities, as well as transportation restrictions. Those with high scores get perks, like discounts on utility bills and faster application processes to travel abroad.

[Ron: Is this author saying that Chinese people can LOSE THEIR JOBS or be denied education if they smoke in smoke-free zones or indulge in "frivilous spending"? Some concrete evidence is needed for such assertions. However, even if the CSCS does seriously penalise people for such addictions, HOW is that comparable with, let alone worse than, US government authorities imprisoning and confiscating the property of USans for possession of, or using, marijuana or other addictive drugs?].

China is currently piloting the program and some citizens have already found themselves banned from traveling or attending certain schools due to low scores.

Ron: Really? So, is this author asserting that Chinese people are being banned from ALL travel? And what does banned from attending "certain" schools mean?  In some jurisdictions in the US parents are being forced to send their children miles beyond their local and preferred school(s) supposedly to increase diversity  inclusivity and equality. AND those parents have not infringed any laws or norms of behaviour - apart from being white and middle class. WHY isn't this  author pontificating about that?].

These ramifications have led to a flurry of recent criticism from both human rights groups and the press. This week alone, news outlets like Business Insider and National Public Radio weighed in on China’s social credit score and the stratified society it may foster in the communist country.

[Ron: This author's bigotry, prejudice and racism is showing! WHY is it OK to stigmatise China as a "communist country" when that is not even true? See eg: Technocracy Rules: China Is Purging Marxists and Communists - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Technocracy-Rules-China-Is-Purging-Marxists-and-Communists.shtml

Chinese Resilience and Silent, Simple and Steady Resistance – a Model for Mankind - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Chinese-Resilience-and-Silent-Simple-and-Steady-Resistance-a-Model-for-Mankind.shtml

China, Number One Economic Power for Half Decade, Dashes On - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/China-Number-One-Economic-Power-for-Half-Decade-Dashes-On.shtml

 

Moreover, what right do US "human rights groups" and news and media outlets have to criticise Chinese internal social policies? Do any of them even speak the relevant language? Is there really NO STINKING STY in the eye of the US body politic and social milieu for them to focus on?!].

The outcry about China’s social credit score is understandable, given that the country’s authoritarian regime leaves citizens with little recourse to challenge the new system. [Really? WHAT is this author's EVIDENCE for that? She gives none.]. But concerns about China’s credit system have overlooked how the US system also divides consumers along class lines — and has done so for decades. Social behaviors may not factor into US credit scores,

[Ron: Really?! What about the fact that USans who say they think that being a man or a women is biologically determined or that marriage between a man and a women is necessary for the proper raising of children and the continuance of society? In the US people lose their jobs and livilihoods for expressing such incontrovertably rational views and others like it. THAT certainly factors into the social credit of those individuals. AND US governments, judiciaries, universities  and corporations uphold such punitive personal penalisations.]

but the idea that a person’s financial history reflects trustworthiness has long influenced employment decisions and other factors that affect Americans’ quality-of-life. [Ron: Well of course they do. Yadda, yadda, yadda,].

How China’s social credit score will work

China first announced that it would be devising a “social credit score” in 2014. The government said then that the system would help ensure a model society in which “sincerity and trustworthiness become conscious norms of action among all the people.” According to NPR, the fact that most Chinese people don’t have bank accounts or credit histories likely spurred the government to create a credit system of some sort.

Every citizen starts off with a score of 1,000. NPR reported the ranking as follows: 960 to 1,000 is an A; 850 to 955 points is a B; 840 to 600 is a C; and any score below that is a D, which designates the score-holder as “untrustworthy.”

While the government hasn’t made the specific methodology used to calculate scores public, one’s ranking can fall for both major and minor infractions. Serious violations include drunk-driving, embezzlement, and fraud. Much smaller violations that result in a lowered score include playing too many video games; spreading “fake news,” especially related to terrorist attacks, or refusing military service, will also lower one’s score. Sometimes people are declared “dishonest” for committing infractions the government doesn’t believe they’re truly sorry for. [Ron: For example?].

Chinese lawyer Li Xiaolin found himself in this predicament last year, according to Human Rights Watch: “He tried to use his national identity card to purchase a plane ticket. To his surprise, the online system rejected it, saying he had been blacklisted by China’s top court. Mr. Li checked the court’s website: His name was on a list of ‘untrustworthy’ people.”

The courts are supposed to warn citizens before they’re added to the blacklist, allowing them 10 days to appeal the designation, but Li said he was caught by surprise. He was blacklisted for losing a defamation suit that was brought against him; he wrote an apology letter to the court as a means of making amends, and said he didn’t know that the court rejected his apology until the travel mishap. Ultimately, he had to apologize to the government again to be removed from the travel blacklist.

[Ron: Try apologising to the US government in order to get off their NO FLY list and see where that gets you!].

“Chinese government authorities clearly hope to create a reality in which bureaucratic pettiness could significantly limit people’s rights,” explains Human Rights Watch. “As President Xi Jinping’s power grows, and as the system approaches full implementation, more abuses will come.”

[Ron: Really?! WHERE is the stated Human Rights Watch. "explanation?! In any event, if "more abuses don't come" Human Rights Watch will make them up as they did and do in Libya, Syria and many other places.].

The social credit score has been compared to the “Nosedive” episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror in which everyone receives a social ranking determined by peers. It has also drawn comparisons [Ron: By whom?!] to the dystopian novel 1984.

For those declared “untrustworthy,” the ability to buy business-class train tickets or to lodge at certain hotels can be rescinded. In some cases, the opportunity for their children to attend their preferred high school or college may be taken away, as may employment opportunities. (The government encourages employers to consult the blacklist before making hiring decisions.) Citizens who behave inconsiderately in public, like walking their dogs off-leash, can have their dogs confiscated and be required to take an exam to get the pets back.

Although “untrustworthy” people are punished for bad scores, citizens who rank the highest in the new system can take advantage of perks like business discounts or booking hotel rooms without deposits.

“Under the system, the elite will gain access to better social privileges and those who rank closer to the bottom will effectively be second-class citizens,” Newsweek reported about the social credit score.

[Ron: WHO is referred to as "the elite"? At best that reference is deliberately misleading.].

The effects of the US credit system aren’t so far from that of China’s [Ron: allegedly] controversial system

[Ron: Never mind the US credit system. What about the two tier US legal system which enalbes wealthy politicians and criminals to regularly escape prosecution for crimes. The Clintons, the Bidens and the Pelosi's and Schumers et al come to mind but so do all the FBI and other Deep State criminals.].

In the United States, the credit bureaus don’t downgrade consumers for spending on things they deem silly or for being neglectful pet owners. But credit rankings in the US are set up in such a way that people with more resources get more financial breaks while people with fewer resources are routinely punished — often in ways that make little sense. [Ron: DUH!].

A person may end up with bad credit because he lost his job, but the fact that his credit suffered while unemployed could effectively prevent him from landing another job. According to the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it is not illegal for employers to deny an applicant a job offer based on information in his credit report. This makes it that much harder for people with bad credit to get the gainful employment needed to repair their scores.

People with poor credit may also be turned down for housing, even if the reason for the would-be tenant’s troublesome credit history has nothing to do with her rental history. Someone who consistently paid rent on time but racked up credit card debt due to medical expenses could find her housing application denied or be asked to pay a higher deposit as punishment.

By some estimates, one in five Americans has unpaid medical debt, and more than half of blacks and Latinos have medical debt on their credit cards. This not only limits rental opportunities but opportunities to buy a home, as good credit is generally a requirement for a housing loan. And lenders, of course, have historically created barriers for people of color pursuing homeownership.

Transportation and credit aren’t just linked in China but in the US too. Americans with bad credit pay more for car insurance than their counterparts with good credit. Some banks have systematically given people of color subprime auto loans, even if their credit history didn’t justify that they pay more interest.

Credit reports and scores are mirrors of our manifestly two-tiered financial system, and more broadly our system of racial wealth inequality and unequal opportunity,” Sarah Ludwig, founder and co-director of the New Economy Project wrote in a 2015 Guardian essay. “In our culture, indebtedness — and certainly failure to pay one’s debts — is deeply entwined with concepts of morality. The insidious notion that our credit history speaks to our reliability as human beings is largely taken for granted.”

The 2019 debut of the UltraFICO score, an alternative to the traditional FICO credit score, is being touted as a potential remedy for the inequities in the US credit system. Rather than focus on length of credit history, for example, it takes into consideration whether one saves regularly, maintains a $400 bank balance, avoids overdrafts, and pays bills on time.

But this alternative isn’t likely to benefit the low-income people who have to juggle bills to survive, perhaps paying the heating bill late one month and the car insurance late the next. For truly cash-poor families, regularly saving money or avoiding overdraft fees is a Herculean task. In fact, many poor people forgo bank accounts altogether because banking fees take such a toll on their finances. UltraFico might help people of average means with short credit histories, but it’s questionable if the score will change circumstances for the underprivileged.

Given how interlinked morality, debt, and credit are in the United States, some of the [Ron: disingenuous] concerns about China’s new social credit score comes across as disingenuous. Although the system certainly raises alarms — Human Rights Watch is concerned about it, after all [Ron: WTF has Human Rights Watch got to do with the rights of Chinese citizens under the CSCS?!].— the idea that the US credit system operates much more equitably is shortsighted.

[Ron: It isn't just shortsighted. It is WRONG. It is also, ignorant, arrogant, bigoted, racist and xenophobic.].

[colour fonts, bolding and comments in square brackets added.].

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