China’s dystopian social credit system is in full swing, and the results are… sweeping:
Skipped paying a fine in China? Then forget about buying an airline ticket.
Would-be air travelers were blocked from buying tickets 17.5 million times last year for “social credit” offenses including unpaid taxes and fines under a controversial system the ruling Communist Party says will improve public behavior.
Others were barred 5.5 million times from buying train tickets, according to the National Public Credit Information Center. In an annual report, it said 128 people were blocked from leaving China due to unpaid taxes.
The ruling party says “social credit” penalties and rewards will improve order in a fast-changing society after three decades of economic reform have shaken up social structures. Markets are rife with counterfeit goods and fraud. The system is part of efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to use technology ranging from data processing to genetic sequencing and facial recognition to tighten control.
How long before China adds social credit incentives to boost its lowest-in-the-world fertility rate? Have another baby, get “points” that you can redeem on Taobao!
And before you get complacent, the Western democracies are not far from implementing “social credit systems” of their own.