Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today I will be talking about what is and what is to come in the world of social credit. You are all familiar with credit scores and how important they are to everyday living. Whether or not you can buy a house, a car or get a credit card all depend on your credit score and so does the interest rate you must pay for the money you are allowed to borrow.
Credit scores today
In my law practice I am immersed in credit scores because they are very important and very valuable to my clients. I have an online program that I offer my clients to show them how to rebuild or raise their credit score so the money they borrow will be cheaper. In a sense, we could say that our credit score, which is compiled by private organizations from private transactions, determines how trustworthy we are in the world of credit which as we all know, is money today. When you reach and maintain a credit score high enough you are trusted with credit, with other people’s money, which then has to be paid back, but for a while at least, you can live a life that most of us accept as normal today.
Why limit this trustworthiness to the credit realm. Perhaps we could devise a similar system which we could call social credit. The all powerful, all seeing government, if involved at all would only have to be involved as a partner, rule setter, or overseer of private organizations. Our desire for a higher and higher score would make the system self policing.
Social credit: latest Chinese invention
That system of social credit I just described is here now in China and coming our way very quickly. In what it calls an attempt to promote “trustworthiness” in its economy and society, China is experimenting with a social credit system that mixes familiar Western-style credit scores with more intrusive measures. It includes everything that can be assembled about a person including such things as rankings by online payment providers to scores compiled by neighborhood associations or companies you work for or do business with. High scores are rewarded with perks such as discounts on heating bills and lower interest loans while lower scores are restricted from buying train or plane tickets. In other words, if you have a low score your movements are restricted.
By 2020 the Chinese government plans to make the social credit system national and mandatory. According to the plan’s founding document the system would “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” It’s hard for me to imagine anything more Orwellian, more frightening than the type of social control I just mentioned. Can’t you imagine people scrambling to get a few extra points added to their score so they will be allowed to roam and not be one of the “discredited.”
How social credit would work in detail
Get a traffic ticket and lose points, earn a city award such as their you’ve been a good boy or girl award and get points, commit an offense against the state and get hurt badly, from triple A scores to D scores everyone scrambles to please their owners. Yes, China is rating its citizens on their daily activities. Think of when this comes to America and everything you do every day is rated and evaluated; what you buy and where you buy it, where you are at any given time; who your friends are and what scores they have; what you watch, and what on line games you play; what bills you pay, and what taxes you pay or don’t pay.
A basis for social credit in America?
Does that sound impossible for America? Well, it’s already happening in the sense that all the above information is already compiled by Google, Face book, Instagram, and others. Now just imagine all that information, which is already compiled, boiled down to a single number, according to rules set by the government. All these activities rated as either positive or negative with your score moving either up or down according to rules set by the government.
The Chinese say the system is a way to measure and enhance “trust” nationwide and to build a culture of sincerity. Trust and sincerity are glorious the Chinese say so why not do it. Why not prevent people from accessing everyday services if they aren’t good citizens. In the brave new world we may all look different but we must all think the same thoughts and act the same way. People competing with each other to be good little sheep on their masters’ plantation, what’s wrong with that? For me, it’s one of the most frightening things I’ve ever heard of but I have no doubt that it will spread to America.
How far will the government take this, one can only guess? I can certainly foresee a time when a low score keeps you from boarding a plane, train, or bus. If you resisted the system and ignored your score you would essentially be a non-person, anti social, and an enemy of the state. China is completely computer driven and the United States almost is as well. This phenomenon will continue to grow and grow as computers take over more and more of our lives. Soon we will have a generation, and perhaps we already do, who see nothing wrong with social credit and don’t understand why anyone would.
Social credit: a refinement on informing
This is a great tool for controlling the masses because they will control themselves and each other. It’s much better than secret police although I suppose we have those too. It’s a scary prospect for those rugged individuals among us, but soon that generation will die off and the new ones will not object to checking themselves into such a digital prison. Right now the U.S. Government doesn’t have the same control over its people as the Chinese Government but its working hard to catch up. TSA, DMV, and the IRS are all good examples of current digital control of people. The pre-check system at airport check in is a good example of government prior approval and government benefit that makes travel a little easier.
Video surveillance could easily be made a part of the system with your score getting dinged if you’re off camera for too long. Virtually all major cities of the world are already completely covered by surveillance cameras as well as most highways. Cameras are enhanced with facial recognition software and very soon the government will know where we are at all times.
Virtually all of us who engage in commerce in the digital world voluntarily participate in such a system now. We scramble and compete for good reviews on Google and other sites and we try every way we can think of to get our score up one more point because that will make it more likely that clients or customers can find us. In China, participation is now voluntary but in 2020 it will be mandatory. The behavior of every citizen and legal person, which includes every company, in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not.
Keep this out of America!
Under the Chinese system the actual algorithm is secret, but they admit that something as innocuous as a person’s shopping habits become a measure of character and affect the score. People are judged by the type of products they buy and by how long they play video games. Play too long and you could get dinged for being an idle person. The system not only investigates and catalogs behavior it shapes it. Millions signed up for the trial run now being conducted in China. They must want the lure of rewards and privileges for participating, or perhaps they fear the reprisals of not participating.
Who here in America would risk slower internet speeds, restricted access to restaurants and removal of the right to travel? Who could resist the status symbol of a high score? Hundreds of thousands in China are already on line bragging about their scores.
I have a feeling that people here in American will fit into this Dystopia quite well as long as it is comfortable for them. On line and real life experience will most likely merge into a single persona. Now let me tell you why we should never let this system come to America.
The war against Resurrection/Easter
Easter folks, that’s the reason. We were created in the image of God. That belief in the Christian God separates us from the great collective and makes each of us individuals. We are each individually accountable and each individually free. In America, which was founded on basic Christian principles, individuals are more important than the collective.
Could that belief be the reason companies like Apple, Google and the like are trying so hard to destroy Easter? I believe that it is the very reason for their campaigns to destroy the Christian faith because; without Easter, we are just like the rest of the interchangeable machine part herd.
At least that’s the way I see it,
Until next time folks,
This is Darrell Castle.
Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer, 2008 Vice Presidential nominee, and 2016 Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at castlereport.us
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