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Blacklists and Social Credit Regimes in China |

Blacklists and Social Credit Regimes in China Super-Scoring? Data-driven societal technologies in China and Western-style democracies as a new challenge for education

von: Larry Catá Backer (Pennsylvania State University)

The Chinese social credit system CSC represents a new regulatory methodology. Catá Backer´s object in this essay is to encourage fresh thinking among Westerners. In his opinion, China is not only a harbinger of transformations in technology, but also plays a decisive role in a technological revolution that is changing the relationship of law and the state.


1. The Chinese social credit system
The CSC represents a new regulatory methodology which seeks to displace the traditional system of enforcing law and encouraging approved behavior, for a complex and interrelated system of rewards and punishments. That system of rewards and punishments is based on scoring the way that every social, political, cultural and economic actor in China conforms to laws, rules, and other expectations, and on the way that they organize their social, political and economic relations in conformity to expectations. The CSC system, then, does not displace the power of law, rules, norms, and the like to describe behavior expectations, but it transforms implementation by disconnecting the specific misconduct with a related punishment.

2. Building a CSC super-scoring system
The Chinese Social Credit system understood as a complex network of coordinated scoring (rating) behavior in every aspect of organized life would be fairly useless if it merely the aggregation of the product of such scoring by a multitude of actors without an overall design.

3. At the heart of super-scoring (social credit) systems—The analytics of lists:
The systemic construction of a national, coordinated CSC, then, represents an effort to substitute for law-based systems of behavior management, a system of restrictions and privileges based on a set of behavior models and goals, which is operated through a system of monitoring which is based on conformity to behavior objectives. This is data driven governance articulated through analytics, the consequences of which are established through restriction-reward algorithms.

4. The challenge for political and general education in the context of these digital transformations.
The thrust of this essay might trouble academics, government officials, political people, and officials committed to the principles of liberal democracy and markets as currently organized around its early 21st century orthodoxies. Yet that troubling is necessary. Chinese Social Credit System construction is deeply embedded within the Leninist political model of China advancing the normative principles of Marxism with Chinese characteristics, a model with a structure of legitimacy and political objectives substantially incompatible with those of liberal democracy and its normative constitutional systems.

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  • Produktion: 11.10.2019

  • Spieldauer: 21 Min.

  • hrsg. von: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb


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