China’s Credit System Is Actually A Great Start. Go Figure.

Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash

Some people following Copiosis look at our Reputation Accounts with fear. Some of these people point to China’s Social Credit experiment, which has been underway since the 1990s. They say our Reputation Account process is like China’s experiment. That’s a bad thing, they say.

Of course, when I first heard such comparisons, I laughed. I laughed because people making such comparisons hadn’t studied how our Reputation Accounts or Citizen Juries actually worked. It’s totally different from how China’s system works.

Nor had they studied China’s social credit system at all. I know because had they studied it, they would think the way I think about the comparison now. I’ll get to that in a moment.

What they did do was listen to Western political talk shows’ descriptions about China’s system, then took those descriptions as the truth. Or they listened to western political leaders. Leaders with vested interests in bashing China. Then they took what those people said as the truth. Or, they watched that silly Black Mirror episode.

They then took these descriptions, opinions and, actual made up stories (in the case of Black Mirror) as factual representations for what’s happening in China.

That’s too bad.

Is it American? Or Lazy?

But that tendency does underscore how unwilling some people (and Americans in particular) are when it comes to researching a topic so they know what they’re talking about.

I was going to write this post as a rebuttal to the argument that Copiosis is like China’s Social Credit Rating System. I was going to show how our system and China’s experiment differ. But I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m going to suggest people do their own research. Go to reputable sources and look at what is actually happening in China. What you find will surprise you.

That’s what I did. And, frankly, I’m totally surprised by what I read. In fact, if Copiosis’ implementation goes as well as China’s Social Credit rating system, then I would call our implementation a huge success!

Surprised? Me too. Read on to see why I support China’s efforts.

China is killing it. (Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash)

The China system is working

If you don’t want to or don’t have time to deeply research this, I point you to this well-researched Wikipedia article. I read this article prior to writing this post. It’s why I changed my mind about what I was going to write.

In short, China’s attempt is excellent. Does it have missteps? Sure it does. But it’s nothing like what people outside China say it is. Indeed, China’s doing pretty good at experimenting with a social credit score. In fact, what I also found was ALL THE CRITICISM ABOUT THEIR SYSTEM IS BASED ON hyperbole, sensationalism, outright falsehoods, and a total lack of understanding about what the system is intended to do, what it actually is doing and, as a result, how the system is improving things in China. All the criticism is also mostly about what people (westerners, mostly) FEAR. Not what’s actually happening.

Honestly, China’s Credit System approach offers a decent template for how Copiosis might be implemented. Like Copiosis, it started with a single, private individual. That person enlisted private sector partners with government support. They encouraged multiple versions of systems as trials. The public has the option to opt-in or out of the trials. And a lot more. There are so many good things happening with their trials, it frankly chagrined me that my fellow westerners are so clueless. That I was so clueless.

Everyone has opinions. What my research showed was most people’s opinions are flat wrong. Especially when it comes to China’s rating system.

Is the west Xenophobic? Or Just nationalistic?

Again, read the wikipedia article. Near the end, a section includes comments made by western political leaders about the system. After educating myself about what’s actually happening, when I read what western political leaders said about it, they sound like complete idiots. Furthermore, another section in the article quotes several highly respected western publications. These publications describe how clueless westerners’ opinions are about what’s actually happening:

There has been a degree of misreporting and misconceptions in English-language mass media due to translation errors, sensationalism, conflicting information and lack of comprehensive analysis.[4][124][48][125] Examples of such popular misconceptions include a widespread misassumption that Chinese citizens are rewarded and punished based on a numerical score (social credit score) assigned by the system, that its decisions are taken by AI and that it constantly monitors Chinese citizens

Then it lists specific citations from these publications. The publications include Wired Magazine, Logic, MIT Technology Review and The Washington Post among others.

So it feels to me that the west borders on hysteria when it comes to China. Or maybe it’s Xenophobia? What’s the political version of that?

The west is so afraid of Communism, it’s turned it into a boogey man. We can’t even acknowledge China’s done pretty good at some things. Largely because of their political system.

Western nationalism is turning many in the west into one-dimensional thinkers. Thinkers whose thinking is rooted in fear, stereotypes and myopia, as well as the idea that the west is the only one that has it all together. Western views on China’s credit system experiment seem to support this contention. But western views are way off the mark.

Ground hog day…again?

As I write this post, I’m reminded about pushback I got on appropriating the phrase “The New World Order“. The exact same dynamic is happening here. Rather than doing some research, people respond to our coopting that phrase like they think they know what the phrase means or understand its history. Their lack of understanding triggers their fear. Then they think they know the truth.

Interestingly, the Wikipedia article on that topic enlightened me so much, it emboldened my appropriation of the term. The same thing is happening with China’s credit system and this wikipedia article. Now that I’ve researched it, I’ve turned 180 degrees on critiques comparing Copiosis to China.

Rather than debunking the comparison, I welcome it! The China experiment is GREAT. If we do as well as they’ve done, I’d say we’ve succeeded.

I have nothing bad to say about what China’s doing. They started with a plan to mimic what the West did with credit scores and such, but took it even farther. It IS a good approach at trying to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish.

Compare China’s experiment to Copiosis if you want. I’ll take that comparison as it is: a huge compliment. Because the China Social Credit system has merit. And its implementation is laudable.

Leave a Reply