New York entrepreneur and Democratic 2020 candidate Andrew Yang wants to implement a system in which a government-run mobile app rewards Americans with “digital social credits” (DSCs) for good behavior.
Americans would receive DSCs under Yang’s system for things such as “participating in a town fair,” “fixing a neighbor’s appliance” or “tutoring a student,” his presidential campaign website explains.
“As individuals rack up DSCs, they would have both a permanent balance they’ve earned over their lifetime and a current balance. They could cash the points in for experiences, purchases with participating vendors, support for causes, and transfer points to others for special occasions,” Yang states on his website.
“As their permanent balance gets higher, they might qualify for various perks like throwing a pitch at a local ballgame, an audience with their local Congressperson or meeting their state’s most civic-minded athlete or celebrity.”
“The most socially detached would be the most likely to ignore all of this,” he added. “But many people love rewards and feeling valued.”
Yang’s social credit plan bears some similarities to the social credit system implemented by China’s authoritarian government.
Every citizen in China is assigned a social credit score that determines whether they can buy plane or train tickets.
Unlike the Chinese system, Yang’s plan does not include using digital social credit for punitive measures.
Yang, a lifetime New Yorker, faces an uphill battle in a crowded Democratic primary.
Though he hasn’t received much media attention, Yang’s campaign is actually in its ninth month. The candidate is currently on a national tour he labeled the “Humanity First Tour.”
In addition to the social credit system, Yang’s platform also calls for paying every American a universal basic income of $1,000 a month and government-sponsored journalism.
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