Andrew Yang, a New York entrepreneur and Democrat who hopes to run in the 2020 presidential election, wants to implement a government-run app to reward citizens with “digital social credits” for good behavior, according to his website.
What does this include?
Although not identical, the system echoes of China’s so-called social credit system. Rolled out in 2014, China’s system rates people on everything from breaking laws to how they act in public and what they post on the Internet. It also imposes punishments such as restricting travel by air or train, for people with poor scores.
Under Yang’s proposal, Americans could receive points for activities such as coaching little league or volunteering at a local homeless shelter. He likens it to banking or retail rewards programs.
His website states:
“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. 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. But many people love rewards and feeling valued.”
Yang campaign chairman Matter Shinners told The Daily Caller that punishments are not a part of his proposal.
"My understanding of the Chinese system (which is admittedly limited) is that it’s more of a rating that’s externally imposed based on a number of non-opt-in factors, almost like a credit rating, and collates information captured from public surveillance, economic and social media activity, etc… to create a ‘score’ that would then, possibly, be used to ‘blacklist’ people from certain activities," he wrote in an email to the news outlet. "Under my understanding, the Chinese system is more of a score/rating than a system of credits. Andrew’s platform calls for a system that’s much more akin to time banking, or to points that people earn on their credit cards. There’s no general monitoring of individual activity, and no scraping of social media sites to see what people are up to. Instead, activities such as volunteering or helping your neighbors would earn you credits that could then be traded with others for receiving similar help. For example, I spend 4 hours/week coaching a hockey team in my community, and I use the credits I earn to have a local electrician (who possibly has a kid on the team) help me install a garage door opener. There would also be backing by the federal government for conversion to currency (that would be taxed), or traded in for “fun” activities (such as getting to attend a bill signing)."
In addition to social credits, Yang advocates on his website for a “Universal Basic Income.” Under the plan, the federal government would give “ $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, to all U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 64. Yes, that means you and everyone you know would get another $1,000/month every month from the U.S. government, no questions asked,” according to his website.
Yang claims that new technologies could place one out of three American workers at risk of losing their jobs.