Social Credit Systems Governing In The Age Of Technology
Dooij, T.J.M. de
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The social credit system is a governing device which has been criticized for being oppressive and dystopian by nature. In this paper, it is argued that this criticism is unfair towards social credit systems as a phenomenon. The goal of this paper is to answer the question: “Are social credit systems compatible with libertarian paternalism?”. This is done by first determining what the shared values are of social credit systems. Social credit systems are centralized reputation systems wherein every social encounter can be regarded as a transaction. Social credit systems are compatible with libertarian paternalism to an extend. Binding a reputation to a user, and making this reputation public, is a perfect example of Nudge Theory in practice as users will alter their behavior based on the reputation of other users. However, in the decision-making process of creating a social credit system there could be bound consequences to the system by the governing party, diverting social credit systems from libertarian paternalism. Social credit system can also fall prey to autonomy gaps. However, not all variants of social credit systems will suffer from autonomy gaps equally, as not every system presupposes the same capabilities of the users. Lastly, as the transparency and normativity of social credit systems are different from system to system, it is unfair to compare social credit systems, as a phenomenon, to dystopian models. The opposite holds true: social credit systems may provide a libertarian paternalistic answer to governing in the age of technology.