What could possibly go wrong? I’m looking at you, Experian.
China is launching a comprehensive “credit score” system, and the more I learn about it, the more nightmarish it seems. China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control.
Without fanfare—indeed, with some misgivings about its new status—China has just overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy. This is, and should be, a wake-up call—but not the kind most Americans might imagine.
If you’re the kind of person that tends to notice these things, a fair weather weekend stroll in any Chinese city or town lacks a distinct sound: the buzzing of light propeller aircraft in the sky. Outside the commercial and military realms, aviation is strictly limited, and private citizens who just want to take to the air have few options. That’s problematic, since booming growth in the country’s airline industry has generated a need for pilots, and it’s easier to recruit when you’ve got a population of men and women who already know how to fly.