International Forecaster Weekly

Venezuela Joins the Social Credit Club

...this system is being lusted after by would-be tyrants in every corner of the globe. This month's case-in-point: Venezuela! That's right, citizens of everyone's favorite socialist paradise are about to be treated to a new ID card...

James Corbett | December 15, 2018

So you know all about China's social credit system by now, right? You know, the one that I've been talking about for years? The one that we had a sneak preview of 8 years ago in "You Are Being Gamed?" The one that's being trial ballooned at home via Carrot Rewards and other "motivational" point systems?

Yes, I dare say you do, because even if (for some unfathomable reason) you haven't read, watched or listened to everything I've ever done relating to the Chinese social credit scheme (tsk tsk), then you're probably a TV-addled fluoride head who's learned all about it from the MSM repeaters.

But for those two or three people who have been living under a rock for the past few years and somehow managed to avoid the story entirely, here it is in a nutshell: The Chinese government is planning to assign a "social credit" score to every single citizen by the year 2020. The score is a measure of one's behaviour. When you follow the rules, obey Communist Party dictates, post government-approved propaganda and generally behave like a "good citizen," your score will go up. Conversely, if you break the rules or act like a "bad citizen" your score will go down.

So what constitutes a "bad citizen?" Well, if The Corbett Report was provided in Chinese you could better your bottom yuan that "visiting" would be on the list of activities that would get your score docked. Jaywalking, buying too many video games, posting links to sites that promote political wrongthink, even associating with people whose credit score is too low; all of these activities and basically anything else that goes against the Communist Party's wishes—even (gasp!) walking your dog off its leash—will send your social credit score plummeting.

And what's the consequence if your score sinks too low? Oh, you'll be barred from public transit. Your children will be denied access to private schools. You'll be prevented from obtaining a variety of jobs. You won't be able to stay at certain hotels. And that's just for starters. Once the system gets rolling, it's quite obvious those below a certain social credit score will be a literal underclass, forced to eke out whatever meager existence they can cobble together on the margins of society.

So, as you can imagine, this system is being lusted after by would-be tyrants in every corner of the globe. This month's case-in-point: Venezuela! That's right, citizens of everyone's favorite socialist paradise are about to be treated to a new ID card that will track and database a wide range of information about each citizen, from medical records to political affiliation to social media presence. And all of this information will be sent straight back to the government.

If this sounds an awful lot like a version of China's social credit system, then give yourself a cookie. You're exactly right. The cards (and the system underlying them) are not only being manufactured by Chinese telecom ZTE, but now even the Venezuelan official who helped spearhead the program is openly admitting that the entire idea to use the ID cards to track, monitor and database citizens' daily activities came from a special sneak preview of China's social credit system that the Venezuelan government received when they visited ZTE headquarters 10 years ago.

Oh, and the name of this all-seeing, all-knowing, citizen tracking identification? The "fatherland card" (carnet de la patria). You can't make this stuff up.

There are two things completely unsurprising about this story. Firstly, it is no surprise whatsoever that the Venezuelan government would see an opportunity for further controlling their citizens' behavior and jump all over it. And secondly, it is no surprise whatsoever that the usual gaggle of MSM repeaters would be so eager to disseminate this news.

Yes, establishment-friendly propaganda outlets from Slate to Reuters to the Texas Standard are competing to outdo each other with scare stories about the Venezuelan government's Orwellian plan for complete control. In this case, the CIA's favorite newspaper, The Washington Post, wins the competition with this masterful headline:

China exports its high-tech authoritarianism to Venezuela. It must be stopped.  Well, you know what? They're not wrong (for once)!

So what gives? Why are the same mockingbird repeaters who are usually competing to be the best cheerleader for jackbooted authoritarianism at home suddenly swooning over themselves in a frenzy of pearl-clutching at these latest developments in Venezuela and China?

The answer is pretty simple, actually. Look at a map of countries in the crosshairs of the US State Department. Now look at a map of countries that MSM outlets are allowed to criticize. Oh wait, it's the same map. Unsurprisingly, the establishment is happy to write horror stories about the enemy (true or not) and loathe to criticize anything on the home front.

But there's a conundrum here. As we all know (from some of those works I mentioned at the beginning of this editorial), these technologies are already being tested and rolled out in various forms at home. Yes, the gang of thugs that run our wonderful, virtuous, liberty-hating "democratic" governments are rushing to roll out the biometric scanners and government-issued tracking IDs and rewards for good citizenship and all the other accoutrements of the coming social credit enslavement grid. So at some point the very same MSM that is jeering the Chinese and Venezuelan social credit systems are going to have to do an embarrassing about face and start cheerleading the roll out of those very same technologies at home, right?

Sorry, trick question. In fact, they already are starting that about face.

Just look at The Washington Post. Recently, they published a piece admonishing us that "The West may be wrong about China’s social credit system." You see, all this handwringing about Orwell and social control is just wrongheaded because . . . reasons. Go read the article for yourself if you want to hear those reasons, but they amount to semantic quibbling about the use of the term "social credit" and a reminder that "China’s governance tradition of promoting good moral behavior goes back thousands of years" (seriously, go read the article).

"But wait!" says the poor, confused consumer of the MSM fake news media. "Isn't this the very same Washington Post that was just telling us that this social credit system 'must be stopped?'"

Well, kind of. Yes, the article is published on WaPo's site, but it was in fact published by "The World Post," a partnership between WaPo and the Berggruen Institute. If you're wondering what the Berggruen Institute is and why it's producing Chinese puff pieces for the WaPo, then join the club. I predict some Corbett Reporting on that institute in the future.

But here's the take away from this hot mess: We're going to be seeing a lot more of this crazy doublethink (to use yet another Orwell reference) in the future as the fake news purveyors twist themselves into pretzel knots explaining why social credit systems and total surveillance of the public is a dystopian nightmare in China and Venezuela and certain other nations, but a dream come true in the US and Canada and Australia and Japan and the rest of the "good guy club."

As always, reality is a lot easier to understand (and a lot more consistent) than the propaganda lies that the establishment tries to force down our throat. Isn't it easier to be against social credit and total surveillance in all countries? Doesn't that make more sense to you?

Well, I'll leave you to answer those questions for yourself. All I know is that I LOVE ALL GOVERNMENTS EVERYWHERE AND ACCEPT THEIR RULE UNQUESTIONINGLY . . . and now I'm off to check my credit score!